You don’t need to spend a fortune and trade in all of your hard earned possessions to do your bit for the environment. Going green means to slow down and focus on the important stuff in your life. Simpler living and smarter living not only helps your every day be better, but it helps the environment. So if you’d like to do more for your corner of the world below are some different ideas you can implement at home this week.
1. Change your lightbulbs to low the low energy (and lower cost!) alternative. We’re lucky in Australia to have progressed in this manner and these lights are available everywhere at a low cost. They also last longer than older globes.
2. Plant a herb garden or veggie patch. Not all of us have time to grow our own veggies, but I know we can all throw together a herb garden and keep it going. Its a great way to show kids where food originates so that they can better understand where good food comes from. Its also super handy, you’ll always have fresh herbs to throw in your meals.
3. Start composting. Take a moment and think about all of the food waste you throw away into your bin every day. All of that waste goes into landfill and it shouldn’t. Watch this video from better homes and gardens and you’ll be able to start composting this weekend!
4. Take your canvas bags to the supermarket. Its that simple. Stop using disposable bags and the demand for them will stop. In case you need further persuasion, I’ll get watch this video.
5. Buy a reusable water bottle. Plastic water bottles have taken the world by storm, and where do they end up? In the bin. You can save yourself a lot of money by sticking with one reusable bottle.
6. Turn off the lights (and TV, and CD player etc) when you leave the room. Even if you are coming back in 5 minutes, you don’t need to leave all the lights on.
7. Use natural light for as long as possible. In winter especially it can be easy to assume its too dark out to warrant opening the curtains and relying on natural light. But it can usually be more than you think, try using natural light as long as possible throughout the day.
8. Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot. Most washing machines give you this option so why not start with this small change?
9. Drive less. We are all busy people and sometimes we can be in the car more often than anywhere else. BUT you can make a few small changes to reduce your time driving. Keep a list of your tasks and do as many as you can on the same car trip. Take it in turns with other parents to run the kids to school. Go to the local shops or farmers market instead of the shopping centre that’s an extra 15 minutes away.
10. Turn off your computer, from the wall, at night. Leaving your computer screen on stand by uses loads of power.
11. Pay your bills online. This is much greener than the alternative of having to drive to your local Post Office where you will be given yet more paper. Online banking is secure and a huge time saver.
12. Reuse paper wherever possible. Print on both sides, use the blank side to take notes, or let your kids colour or draw on it. The less paper we consume the less demand there is, the better it is for the trees.
13. Stay local. Support local restaurants that use local produce. Not only will you be supporting your local community, you know exactly where the food is coming from and the quality you will get.
14. Fix those leaky taps and take 2 minute showers. Saving water can become a huge problem in Australia with irregular rainfalls. Do your bit to ensure there is always plenty of water.
15. Dry your washing on the line instead of in a dryer. Winter isn’t a great time to be line drying, but you can still use a clothes horse in front of the heater. Both are better than using all that power to dry clothes.
16. Collect rain water and use it on the garden, your new herb garden and pot plants. You can simply leave a few buckets out in the rain! Or you can go super green and install a rain water tank and collection systems. But starting small is the first step.
17. Use re-usable dishcloth in your kitchen rather than paper towel. When you have a few of these you can keep the germs away just as easily as with paper towel, and think of all the trees you’ll save! Take it a step further and use cloth napkins instead of paper ones.
18. Donate to op shops. Its the best way to recycle perfectly usable items that you no longer need. You will more often than not find some goodies that you can use there too.
19. Walk and ride your bike whenever possible. If you need bread and milk from the shops walk or ride to your local milk bar or bakery.
20. Think before you buy. More stuff means more clutter, and usually more wrapping to be thrown away. Stop and think before you purchase something new. Do you really need it? Can it be purchased second-hand? or Can you borrow it from someone? This wont always be the case, however the more concious you are about the options that are better for the environment, the better choices you can make.