Helping the planet starts at home

When you look at images of planet earth from space it looks so pristine. It’s hard to believe that humans can have such a big impact on the state of our planet, but we do. That is why we need to embrace opportunities to take positive action.

It’s certainly easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the environmental issues our generation are facing and that whatever we do will be but a drop in the ocean. However, there are 7.9 billion of us, so the decisions we make at an individual level do add up. It’s also not just about the choices we make today but the way we model those choices for the younger generation that will ensure that our big, beautiful planet will provide a healthy, safe environment for generations to come.

Let’s look at some easy ways your household can make a difference.

Reducing wastage

Unfortunately, the waste we generate in Australia is growing at twice the rate of our population. We are one of the more wasteful countries in the developed world.

While we all hopefully do our best to separate out glass, cans, and paper to be recycled, the real culprit that we need to be mindful of is plastic. Only 20% of Australian household plastic waste is recyclable so it makes sense to cut down on the amount of plastic you purchase. Thinking twice at the supermarket when faced with heavily packaged foods can help and buying fresh produce and using your own bags can drastically reduce the amount of plastic ending up in your bin.

The energy and water consumed in your household are two areas, that we can also turn our attention to. Saving energy and water around the home will not only help the environment but also reduce your bills. Here are a few tips to minimise power and water wastage:

  • Turn off unnecessary appliances and lights when not needed,

  • Turn down your thermostat, fridge, and hot water unit,

  • Look at ways to improve your homes thermal rating, and

  • If you don’t already have them, install water-saving shower head and don’t leave taps running.

Food (not so) glorious food waste

Around one third of our waste generated consists of food being thrown out, with the impact of this not just detrimental to the environment but also hitting our hip pockets, as this amounts to a little over $3.5k worth of food binned per household over the course of a year.

One solution to this, is meal planning and having a list when you shop so you don’t buy too much. Pay attention to use-by dates and don’t be afraid to use your freezer to extend the lifespan of food in the fridge.

Even with the best of plans and careful storage you’ll always have some food wastage and that’s where worm farms and composting come in handy to reduce the amount of food waste going into landfill.

Being mindful consumers

Another way we can all contribute is by being more mindful of what we are purchasing and reducing the amount we buy. We can also look at the impact our purchasing choices are having on the planet. There is a lot to consider but here are a couple of tips to start you on your way:

  • Recycled toilet paper diverts less waste to landfill and its manufacture is kinder to the environment than regular toilet paper

  • Avoiding products containing palm oil can help to prevent deforestation and preserve animal habits.

Reducing your carbon footprint

Your carbon footprint encompasses the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are being released into the atmosphere and there is a lot you can do to reduce it including opting to walk or ride instead of using your car, choosing renewable energy options and purchasing carbon offsets when you are travelling on planes.

As you start making small changes within your household, you’ll find new ways that you can minimise the environmental implications of your choices. And every little measure you take builds a better future for you and generations to come.

All statistics taken from the ABC series “War on Waste” compiled here:

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