More than ever before, it is crucial that we look after our planet to reduce the destruction of our environment.
Just in our lifetime alone, it is chilling to think that we as humans have almost halved the number of wildlife on Earth at an alarming rate in just 40 years. As each year passes, more and more species are joining the list of endangered or extinct animals. Following the extinction of the western black rhino in 2013, the world’s last remaining male northern white rhino died early last year. These species may have survived millions of years but could not survive mankind. Although all species extinction is important, the demise of the bee population is increasingly worrying. With a third of all our food depending on their pollination, without bees, food production will slow down. It is estimated the value of the bee’s pollination work to be approximately AUD430 billion annually. Hand pollination of crops is extremely labour intensive, slow and expensive so it is imperative we protect our bees.
Pollution via waste, littering and greenhouse gases are affecting our wildlife. According to National Geographic, there are 5.25 trillion pieces of trash in the ocean. Many of these pieces aren’t big visible pieces that float on top of the water or sink to the seabed but actually microplastics the size of grains of rice. Pollution in the ocean can and will result in devastating effects of our marine life.
We have compiled a list of eco-friendly habits you can adopt to reduce your household waste output.
- Go paperless: If you receive bills via mail, talk to your service provider and ask them to switch to sending bills via email. Let’s be honest, once you pay your bill, where does the paper bill go? Do you keep it? Before printing anything, take a second to think if you actually need to print it out as it may be better to just have the online copy. It is easier to locate something online in your inbox than it is to sift through stacks of paper.
- Reduce: We often disregard the first step in the saying "Reduce, reuse, recycle", and only focus on the latter. The first part of this is probably the most important as it cuts out the waste entirely before we even get to the recycling stage. Think about how many plastic containers you have at home or how many 15c shopping bags you pick up at each grocery shop. Sure you are able to use it next time you go for your shop, but how many times do you actually remember to bring it? I too, am guilty of this and resort to buying another bag but lately I have been putting it all in the trolley to wheel out to the car park.
- Recycle: Recycle your rubbish. Do not put your paper and cardboard in the general waste bin with your other waste. Our recyclables can be reused to make eco-friendly products. It may seem like it is such a small thing to do but it can go a long way.
Things you can recycle: plastic bottles, paper, metals, glass
Non-recyclables: Food waste, mirrors, bubble wrap, plastic bags
- Don’t litter: Your litter will probably end up in the ocean and being consumed or entangled in marine life. Ocean pollution will not instantly kill these animals but will do so slowly over a long period of time. As larger marine life consumes smaller marine life, they have a higher concentration of plastic and toxins in their system. Humans are at the top of the food chain eating these larger animals, which can ultimately affect our health leading to long term issues.
- Use a reusable bag: Single-use plastic bags can take hundreds even thousands of years to break down. You may think that you are just one person and how could you possibly make a difference- but think of all the plastic bags you use in a week or a month and multiply it by millions of people across the nation. Not so sustainable anymore right? A solution for this is to bring your own reusable (mesh) bags to store your loose fresh fruit and vegetables when you complete your weekly grocery shop.Check out this product in Whole Foods in the UK. Can you tell what’s wrong with it?
Oh, if only mandarins came with its own protective outer layer…
- Use glass storage containers: Don’t buy plastic containers in bulk to pack your lunch every day to work. Glass storage containers are BPA free (a good thing) and you can easily pop them in the oven or microwave to reheat with no chance of toxins leaking into your food. Other benefits include the fact that they save you money in the long run, enhances the food flavour in that the glass surface repels food odours and keeps it fresh and cleaner.