Green living.

Whether you’ve made a pledge for Plastic Free July, or can’t get Craig Reucassel’s War on Waste documentary out of your mind, chances are your thoughts have been with Mother Earth one or two times of late. If you’re feeling inspired to do your bit for the planet but don’t know where to start… fear not! Some of the most effective changes you can make require no major lifestyle adjustments, and are little more than forming a couple of new habits!

Ready to ramp up your eco game?

Plastic Free July

1. Choose bamboo.
Bamboo is one of the world’s fastest growing renewable resources. Not only will a plantation replenish itself after harvesting, usually within a year, bamboo also survives in harsh conditions without pesticides and herbicides, and requires very little water. Consider bamboo for bedding, sheets, chopping boards, utensils and tableware to boost your home’s eco credentials.

2. Reusable coffee cups and water bottles.
Every year, Australians use around one billion coffee cups. Whether you make your own on-the-go coffee at home, or visit the local barista every morning, join the fight against one of the biggest offenders when it comes to non-recyclable single use plastics by purchasing a glass or stainless steel coffee cup, then follow suit with your water bottle.

3. Natural cleaning methods.
Instead of reaching for the bleach and other toxic, chemical-laden cleaning products, try using dish washing liquid, bicarb soda, vinegar, lemon and good old elbow grease to get your home sparkling. Keeping your home well ventilated by opening windows will help reduce mould growth and eliminate the need for strong chemicals in the first place.

4. Reusable produce bags.
Take your green grocery game to the next level by eliminating the need for plastic produce bags. We don’t suggest having loose fruit rolling around in your cart, especially if you’re doing a large shop – it annoys the checkout assistant and you. So what’s the alternative? Reusable mesh drawstring bags! They’re easy to make yourself and weigh next to nothing, just remember to use mesh over cloth so that the checkout staff can easily see what’s in the bag.

5. Replace lightbulbs.
Flick the switch on energy-guzzling bulbs and replace them with CFLs or LEDs, which can use up to 80% less energy than traditional incandescent and halogen bulbs, and last up to 20 times longer.

Plastic Free July

6. Kitchen compost.
If you’re already recycling glass, cans, hard plastics and soft plastics, learning to compost organic matter can reduce your general household waste down to almost nothing! If you don’t have a garden to deposit all that organic goodness back into the earth, check with your council to see if fruit and vegetable scraps can be placed in your green bin. One Million Women suggests using old newspaper as a liner for collecting food scraps as well as general waste.

7. Wash with the cold cycle.
Around 80-90% of the energy required to wash your clothes goes towards heating the water, so you can drastically reduce electricity consumption – and the associated bill – by washing cold. And remember to always line-dry rather than use the dryer. As well as saving energy, line-drying is gentler on your clothes so they’ll last longer.

8. Warm up with natural fibres.
Whether you prefer down, wool or cotton, you can rest assured your choice is substantially more planet-friendly than its polyester or synthetic counterpart. Owing to its thermal efficiency, long lifespan and low carbon footprint, down is the overall winner when it comes to eco-friendly winter bedding.

9. Find a second use.
Single use plastics and packaging are entrenched in our society and looked upon as a convenience rather than a blight on the environment, so it can be hard to avoid things like plastic bags and takeaway containers all the time. If you find yourself in company with any of these items, don’t be too hard on yourself… just put them to another use! Plastic bags can be kept as kitchen tidy bags and takeaway containers make great food storage.


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