You don’t have to be a “greenie” to be an environmentally-friendly person. We know that our governments need to do a lot more, but personal actions count too. You can actually make small changes in yourself and in your household. Making your own contribution to reducing your carbon footprint and reducing your plastic usage is one of many practical steps that you can take to having a greener, more sustainable lifestyle. Here are a few more ideas:
Solar panels – if you own your own house, the emissions and cost benefits stand out. Installation is so reasonable with government rebates available that you can recover your costs within three years because your power bills will be so reduced. You can sell any excess energy back to the grid.
Power bills – replace your old light bulbs with LED globes – cheaper and longer-lasting than conventional globes in the long-term.
Recycle – you can recycle so much in your daily life. You probably already separate your household waste into recyclables and greens but that is not all. Start collecting your old batteries, watches, printers, cables – you will be surprised at how much electronic gear you have.
Recycle clothes – each year, Australians send around $500m worth of clothing to the tip. You can reduce how much goes into landfill by sorting through your clothes before you donate. There is a simple test – would you give this item to a mate? If the answer is no, then you should be thinking about dropping those items to a textile recycling bin, like those managed by Planet Ark. If you just don’t like the clothes, or they don’t fit but are in good condition, donate them to the many charity bins that you find around the place.
Recycle water – having shorter showers just requires a little forethought. You can also set up a system to re-use the grey water from your shower or your washing machine, or use the runoff from your gutters to water your garden.
Compost – only veggies go into your compost bin to keep it nice and healthy. Cheaper and easier than any bought fertiliser and growing your own herbs and veggies is cheap and personally rewarding.
Transport – use public transport whenever you can to reduce your carbon emissions. (You will be healthier too because you will be walking more as well!) With electric vehicles becoming cheaper, think about making the switch when you’re thinking about replacing your car. If you drive a lot and have solar panels on your roof, you will save thousands by recharging at home.
Refuse and re-use plastic bags – once you get organised, you can really reduce the amount of plastic bags you collect from supermarkets. Most supermarkets have plastic recycling bins as well these days, but better to not take them in the first place.
Invest wisely – insist that your superannuation fund only invests in ethical products on your behalf. If you invest in shares, only choose ethical products (don’t believe the myth that you will have to accept a lower return – the research says the opposite). Then find a bank that doesn’t lend money to fossil fuel projects; you will probably save money on bank fees at the same time.
Vote thoughtfully – before you vote for the political tribe that normally gets your support, have a closer look at the climate, energy and environmental policies of some of the main parties, behind the misleading rhetoric. The science says that we have stop using coal and gas as fast as we can, with no new fossil-fuel projects. Don’t believe anybody who says we can’t afford it – that’s just not true.
Recycle your legacy – choose a headstone for your burial site that is made from your own recycled clothes and belongings. Contact http://www.smart.unsw.edu.au/smart-recycling. Or you can even recycle an old headstone that is no longer being used.
It’s not too hard being green – even a small change will make a difference.