How to live sustainably
One way to live sustainably and lower your ecological footprint is to reduce the amount of water you use.
In your bathroom:
- Install an AAA-rated showerhead and consider installing timers or flow restrictors on your taps to reduce your water use by up to 50%.
- Always replace leaking washers and turn taps off gently so that the washers last longer.
- Install an AAA-rated dual flush toilet and use around 67% less water than a standard single flush toilet.
In your laundry:
- Only use your washing machine when you have a full load. Also consider making your next washing machine a minimum 4A-rated front loader to be more energy and water efficient.
In your kitchen:
- Rinse dishes in a plugged sink rather than under a running tap.
- Only use your dishwasher when you have a full load.
In your garden:
- Install a rainwater tank to water the garden.
- Always use a broom instead of a hose to clean paths, driveways and paved areas.
- Purchase native plants from the local native nursery to plant in your garden.
- Use mulch and add organic material such as compost to the soil to help the soil retain moisture.
- If possible wash the car on the grass to water and fertilise your lawn at the same time.
Another way to live sustainably and lower your ecological footprint is to reduce the amount of energy you use.
Hot Water Use
Did you know that hot water accounts for up to half an average household’s energy use! To use hot water more efficiently:
- Install an AAA rated showerhead or reduce the length of your shower.
- Use cold water to rinse dirty dishes.
- Fix dripping taps. A tap dripping 45 times per minute wastes 1000 litres of hot water a month.
- Install a hot water unit that is the correct size for your needs.
- If possible install an energy efficient hot water system (e.g. solar).
- Install energy efficient light globes.
- Maximise the use of natural light.
- Switch off lights when not in use or when you leave a room.
- Use timers or sensors on outdoor lights.
Insulation and Draught Control
An insulated home is an energy smart home, keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer.
- Insulate the ceiling and walls of your home.
- Seal gaps around windows and doors to reduce heat loss or gain.
- Keep curtains or blinds closed in summer or shade your windows from the sun. In winter leave windows facing the sun uncovered to minimise the need for heating systems.
Washing and Drying
- Purchase a 4+ star energy rated washing machine.
- Wash your clothes in cold or warm water.
- Dry your clothes on the clothes line rather than in the dryer.
Standby mode can account for up to 12% of a households energy use.
- Switch off appliances such as the TV, VCR, DVD and computer when not in use.
- Switch to Green Power and have your electricity supplied from renewable energy sources. Call 136 206 or visit GreenPower
- Using public transport where you can, car pooling with family and friends, or choosing a more energy efficient model as your next car.
- Walking or cycling for short trips near home. Using your own energy for transport will improve your fitness and wellbeing, and reduce car pollution near your own home.
You can also reduce the amount of waste you produce, and reduce the environmental impact of your purchases.
Here are some handy hints for reducing waste around the home.
Improve your purchases
- Reducing your dietary intake of animal products, highly processed food, and food sourced from outside of the local area.
- Buy goods with recycled packaging, and which are made of materials which can be recycled by you.
- Consider purchasing services rather than goods.
Did you know that the average Australian produces more than 10 times their body weight in garbage each year?
And that every year Australians throw away 6.9 billion plastic bags. If these bags were all tied together they would stretch around the world 37 times!
To reduce your waste:
- Avoid plastic bags. Use calico or hessian bags when doing the shopping.
- Grow your own fruit and vegetables.
- More than 50% of waste thrown away by the average Australian is made up of food scraps or garden waste that can be composted, so purchase a compost bin or worm farm and start composting today!
- Buy green. Purchase products that have less packaging or packaging that can be recycled or made from recycled materials.
- Hire, share or borrow items rather than buying.
Did you know that of the 10 million tonnes of waste thrown away each year, more than half could potentially be reused?
- Reuse containers to store objects around the house or in the garage.
- Give unwanted items to charity or your local secondhand shop.
- Reuse old timber for garden beds.
- Use composted food and garden waste to fertilise your garden.
Did you know that only 1/3 of the waste produced by Australians is being recycled at present?
Every week you can save approximately 3 kg of greenhouse gas by recycling your waste.
Reduce waste to landfill:
- Recycle all paper products. Every tonne of paper recycled saves almost 13 trees!
- Recycle all plastic and glass bottles, containers, cartons, aluminium cans and other recyclable material marked with R, 1 or 2.
- Recycle the corks from your wine and champagne bottles. Contact Guides Australia for more information.
- Recycle your mobile phone and phone batteries. Old mobiles and batteries can be returned to major phone retailers or participating Dick Smith Electronics stores.
- Recycle your printer, fax or photocopier cartridges at Australia Post. Cartridges can be dropped off at the Post Shop located on Military Road Mosman and Spit Road, Spit Junction. More information at Cartridges 4 Planet Ark
- Recycle your whitegoods, scrap metal, timber, tyres, containers and packaging. These items can be dropped off at the Kimbriki Recycling and Waste Disposal Centre, Kimbriki Road Terry Hills. Open 7am-5pm. Contact (02) 9486 3512.
- Recycle or resell all old or outdated computer equipment. More information at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the toll free recycling line on 1800 465 890.