There are many reasons to protect our planet and become environmentally friendly. You may think the issue is above you and that you, as one person, can't put an end to global warming and climate change alone, so you won't even bother - but if that's the mentality everyone has, nothing will ever happen!
We are living in a "take, make, waste" society that is putting a major strain on our environment. With Australians currently producing the second most waste per person in the world, it has been reported that only 1% of the things we buy are still in use 6 months later. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, on average we create 2000kg of waste a year and each household spends $1266 on goods but is never used (source).
Here are some simple steps that you can implement in your life today that can reduce your ecological footprint.
1. Reduce your overall plastic consumption
A simple way to reduce your overall plastic consumption is to avoid buying plastic water bottles if you can. Invest in a BPA free bottle! Not only will you save money from buying plastic bottles every month or so, but it also reduces your overall plastic consumption.
Plastic bags take 500 years to decompose. How often do you go to your local grocer and take home 3 bags full of groceries? Opt for a reusable green bag, though you will need to use it about 131 times before it will break even with the single-use plastic bags.
According to research, if every American recycled just ONE plastic bottle, the materials can be used to make more than 54 million t-shirts! That's 2 shirts for everyone in Australia!
2. Compost your green waste
Remember when your kids would come home from school and tell you that they needed to collect food scraps for the class earthworms? You can still continue recycling your food scraps to create nutritious compost for your garden! Instead of throwing away your scraps into the kitchen bin, place them in a separate (or compost) bin to recycle. Check out this link for a more detailed set of instructions.
This method is one of the easiest changes to implement and can help you live more sustainability and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Be energy efficient
If the sun is out, don't put your clothes into the dryer. Rather, you should hang it outside and let mother nature do its thing! You can save on your energy bill and utilise the warmth of the sun for free!
Opt to go paperless for your bills, statements and newsletters! Even though the paper is recyclable, why use paper when you don't have to?
4. Give a new life to your old possessions
Go through your old clothes and see which ones are in good enough condition to donate or sell rather than throwing them away. Reduce, reuse and recycle is a concept that everyone knows but don't always implement.
You can donate your pre-loved items to your local secondhand shop. These stores are becoming more and more popular every day and you may find something you really love, next to nothing! This community is truly thriving and creates multiple benefits, such as providing affordable items for everyone, keeping clothing and other items out of landfills and giving new life to that t-shirt you only wore once because you forgot you had it. Sound familiar?
Pop into your local second-hand store and see what treasures you can find or donate your old possessions for someone else to love! Click for more reasons on the benefits of shopping at a local thrift store!
5. Minimalist living
Research has shown that Australians buy 27kgs of clothing every year. That's more than TWICE the global average of 13kgs. Australia's need for new clothes and the popularity of fast fashion companies is seriously hurting the environment. A way to become more environmental is to live like a minimalist. One thing everyone can do is to think before they buy things.
Before you buy something, quickly ask yourself WHY you want to buy it. Do you have an outfit at home you know this will pair well with? Is it because it is on sale? Do you already have something similar to this at home?
Ask yourself similar questions to get down to the root of why you want to purchase it. This can apply to clothing, home ware and everything in between!
Some members of the minimalist community live by a rule, where if they purchase something they will have to give something else away to take its place. Discover more tips on how to live a minimalist life here.