5 simple sustainability tips for your home
Not sure where to start when it comes to saving the planet? These five simple sustainability tips are a step in the right direction.
Get your food waste under control
If you’re anything like the average Australian household, then each year you are likely binning approximately $3,800 worth of food, according to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). That food then ends up in landfill emitting methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
I recently learnt this startling fact from RMIT’s research initiative, Watch My Waste: “The greenhouse gases produced by food waste in Australian landfill each year is equivalent to the emissions of Australia’s steel and iron ore industries combined.”
Isn’t that incredible? (And certainly not good incredible.) Those slightly limp carrots you just threw out suddenly take on a whole new meaning now, right?
Help get your food waste under control by writing a weekly meal plan, only shop for what you need, store food correctly to prevent spoilage, compost food scraps and make sure you consume all leftovers.
Eliminate all single use items from your home
Committing to reusable items over single use items in your home is actually a lot easier than you think, and it’s a simple sustainability tip that will help prevent unnecessary waste going to landfill.
Replace paper towels with small cloth towels, cling wrap with beeswax wrap, coffee pods with a French press, tea bags with a teapot, plastic straws with a stainless steel straw, makeup wipes with face washers or muslin cloths.
Not only are reusable items better for the planet, they’re also better for your wallet, as you’re not having to continuously fork out money for single use items each time they run out.
Start using natural cleaning products
Household cleaning products contain a whole host of chemicals that are both terrible for the environment and for our own health.
Most products are derived from petrochemicals and contain synthetic fragrances, even when advertised as “fragrance-free”.
The chemicals in those products get into our waterways and damage aquatic life, and also release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into our homes, which can cause short- and long-term adverse health effects.
Making the simple sustainability switch to using vinegar and baking soda to clean your home will reduce the number of chemicals released into the environment, and will also cut down on plastic packaging.
Rethink your washing habits
Do you wear something once and immediately throw it into the laundry basket at the end of the day?
Before you do so, think about whether you could get a few more wears out of the garment. Most items can simply be aired out rather than washed.
Consider switching to a more environmentally friendly, non-toxic laundry powder. Be sure to check whether a so-called “natural” laundry detergent has “fragrance” listed in the ingredients, as this means it contains phalates, which are known endocrine disruptors and can cause health issues.
Even better, you could start making your own laundry detergent using soapberries.
Switch off unused appliances at the wall
When home appliances such as TVs, home theatre systems, phone chargers, washing machines and microwaves are on standby, they still draw electricity, so turn off anything at the wall that is not in use.
It’s estimated that if the average household turned off their appliances at the wall, they would save 1000kg of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Now multiple that by all the other households in Australia... that’s a lot of wasted energy!