Every day we make choices in our lives that can either positively or negatively affect the planet, the climate, animal species and the environments they call home.
From what we consume to the products we decide to buy, there’s a lot we can do to reduce our environmental footprint to help not only wild animals and plants, but also each other.
Sustainability has been all the rage over the past couple of decades – and for good reason! Living sustainably is an important part of our existence as humans. So much so that even governments have taken steps to help us all live more sustainably.
In fact, in a bid to help protect the environment and reduce waste, six out of eight Australian states and territories have committed to ban single-use plastics. Western Australia is taking their help even further by scrapping coffee cups containing plastic by 2023.
Bear in mind sustainability doesn’t mean living without luxuries but rather being aware of your resource use and reducing unnecessary waste. So, if you’d like to help the planet by living a more sustainable lifestyle, below are some helpful suggestions.
1.Reuse and recycle
While supermarkets and grocery stores have already stopped using single use plastic bags, you too can follow suit by reusing items such as shopping bags and plastic or glass bottles and containers. If you can’t find a use for these items, recycle as much as possible! Keep in mind items such as mobile phones, batteries and accessories can’t be recycled in your general waste bins, however you can help reduce e-waste by recycling your old mobiles and accessories with MobileMuster. Find your nearest drop point here or post them in for free by picking up a reply paid satchel at participating AusPost stores or directly through MobileMuster.
2.Reduce your energy use
There are plenty of simple ways to reduce your household energy use, including:
- Turning off appliances and lights when you’re not using them
- Switching off the heater or air conditioning when you’re not home
- Installing solar panels and energy-efficient appliances
- Hanging clothes to dry instead of using the dryer
- Opting for more layers of clothes instead of reaching for the heater in winter
- Opening windows to let in a breeze instead of turning on the air conditioning.
- Replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy saving bulbs such as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
3.Grow your own food
Although you can easily buy fruits, vegetables, and other products from the grocery store, if they’re not grown or made in Australia, these products consume huge amounts of fossil fuel energy to get from their global locations to your corner supermarket. Growing your own fruits, veggies or herbs in your garden can be easy, more accessible, and a fun activity for the kids! Simply plant a few seeds in a corner of your yard or in a container on your windowsill.
4.Shop and eat locally
An easy first step to live more sustainably is to eat locally. The convenience of supermarkets has changed how people think about food but one of the key reasons why it's worth shopping and eating locally is because it reduces your environmental impact. Locally owned businesses generally make more local purchases, requiring less transportation. So not only does it reduce your carbon footprint, but it also supports your local community and creates local jobs.
5.Donate or resell
Items that no longer serve you can get an extended life through donation or resale. You’re helping reduce the amount of landfill by donating or reselling your items and you might even be helping a person in need.
Whether we like it or not, globalisation affects us all. Yes, global trading has been around for centuries, but if a product you purchase is made by workers with low wages and poor working conditions, perhaps it’s time to think twice about what you buy and who you buy from. Shopping ethically gives you a say in how the products you buy are made, and how the company that makes them conducts its business and treats its employees. Ultimately, your choice can help support innovative products and companies while discouraging others that ignore the social and environmental consequences of their actions.
7.Be water wise
Water is one of the world’s most precious resources – and that’s just one of the reasons why we all need to do our bit to help reserve it. Instead of taking long, steamy showers, limit yourself to 10 minutes. Consider installing a water saving shower head, a water-efficient toilet or a dual-flush toilet that let you choose whether to use a full flush or half-flush. Ditch the plastic bottled water and opt for drinking water out of the tap instead.
8.Rely less on your car
Cars cause pollution and it’s a fact. All motor vehicles release pollutants into the air, mostly through exhaust fumes. Where possible, travel by public transport or carpool with friends or work colleagues to reduce your impact. If you’re travelling close to home, why not walk or ride your bike.
By making conscious decisions and living sustainably, your small act of help is making a big difference in the world.