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7 Tips for Going Green

By Olivia Hughes

So you want to be a friend to the environment? We’ve collected a few easy ways to live greener around your home today.

Let’s break down some of the facts and figures surrounding energy waste at home and what you can do about it.

1. Community compost

A lot of household waste could be composted instead of dumped into landfill. However, we understand not everyone has compost facilities readily available.

If you can’t compost food waste in your own backyard, seek out community programs. Picture: Pexels

If you live in an apartment block or don’t have outdoor areas that cater to composting, there are some solutions.

Ask your strata for a communal compost bin for the block or lobby your local council for a community compost initiative.

Many neighbourhoods already have composting programs or community gardens where you can contribute. Check with your council or search for community composting groups on Facebook or Google.

2. Reduce energy through improved awareness

The best way to make changes to your life is to monitor your behaviour. This helps increase your awareness of patterns and potential areas for change. It works for saving and dieting, so why not energy consumption?

Smart meters have been around for a while, but not everyone has one.

They allow you to view your energy consumption in real-time, including readily available data around peak consumption times and spaces within your house.

Smart meters can be great for your bills and the planet. Check with your energy retailer to see if you can have one installed.

3. Take shorter showers

According to Origin Energy, hot water usage accounts for around 21% of your energy bill. The largest part of this amount is likely to be showers.

Ideally, everyone’s showers would be four minutes. But how do we keep them within this time frame?

One way is to literally time yourself. You can purchase small, shower-friendly timing devices. Or you can play a song or two to keep the time in check.

4. Buy less or buy second-hand

Textile production currently contributes 10% of global carbon emissions. That’s four times more than all carbon emissions from air travel combined.

A large perpetrator of this is the fast fashion industry. As a consumer, you can try your hardest not to respond to the call to keep buying. This extends to homewares, furniture and other household goods.

Get creative and upcycle some vintage finds. Picture: Pexles

Mass production of any consumer goods contributes more than necessary to landfill. But when we need a new table it can be hard to resist the budget-friendly pricing of a large store. So, what is the solution?

Wherever you can, shop second hand. Nowadays, near-new items from stores like IKEA or Kmart can be found on Facebook Marketplace.

Similarly, recycle your own clothing and homewares wherever you can by donating, selling or swapping. Many stores, like IKEA and Apple, also operate ‘buy back’ programs to help recycle your old goods.

5. Clean up your kitchen habits

The first room to look to for easy green swaps is the kitchen. There’s a sustainable alternative to nearly everything.

Reduce single-use plastics by grabbing yourself silicone pot covers, beeswax wraps and glass containers. If you can’t replace garbage bags completely, choose the kind that is more biodegradable.

Then, turn your eye to your cleaning supplies. See if there is anything you can swap out for some good old fashioned bi-carb and vinegar or eucalyptus.

Next, review your recycling. Are you putting the right items in your recycling bin? Remember, recycling rules can vary depending on your local council, so check their website or give them a call.

6. Close or open your curtains

In winter, 40% of your home’s heat escapes through the windows. If you don’t want to jump to double glazing (an excellent long-term solution), you can simply close your curtains.

Around 40% of your home’s heat is lost through your windows. Picture: Pexels

The trick is getting the timing and placement right. Since we don’t want to sit in the dark all day, keep your curtains open whenever the sun is shining through. This should let more heat into your home.

However, if the sun isn’t hitting a particular window or side of your house, it’s time to shut up shop.

Furthermore, some people switch out their curtains seasonally. For instance, a heavier drape can provide added insulation in winter, whereas a lovely linen shade is ideal for keeping heat out in summer.

7. Change your lights

We don’t need to remind you to turn your lights off when you leave a room, right? (Right?!) So, another light-related way to reduce energy is to choose LED bulbs.

According to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resource, LED light bulbs use 75% less energy than halogen lights and last five to 10 times longer. Considering lighting tends to comprise 10% of your energy bill, this isn’t a bad saving.

Furthermore, while LEDs can cost a little more up front, they offer a very quick return on investment.


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