6 Ways To Make Your Home More Sustainable
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably always looking for ways to use less of the earth’s resources and make your home more sustainable. Finding out the best ways to do this though, can be time consuming, so you’ll be pleased to hear that I’ve done the research so you don’t have to.
Without further ado, here are six of the best ways you can make your home more sustainable, starting now.
1. Recycle religiously
While reducing and reusing is better, recycling is still important. Up to 96% of Australian kerbside recycling is made into new products. However, in Australia large volumes of recycled materials still end up in landfill due to contamination. This is also the primary reason China stopped accepting our recycling exports. So be sure to wash out any remaining food and always pop jars, cans, bottles and paper in the recycle bin loose, never in a plastic bag.
Still not sure how to recycle? Read up on Planet Ark’s Golden Recycling Rules.
2. Close the blinds in summer and rug up in winter
Heating and cooling accounts for 40% of household energy use, making it the largest energy user in the average Australian home. If you own your home, investing in efficient reverse cycle air conditioners, double glazing and shade protection is ideal. If structural changes are not an option, make sure you do your part by closing the blinds in summer and throwing on an extra blanket in winter. As nice as it might be to sleep under a doona with the air conditioner on full blast, this habit is doing the environment no favours.
As a bonus, you’ll probably save a load of money on your energy bill too.
Throw on an extra blanket
3. Switch out old appliances and whitegoods
Home appliances account for almost half of household greenhouse gas emissions. Upgrading aged appliances to newer energy efficient ones can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. That thirty-year-old freezer in the shed running for occasional use is likely doing more harm than good.
But remember, use your good judgement. The size of an appliance will have an impact on its energy usage. Just because a cinema-sized TV has a five star rating, does not make it more efficient than the smaller one you have now.
4. Eat less meat and dairy
You may have heard that meat production is bad for the environment, but how bad? Well, animals raised for meat require large lots of land to grow their feed, fertilizers to make the feed grow rapidly and room to graze. This need for land and resources makes meat production the largest driver of Amazon deforestation, accounting for 80% of clearing. In fact, one third of the Earth’s surface is used for meat, and emissions related to meat production are almost double those for fruit, veg and legumes.
Adopting a ‘Meatless Monday’, or becoming a sustainable vegetarian or flexitarian will make your home and lifestyle much more sustainable.
For more meat-emissions data visit Our World In Data.
Adopting a vegetarian or flexitarian lifestyle
5. Buy mindfully
Choosing products we love makes good sense. Take time to consider your purchases and only buy what lights you up or will improve your life in some way. When we buy something without thought we disrespect the resources and labour used to make it. We also tend to take better care of the things we love, and in turn they last longer and we need less. This may mean opting for higher quality products which might cost a few extra dollars upfront, but long term it will save you money.
6. Buy secondhand
Making the most of secondhand marketplaces like Gumtree or Facebook, or joining events like the Garage Sale Trail are ideal ways to freshen up your home without bolstering your carbon footprint. Unlike pre-loved clothing, with homewares you know exactly what you’re getting, making the whole process quick and easy. I recently bought a lovely white platter to brighten up my dinner table, and a set of nesting tables for my lounge room – both items pre-loved and gorgeous.
So there you have it, six ways you can boost your home’s sustainability. For more sustainability ideas visit our blog, How To Do Plastic Free July During A Pandemic.