Thursday, May 14th, 2020 by Erin Kavanagh
Our planet is beautiful so it makes sense that we want to protect it. There’s currently a huge drive to make sustainable changes in the way we live in a bid for each person to contribute to preserving the world around us. However, sometimes it can be hard to know where to start!
In recognition of Earth Hour this month and Earth Day next month, we’ve put together ten ways that you can help to reduce your waste and switch to sustainable options around your home to give back to the environment.
1. Eat sustainably
We want to eat sustainably so that we are producing nutrition with minimal resources. Did you know that Aussies throw out $8 billion of edible food every year? When it gets to the end of the week and you throw away your unused food, this wastes the energy, water and resources that went into growing, shipping and selling it. What we eat contributes to almost 60% of global biodiversity loss and large-scale goods production accounts for up to 25% of percent of greenhouse emissions.
When it comes to food, you can also help protect the planet by choosing food from farmers that aim to have as little impact on the land as possible, opt for grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables and non-processed foods to fill meals, buy food that meets credible certified standards, and plant some veggies in the backyard and start growing your own!
2. Reduce and reuse
There are a number of ways that you can reduce your plastic use and change your day-to-day actions to reduce your impact on our environment. Here are some of the ways that you can give up plastics and waste around the home and create a sustainable house:
3. Conserve water
It’s the little things that count. Water can slip away without us noticing so save water with these simple tips:
4. Travel responsibly
Light vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes such as cars, 4x4s, SUVs and small commercial vehicles – account for 10% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. To lower your environmental impact, consider how you travel and opt for sustainable ways to move about. In Australia close to 87% of commuters travel by car. While travel itself can impact the environment, cars also have a large environmental footprint before they even hit the road as well as at the end of their life. If car is your travel of choice, try to make some adjustments to your usage to reduce fuel consumption. You can do things like not turning your car on to warm it up before you head off for the day (modern cars don’t require this), reducing your load for easier trips, ensuring that you don’t over fill the tank, remove roof racks when not in use, choose the aircon over having the windows down when moving at higher speeds, and car pool when the opportunity arises. Also look for alternate transport options, opt to walk and bike ride more often and use the commute time to read, listen to a podcast or catch up on your favourite show.
5. Plant trees
A single tree can consume just over 21kg of carbon dioxide per year at its most productive stage of life, turning it into enough oxygen for you to breathe for two years! Trees are fantastic, not only do they help to combat climate change by drawing greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere, they also remove sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other particles and also purify soil and water. Did you know that Australia has a commitment to planting 1 billion trees by 2050 in an effort to combat climate change? Let’s all pull together and get planting!
6. Go chemical-free
When it comes to cleaning there are a number of products available that don’t contain carcinogens (toxic chemicals) that pollute the air inside your home. In fact, the average home can contain 62 different types of toxic chemicals. There are now a number of more environmentally friendly options on the market, however if you feel so inclined you can also make your own cleaning concoctions using everyday items such as bicarb, lemon and vinegar or utilising essential oils.
7. Switch to digital
We waste a lot of paper when it comes to learning and working resources. Whenever possible, opt to use a device such as a laptop or e-reader or if you really need to print – print on both sides of the page. Additionally, you can remove the waste associated with printing and filing by moving to digital filing systems and storing everything in the cloud and on hard drive.
8. Save electricity
Try looking for ways to make your home more energy efficient. Not only will you reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced, but you will also save money! Here are some ways that you can save electricity:
9. Repurpose and reuse
How do we reduce waste? Don’t create it. Repurposing and reusing items saves you money while also recycling items. Best of all, it helps the environment by reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfill and the new materials and energy that are used to create new items. How can you use items to their fullest extent? Here are some suggestions:
Did you know that every Australian, on average, produces about 180 kg of food and garden waste a year? If that is sent to rot in landfill, it produces 15.3 kg of methane gas – a toxic greenhouse gas with global warming potential 21 times that of carbon dioxide. Composting is an easy way for you to do your bit to reduce global warming. When you compost you eliminate the methane and send the carbon back into the soil when you dig it into your soil. Once the matter starts to break down it captures atmospheric carbon dioxide too! If you want to get started you can find some handy hints here.
How big is your environmental footprint? Find out here!
Do you have some easy tips on reducing waste and switching to sustainable that you have implemented around your home? Let us know in the comments.