It's 2019 and the word sustainability is everywhere, but what exactly does it mean to be sustainable? Being sustainable means meeting your everyday needs without having a negative impact on the environment or the needs of future generations. When it comes to improving your environmental impact, it may not be as hard as you think. All it takes in a few eco-friendly choices about the way you live. It may not be possible for most people to live in a completely trash free home, but fortunately, there are loads of steps you can take to make your home more environmentally-friendly.
If you've ever thought about trying to maintain a more sustainable lifestyle but don't know where to begin, we've put together a beginner's guide to help you get started.
One of the easiest ways to become more sustainable is to take a look at the items you buy on a regular basis. New products are getting released every day to help you create a better environmental footprint. Supermarkets have put one step in the right direction by banning plastic bags in most stores. But, what about the plastic they still use for your fresh produce? Or what about those bin bags you buy each week? Thankfully, now there are easy solutions, try reusable produce bags from banish.com.au or biodegradable bin bags for your general waste. There are plenty of other single-use items that can be replaced with reusable ones. including coffee cups, straws, glad wrap, paper towels and tissues. Have a look around for the best items to suit your household.
Returning to the old-fashioned soap bars is also an immediate way to eliminate the unnecessary use of plastic bottles.
Recycling and reusing are great, but ideally, you can reduce your impact before you even get to this stage. Try using energy efficient light bulbs that last longer and use less energy, or invest in rechargeable batteries for toys and remotes to stop frequent wastage. Installing water saving taps and shower heads will save you money over time and will help you to save water immediately.
Repair or Repurpose
Australians send around 50 million tonnes of waste to landfill each year. So it's essential we start to choose to reuse, this could include things like clothes, furniture or simple household items. Is your couch looking a bit old? How about getting it reupholstered instead of buying a brand new one. Maybe the stitching has come undone on your favourite t-shirt? Get an at home sewing kit and repair it yourself instead of heading straight to the shops to purchase a new one.
As for repurposing, look to places like Pinterest. There are thousands of DIYers ready to give you great tips on how to transform everyday items. Whether it's something simple like upcycling old jars to store homemade jams and sauces or something more complex like creating a DIY kitchen island out of old furniture, there are thousands of ideas out there waiting to put your old items to good use.
Opt for Non-Toxic Cleaners
There are many reasons to go with a natural cleaner over a toxic one. Firstly, they're a lot safer for your family and ensures they don't ingest any nasty chemicals. You'll also save money as those supermarket cleaners certainly add up, not to mention the waste from the chemicals inside and the packaging itself are harmful to the environment. Try making homemade cleaners instead. The acid in white vinegar makes it naturally capable of killing mould and bacteria, and you can use it to clean mirrors and windows. Baking soda is also great for deodorising. Lemon juice is another bacteria battler and sodium borate, aka borax, is a multi-purpose cleaner that's useful for scrubbing walls and floors.
Don't Forget to Give Back
Think about how much we take from the earth each day. It's only right to give a little back where we can. A great place to start is your very own backyard. Trees renew the air we breathe and provide food and shelter to nearby wildlife. If you don't have a big backyard or live in an apartment, opt for some indoor plants - they look great and help to purify the air around you.
Becoming more sustainable can be a little overwhelming at first, so start by making small changes then work your way up to make a smoother transition period. You will soon be surprised at how these habits quickly become the norm in your busy lifestyle.