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Sustainable Living Tips

1. Shop at farmer’s markets and bulk food shops.

Where else do you get to listen to live music while you shop? Bring your own refillable jars and containers. Not only are you supporting local Australian families, you have the option to choose products not pre-packaged in plastic. Local produce markets are generally cheaper than supermarkets anyway. So you and your wallet can feel good shopping there.

2. Stay away from the money hungry supermarket giants.

We know it’s an easy convenience to buy all of your food from one place, but if you can source some of that food from a local farmer’s market, it really makes a big difference. Not only are you supporting local Australian businesses, you are not buying produce that comes wrapped in unnecessary plastic packaging that the giant supermarkets usually stock. Secondly, these supermarket giants are responsible for rejecting and disposing of millions of tonnes of edible food every year.

If a supplier does not meet the certain product requirements (I.E. Apples too small), or make the half hour window to deliver their stock, their supplies get rejected. If the suppliers do not find another suitable home for their rejected food, it gets sent to landfill. Not only is it a waste of completely edible food, all the water and resources that went into making that food were for nothing. The only thing that is generated by food waste are greenhouse gases.

3. How many mobile phones have you owned?

Have you ever thought about where your first mobile phone is now? Currently our E-waste (electronic goods) is either sent to landfill, or shipped overseas to facilities who smash the merchandise into pieces and smelt their circuit boards to retrieve the copper and metals for reuse. The issue with many overseas facilities is that their dirty way of extraction causes greenhouse gases and carbon emissions. Plus, some use illegal workers in unsanitary conditions. Many of the workers sleep in the same cargo containers that the E-waste shipments arrive in.

CLICK HERE to find your nearest drop zone for your old electronic goods (E-waste) to dispose of it properly.

 

4. There is nothing better than leftovers.

Bring a reusable container to restaurants with you for your leftovers. Make your co-workers jealous of your delicious lunch the next day, that you didn’t even have to prepare.

40% of the organic waste generated is from the industrial sector including restaurants and cafés. There is such a negative stigma for asking for ‘doggy bags’ to take uneaten food home. Every single state and territory has legislation that permits take home bags. We as customers, own and pay for the food so we have every right to take the leftovers home.

There are concerns about the misconduct of leftover food. Authorities suggest that the containers be dated and the customer is given instructions on how to safely store and reheat the food. There’s currently no law in Australia that would prevent restaurants from offering their customers take-away containers for leftover food, so don’t forget your container.

5. Treat your plants and start an organic compost bin.

Your garden will love it. Plants thrive from compost, as it enriches the soil and encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter. PLUS, IT REDUCES METHANE EMISSIONS! This is because methane-producing microbes are not active in the presence of oxygen.

 

What you will need:

  • A container/bin with a lid to keep the compost moist.
  • Browns – This includes materials such as dead leaves, branches, and twigs. Make sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded.
  • Greens – This includes materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds.
  • Water – The compost needs to stay moist.

You should have more browns than greens in your compost bin. Roughly ⅔ brown.

CLICK HERE to check out our ‘Build your own compost bin’ blog post for more information and tips.

 

6. Our homes don’t need to be fully lit

Make sure you switch off all lights and air conditioning when you are not using them. Turn off your car ignition when waiting in park. Turn off your appliances from the mains switch when not in use. Not only will these little changes good for the environment, they will save you HEAPS on your electricity and petrol bills.

7. Buy vintage baby!

One of the biggest problems in the world is mass production of products, particularly in the fashion industry. Unsold, unused garments end up in landfill and take years to biodegrade, which causes methane emissions. Synthetic fabrics like polyester and lycra can take hundreds of years to biodegrade. We also need to consider that making a single pair of jeans equals just under 7000 litres of water. Thrift/Opportunity shopping will save you a tonne of money and also give you swagger as vintage clothes are always in fashion.

 

8. Reduce the amount of meat and dairy in your diet

Many scientists argue that the agriculture industry is currently the highest contributor to environmental degradation on Earth today. Livestock production, such as raising cows, chickens and pigs, uses one third of the world’s fresh water, 30% of the world’s ice-free surface, and contributes around 1.6-2.7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. Another 1.3-2.0 billion tonnes of Nitrous Oxide come from producing feed for livestock.

Over consumption of meat and dairy are also a contributing cause of obesity and many health problems, such as heart disease, and high cholesterol. Research has shown that eating meat and dairy a maximum of twice per week, gives you enough protein and nutrients for a healthy diet, as well as lightening your environmental impact.

The main harm is caused by the depletion of our natural resources such as fresh water, and deforestation, which contributes to the 10,000 species that go extinct each year. The continuous depletion of the earth’s resources is not sustainable for future generations, so reducing your meat and dairy intake will have a significant, positive impact on the environment.

References:

https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=1B9LQQkm_qMC&oi=fnd&pg=PP18&dq=statistics+for+grazing+industry+environmental+degradation&ots=LOZWcX5HoJ&sig=ppwvFc89-hzZC8scuT_xPXV1pz0#v=onepage&q&f=false

http://wwf.panda.org/our_work/biodiversity/biodiversity/

https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions

https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-fossil-fuel-emissions-in-2018-increasing-at-fastest-rate-for-seven-years

https://www.w24.co.za/Fashion/Trends/fashion-waste-this-is-how-long-it-takes-your-clothes-to-decompose-20180118

https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/climate-change/composting-avoid-methane-production

https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home

https://environmentvictoria.org.au/resource/organic-waste/

https://www.greenpeace.org.au/blog/trash-selfie/

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-17/waste-could-become-fuel-source-in-big-australias-future/9550082

https://www.forksoverknives.com/7-things-that-happen-when-you-stop-eating-meat/#gs.Fwo8QlQX

Sustainability

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