Whether it’s eating healthier, quitting smoking or finally getting rid of your credit card debt, as the New Year rolls around a lot of individual pressure comes with it.
But what about if you made 2016 less about you and more about making small tweaks and changes for the greater good? That’s right, we’re giving you full permission to quit the resolution you know won’t last come Australia Day, and instead apply that motivation to being kinder to the environment.
After all, we already know that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists believe climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to the human race.
That is the day-to-day activities that most of the time can be ever so slightly tweaked so as to be kinder to the environment.
Here, Sara McGregor a spokeswoman for Planet Ark spoke to The Huffington Post Australia about the simple changes you can make every day in order to reduce your carbon footprint and become an all round better person for it.
Buy less stuff
“Reducing waste is the number one thing people can do. Everything we buy requires resources and has a footprint associated with it. So be happy with less! Stuff only provides a short-term high but doesn’t make us happy in the long run.”
Learn what you can and can’t recycle
“Did you know that packaging your recycling bottles in a plastic bag isn’t allowed? 23 percent of people get this wrong. Also, Pringle tins are made of multiple materials and therefor can’t be recycled. Educate yourself on what can and can’t be recycled by using the free RecycleSmart app which aims to reduce kerbside confusion when it comes to recycling as well as providing local options for items not accepted in household bins.”
Recycle your e-waste
“E-waste is the fastest growing form of waste in Australia. Electronics like TVs, computers, batteries, phones and printer cartridges should be recycled. The materials are toxic so it’s important to keep them out of landfill and recover their valuable resources. There are recycling programs available through Cartridges 4 Planet Art, TechCollect, MobileMuster, BatteryWorld and Aldi.
Go meat free for some nights of the week
“The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) says the livestock sector is one of the top three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems. The FAO estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while other organisations have estimated it could be as much as 51 percent. Going meat-free a few days a week means less water and energy is required to produce your food, and fewer greenhouse gases are expelled during production. As well as being a healthy alternative it reduces the number of livestock often raised in intensive confinement.”
Choose natural cleaning products
“People have started to seek out more natural cleaning products with ingredients they recognise like citrus oil, vinegar, baking soda and essential oils after some harsh chemicals can have negative effects on our health. These products are more environmentally friendly, better for your health and safe to use around kids and pets.”
Be green at work
“If you must drive to work, carpool otherwise make use of public transport or better, walk. Pack a homemade lunch (your bank and diet will thank you) and remember there’s no need for unnecessary packaging. If your company doesn’t currently recycle, check out BusinessRecycling. It has guides and toolkits for engaging your colleagues as well as advice on how to choose recyclers.”
Say no to plastic bags
“Australians use 4 billion plastic bags a year and most are only used for a few minutes. There are plenty of convenient options for reusable bags.”
Make your car more sustainable
“If you are driving, make sure your tyre pressure is correct, you aren’t carrying extra weight in your boot and your car is serviced regularly -- these will save emissions and on petrol costs.”
Reuse greywater where possible
“Greywater is the wastewater from washing machines, showers, baths and basins. You can collect water in a bucket from either your washing machine or shower and use it to water your garden, which is the easiest and cheapest way of making use of greywater. Secondly a greywater diversion device is a simple system that diverts greywater to a small holding tank and then to an irrigation system below the soil surface, to water your lawn. And if you want to do one better, a greywater treatment system uses all the greywater your home generates and stores it to flush toilets, wash your clothes and water your garden using a hose.”