The idea of changing your life to help in the fight against climate change can seem pretty daunting.
But while practising sustainable living might seem tricky at first, reducing your demand on natural resources might not be as hard as you think. You can help reduce your carbon footprint and potential negative environmental impact by making small alterations to your lifestyle to live sustainably.
Sometimes it can mean not choosing to consume a product that is made using practices that don’t promote sustainability; and sometimes it means changing how you do things so that you start becoming more of an active part of the cycle of life.
Whether it’s cutting down on plastic bags, or taking a travel mug to the café, you might be surprised by the little things you can do to make a big difference in preserving and protecting our planet. Here’s some of our favourite tips to living a bit greener!
Whether you take public transport, carpool, ride your bike or even walk, the less you use your car the better. Most of us use our car as a primary mode of transport, and that’s fine!
But one-quarter of all car journeys are less than three kilometres, so next time you pick up your car keys – ask yourself whether you could walk or bike instead. This helps in reducing the consumption of natural resources, as well as pollution. Walking or riding a bike can also improve your physical and mental health!
If you have to use the car for work, school or another regular activity, consider starting a car pool. You’ll get to be more social, use less petrol and save money!
Standby power can be responsible for up to 30% of your electricity bill, as many devices keep on drawing electricity if they’re not switched off properly. This occurs when appliances and equipment are switched off (but not at the powerpoint) or not performing their primary function. Take a quick glance around your home and you will realise just how many devices are sitting idle, waiting to be used.
Standby energy costs eat into your bank account in small bites. If you have a lot of appliances that are inefficient, you could be paying up to $100 or more per year for unnecessary power and contributing more than 1000kg of greenhouse gases to the environment.
It’s no surprise that the worst offenders are devices like computers, gaming consoles and TVs. If you can feel heat coming from your laptop power pack, even when the appliance isn’t attached, it’s drawing enough energy to cost you money.
Next time you’re shopping for appliances, check standby power consumption in the product specs. Look for those with very low amounts, ideally one watt or less. To reduce energy usage on the appliances you already own, make sure your devices are turned off at the wall, or use a smart plug to stop any energy wastage. This can help you stop unnecessary energy consumption, as well as adding big savings to your bills!
Throwing rubbish into the right recycling bin isn’t the only way to recycle. Try to reassess what’s trash and what’s treasure, to avoid contributing to landfill. Being more conscious of things like ‘food waste’ can help a lot too – so don’t be afraid to ask for to take your leftovers with you next time you dine out. Most restaurants will be more than happy to oblige, and you can even go the next step and bring your own container in anticipation.
Throwing clothing or household goods away? Consider donating to the op-shop instead. And get creative! You can use those empty wine bottles from Saturday night as bohemian candle holders, and the corks can come in handy for scrubbing cutlery clean instead of using an extra washcloth.
It might seem silly at first, but once you get into a recycling mindset, you’ll quickly realise how many uses everyday items can have! Check out this article on 100 Ideas of How to Reuse Commonly Thrown Away Items for more ideas!
Choosing renewable energy over fossil fuels is a great way to stop climate change and it’s easy to see why so many people have already made the switch to renewable resources like solar. When you have solar, you’re generating your own energy instead of buying it from the grid, which can mean smaller energy bills and big savings.
Solar panels typically pay themselves off in a few years, and once they’re installed, they’re pretty low maintenance. At the same time, you’re reducing your home’s greenhouse gas emissions and helping the environment. Plus, when your solar panels generate more electricity than you need, you can send it to the power grid and may get a credit on your bill in the form of a feed-in tariff. So it’s good for your pocket and good for the planet!
While its easy for plastic to be ‘out of sight, out of mind’ once you throw it away, plastic never disappears. It takes millions of years for plastic to decompose, which is why it can be so devastating to the environment. Even though plastic bottles say they’re recyclable, in reality only about five percent of the plastic we use is recovered, and at least fifty percent is buried in landfills.
You’ve probably seen a lot of people use these in stores already, but using cloth or canvas reusable bags instead of plastic store bags can be a great way of eliminating some of your plastic waste. A lot of grocery stores already sell them, but you can also check out this article here for 9 Reusable Shopping Bags that actually look cool! So make the switch and starting bringing your own reusable bags to the supermarket.
Wondering what else you can do to help the environment?