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Ten ways to be more sustainable
13 August, 2020
They say the best way to teach something is to lead by example, and when it comes to sustainability at home, that’s certainly true. Here are ten eco-conscious habits you can implement at home to help your children think more sustainably.
Think before you toss
Compost and worm farms are a fantastic way to repurpose your produce when it’s no longer edible, and there are a bunch of different ways you can go about setting them up! Whether you’re making a worm farm or buying a small compost bin, having somewhere to chuck your food waste will make a huge difference – just remember to put rotten food into the compost as soon as possible, to prevent contaminating other foods! The Brisbane City Council has some great tips: www.brisbane.qld.gov.au
Carry reusable bags
When you did your last grocery shop, which bags did you use? A lot of grocery stores still provide plastic bags for you to purchase, but an easy alternative to plastic are reusable produce bags. It’s a simple swap, so long as you remember to have them handy – we like to keep ours in our car.
Grow your own
You don’t need to be a farmer either to grow fresh food – every backyard at home is also a potential productive urban farm! Enjoy healthy, locally grown food, reduce waste and close the loop on food waste by turning it into compost. For tonnes of tips on growing your own produce, plus a bunch of other info about ways you can fight food waste, check out Local Harvest: www.localharvest.org.au
Use your own containers
Plastic containers are becoming less and less common but, if you’re someone who is still using plastic containers to pack your lunch, consider an alternative material – like bamboo, for example. Bamboo is an extremely sustainable material and has antifungal properties, making it the perfect carrier for your lunch on the go.
Pick the perfectly imperfect
Countless fruits and veggies are tossed before they even hit grocery stores due to ‘cosmetic standards’ of some businesses. The ABC’s series ‘War on Waste’ lists bananas as just one example – one big supermarket chain specified that they be “slightly arched with a blunt end” to meet their standards for sale. So, if you see a funny-looking fruit or a misshapen veggie, buy it! You’ll be showing supermarkets that it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
It sounds simple, but taking stock of what you’ve got and being careful about what you buy can make a massive difference! Remember how we told you that one-fifth of the food we buy ends up in the bin – that’s one out of the five shopping bags that you usually fill up in your grocery shop! OzHarvest.com has some great tips for managing what goes in and out of your fridge and pantry: www.ozharvest.org
Cut out packaged drinks & snacks
When buying drinks or snacks, consider how much packaging you’re picking up with each product – juices, water bottles, soft drink, chips, chocolate and lollies are all notoriously plastic-laden. Instead, try making your own! This won’t just help the planet, but will also save you a tonne of money and is much healthier.
Store it properly
Invest in some good, airtight containers or some fresh produce bags that are designed to keep food looking and tasting its best for as long as possible and, when food is close to its use-by date, freeze it! Also, educate yourself about the best places to store your fruits and veggies – while some might thrive in the crisper, others are better in cool, dry environments.
Use ‘cleaner’ cleaning products
A great way to minimise your plastic use is to make your own cleaning essentials. A lot of the cleaning products sold at the supermarket are not only packaged in plastic, but also carry a lot of harmful chemicals – instead, try making your own all purpose cleaner to help banish unnecessary packaging.
Brush up on non-recyclables
Did you know that 3.5 billion toothbrushes are sold worldwide, every year? And that most of them get lost in the recycling process and end up in landfill, or worse – make their way into rivers and oceans? Plastic toothbrushes also take up to 400 years to decompose. By making the switch to a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush, you are taking a step in the right direction.