It's the start of a new year - a fresh beginning, turning over a new leaf. There's never been a better time to make healthier choices for yourself and the environment. It's easier than you think to be more eco-friendly and economical - here's a list of easy ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle!
1. LED Lights / Go Solar
If you haven't already, now is the time to change the light bulbs in your home to LED. It is the most energy efficient type of light bulb, using at least 75% less energy and lasts 25 times longer than incadescent light bulbs. They are also more durable while giving more light. With energy prices set to soar, why wouldn't you change to LED?
The other option is to switch to solar - with government rebates widely available, it is a long term investment to reduce both your energy consumption and bills.
2. Reduce Water Consumption
Even though it has rained bucket loads in most places lately, water is still our precious natural resource that should be better conserved, especially if you can remember the drought restrictions of the 2000s!
Reducing water consumption not only reduces your water bill, but your energy bill as well! So what can you do to reduce your water consumption?
- Reduce your shower time
- Reuse water used to wash fruits and veggies to water plants and the garden
- Ensure you do a full load of laundry each time, instead of half loads
- Do your laundry at off-peak times if possible (use the timer on your washing machine if you have one!) as the rates are much lower. Then, hang the laundry either just before you go to bed, or wake up a littler earlier to dry your load.
3. Reduce Dryer Use
With the heat of summer finally here, make the most of it by hanging out your laundry to dry instead of using the dryer - save energy AND reduce your energy bills! Plus, the smell of the summer heat that comes back indoors with the clean, dry laundry is the best!
4. Grow Your Own Herbs, Fruits, and Veggies
As food prices increase, there's never been a better time to start your own veggie patch. Seeds are readily available at your local Bunnings or nursery, and the joy of seeing the fruition of your hard work is truly rewarding - not to mention more cost effective, organic and delicious!
A handy guide on how to start your own veggie garden can be found here.
5. Reduce Meat Consumption
Meat is not only more costly than most other foods, but livestock produces approximately 14% of the world's man-made greenhouse gases, according to the UN, including CO2 and methane, where the latter is 34 times more damaging to the environment over 100 years than CO2.
Land used to grow food and keep livestock can also be better utilised to grow food for humans or reverted back to natural landscape, both of which emits minimal greenhouse gases, or has no environmental impact.
Eating less meat has been found to also reduce your chances of developing diseases relating to the heart, kidney, liver, or lungs. The World Health Organisation even lists processed meats including sausage, bacon, and ham, as carcinogenic (having the potential to cause cancer).
Simply reducing meat and replacing with equally or more nutritious alternatives will help you and our planet become more healthy.
6. Eco-Friendly Reusable Food Covers
We can't encourage the use of reusable food covers enough to replace single-use cling wraps, especially when there are so many great eco-friendly alternatives available.
Our favourite is Go For Zero's Reusable Silicone Food Covers which come in different shapes and sizes so that you can save and seal all kinds of foods in your favourite bowl or plate. With quality food-grade silicone, you can keep your food fresher for longer, reduce waste and save costs not having to re-purchase the single-use version!
7. Reusable Napkins
Another easy and cost effective reusable for your home are napkins, to replace use of single-use tissues or serviettes. Biome has a beautiful range of reusable napkins that will not only make your meals more sustainable and reduce your grocery bill over time, but brighten up your dining table!
8. Reusable Period Apparel
Despite initial hesitations and doubts, the switch to reusable period underwear for better comfort, to reduce use of single-use plastic solutions and monthly costs is definitely a great decision that saved both the planet and grocery bills!
Try ModiBodi's range of reusable period apparel - super comfortable and does the job well. It seemed like a big initial investment, but in the long run will, you'll save on your monthly costs and make a difference by reducing single-use waste each month - win-win!
9. Reduce Your Vehicle Emissions
Reducing vehicle emissions doesn't mean you have to ride your bike or take public transport. In a country as big as Australia, and especially with kids, it is more convenient to use your car. What this does mean is that you should:
- Have your car serviced as scheduled to ensure that you are running your car as efficiently as possible
- Check that your tyres are properly inflated on a regular basis to use less petrol and drive your car efficiently
- Avoid keeping your car idle, i.e. there is no need to warm up your car on a cold morning. Also, turn off your car when you are waiting for someone - re-starting your car doesn't use more petrol.
Keeping your car up to scratch also helps avoid bigger costs in the long run to ensure small problems don't become major ones!
Finally, if you can, consider an electric, hybrid, or fuel-efficient vehicles.
The final three tips for a more sustainable new year while reducing your cost of living relates directly to your own well-being, because to help make a greener planet, you need to be in a healthy physical state and mindset too.
Exercising keeps your body and mind healthier, and helps you sleep better at night. It can start off as an easy stroll around your block at a time that's convenient for you. Ride a bike at your local trail. Swim at your local pool. Whatever floats your boat, just get yourself started!
Staying healthy will also keep your immune system up to avoid nasty medical expenses.
11. Reduce Screen Time
There really isn't anything positive to say about screen time in terms of health benefits, except that it forms an essential part of our work lives. Not only do kids need to be told to reduce screen time, but adults too! Make it a priority to step away from your screen every hour or so even if it's to just get a drink of water, stretch your body, or rest your eyes.
Screen time is the source of many problems, from myopia and migraines, to back, shoulder and arm pains. They're also said to be the cause of the reduction in attention spans, so do make an effort to reduce your screen time.
Try to put away your phone when you don't need it especially when spending time with your family and friends (that friend who can't stop tapping on their phone when they're at dinner with you..!). Be present physically and mentally to fully enjoy the moment!
12. List One Things You're Grateful For Every Morning
It sounds so cliche, but when you remember the positive things in your life and start the day with the right mindset, it makes a big difference to how your day pans out.
As a society and as human beings, we tend to be focused on what we don't have or what we lack (again, no thanks to screens!). It is therefore important to always be mindful of what we DO have and what we should cherish.
A positive mindset and outlook, and not undermining ourselves, will keep your mind and body healthier and more sustainable - and then you can look after your community and environment better!
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