Chances are that if you are reading this blog and even visiting our website you care for the environment and you probably want to make as many green choices as you can. However, when we talk about things we can do as individuals to lessen our carbon footprint, sometimes it can feel overwhelming to start. In some instances, we can also feel hopeless and useless to do anything about it when there are so many major problems that seem to require bigger players to act instead of individual actions.
I get it, I also feel disheartened and hopeless sometimes. Our climate crisis is complex and it’s a big problem than won’t be solved overnight. But what I do know is that individual actions lead to collective actions and they not only inspire others around us but most importantly, our consumer decisions and demands force the big players to act and adapt to our greener choices. Otherwise, how can you explain the growing “trend” on avoiding plastics and sustainable options at your supermarket?
This gives me hope, and I even though I have my moments of frustration and hopelessness like everyone else. I am a firm believer that small changes lead to bigger ones. This is why I want to share with you some easy and individual actions you can start implementing in your life to contribute towards our planet’s health:
1. Invest in a coffee cup and/or a reusable water bottle and carry them with you!
This might seem like an obvious one nowadays, but sometimes we forget to carry our reusables and end up generating waste anyway. Even with recyclable coffee cups, the best thing to do it to precycle and not generate that waste at all. To avoid this to happen, try and make a habit of carrying these items everywhere you go. You can have them in your car or your primary bag so you can always have them handy when you need them.
2. Let your produce loose
Whereas doing in-store shopping or online shopping, you can always make the decision to get your produce loose and free. They don’t need to be confined in plastic bags. If you don’t like to have your fruit roaming free in your trolley, bring your own reusable bags and place them there.
3. Avoid plastic as much as you can
According to National Geographic, single-use plastics account for 40% of the plastic produced every year. About 8 million tons of plastic waste finds its way to our oceans each year polluting and harming wildlife. The plastic crisis is real, and whilst consciousness on the matter is finally making some noise, we need to do more about it. Shop plastic-free products as much as possible; at Precycle Pantry we make it easy for you to do your bit and get your favourite pantry essentials without any plastic involved.
4. Don't choose express shipping options and buy in bulk/bundle
If you tend to shop online, steer clear from express shipping options. This will avoid half-empty vans rushing to fulfil customer’s expectations, which makes them do multiple travels. Also, try and shop from the same distributor if possible, this will increase the chances that your products will be packed together and not in their own separate boxes.
5. Cut out on junk mail
No one likes junk mail, and yet we still get it and don’t do anything about it. Some actions you can do to avoid this is to stick a “No Junk Mail” sticker on your mailbox or register for the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising “Do Not Mail” registry to stop getting mail from businesses that you are not currently dealing with.
6. Change your shower head for a water-saving head
Instead of rushing your showers to a minute or two. Why not changing your shower head to a sustainable water-saving head? This will actually be more effective and you don’t have to compromise your shower time (as much).
7. Use your dishwasher instead of hand washing
Once upon a time, owning a dishwasher was a sign of luxury. Nowadays we can find them in almost every Australian household and they are now considered an essential item. According to Green Choices, dishwashers use three to four times less water than washing the same amount by hand. However, there are still best practices on using them, for example; run it only when fully loaded, choose an eco-setting or lower temperature, if you have solar panels at home then use it during the day, and if you are buying a new one check for the running costs and CO2 emissions.
8. Switch your light bulbs
Who doesn’t love environmental tips that also help your wallet? Switching your light bulbs to LED will not only save you money but also uses less energy than your traditional bulb providing the same light output. The Victorian government provides a rebate to do the switch.
9. Manage your e-waste
Take care of your old batteries, phones, computers and gadgets. Whereas at home or in your office, spread the word and don’t let them go to landfill. According to Total Green Recycling, e-waste is a toxic bomb in landfill, with the potential to release large quantities of metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury into our groundwater and contaminating our soils. There are several places you can find e-waste recycling bins; visit Office Works, IKEA or ship it to TechCollect from your local Australian Post Office.
10. Manage your food waste
According to SGA (Sustainable Gardening Australia), in Australia we still send 40-50% organic waste to landfill. This ends up breaking down in landfill as greenhouse gasses, like methane, which end up contributing to global warming and affecting our air quality.
We really hope that this article inspires you to make at least one small environmental change in your lifestyle today, let us know if you have any other tips in the comments below or shoot us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . We’d love to hear from you!
Photo credit shout out to Alyssia Wilson