WHETHER YOU CONSIDER THEM BIG OR SMALL THESE SEVEN SUSTAINABLE LIFE HACKS WILL GET YOU ONE STEP CLOSER TO BEING A MY NET ZERO HERO.
We’ve officially kicked off 2022, and while Omicron and Novak Djokovic’s visa debacle have dominated the headlines, climate change is still our biggest issue. Many of us spent January easing back into work and closing out the summer holidays (if you didn’t spend yours in isolation), so now is a great time to contemplate the age-old idea of a New Years’ resolution. This year we have just one – to be more green every day and protect Mother Earth.
If you’re already carrying a reusable water bottle and sipping your piccolo out of your own coffee cup, well done. Here are seven more ways to make this your most sustainable year yet.
1. GOING SHOPPING? TAKE YOUR OWN BAG!
Here’s a bright idea! Why don’t we mandate reusable shopping bags. Did you know there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans? Plastic bags harm the environment, they’re difficult to recycle, and they can take hundreds of years to decompose. Pledge to swap your plastic shopping bag for a reusable one every single time you leave the house. No excuses. Leave them in your car, put one in your bag, or set an alarm – whatever you do, make sure this is the year you ditch plastic bags for good.
2. YOU’RE NOT A CARNIVORE. EAT LESS MEAT.
Many people choose to eat plants and meat which has earned us the fishy title of omnivore. Anatomically, us humans are actually herbivorous. We’re also smart enough to know eating less meat is good for our health and good for our planet. By switching to one vegetarian meal a week we can save the GHG equivalent of driving around 1900KMs, according to the Centre of Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan. Reducing our meat intake also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, water use, and land disturbance. Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s go easy on the yoghurt.
3. GO GREEN WITH YOUR COSMETICS
As we become more conscious consumers we’re not just asking, ‘Is this product good for my face?’ but, ‘Is this product good for my planet?’ And it’s worth doing the research. Many skincare products contain microbeads which might feel nice but are harmful to the environment, especially marine life. These mini, manufactured plastic particles are less than 5mm in diameter and don’t degrade or dissolve in water so they’re more likely to end up in our lakes, oceans, and rivers. We recommend checking out all-natural Australian skincare brand, Go-To Skincare, as a starting point. Make a pledge and let’s be more conscious when buying cosmetics.
4. USE ECO-FRIENDLY CLEANING SUPPLIES
While we’re ditching single use plastics, especially around the home, it makes sense to look at what we’re using to clean it. Lucky for us there are plenty of eco-friendly products on the market. Many harsh chemicals can harm our families and the environment, but vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils are all great natural cleaning products. If you’re not up for making your own, natural dish detergents and biodegradable degreasers are a good way to clean up our act. Green cleaning products use safe, non-harmful, and biodegradable ingredients, and reduce air and water pollution.
5. STOP WITH THE PAPER TOWELS ALREADY
Paper towel is the #1 item that goes into landfill according to the EPA (Environment Protection Authority). In the United States alone, 13 billion pounds of paper towels are used each year and the pandemic hasn’t helped – paper towel sales in the US have increased more than 200%. The rubbish thing about paper towels is they’re not recyclable and usually thrown away after one use, creating more methane and adding to our growing waste problem. The good news is there are lots of alternatives. Try microfiber cleaning cloths or bamboo paper towels, which can be reused then chucked in the compost
6. GET CREATIVE AND UPCYCLE
Need another hack for a more eco-friendly lifestyle? It’s time to get creative. Before you throw that bike, pot, lamp, bed, or suitcase away add upcycling to your New Year’s resolution. When we repurpose old items we’re saving money and keeping waste out of landfill. Now, all we have to do is find someone to turn our trash into treasure or get inspired for a new art project. Gumboot pot plant, anyone?
7. REUSABLE BATTERIES ROCK
Compared to traditional batteries, reusable or rechargeable batteries are a great way to reduce our carbon footprint. While the upfront cost might be a bit higher, one rechargeable battery can replace thousands of single-use batteries. Go on, you know you want to.