By now everyone is aware that it’s important for us to live more sustainably both to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our waste and protect the environment that we live in. Although we’re all aware that we need to do our part, not everyone knows just where to start or what more they can be doing.
That’s precisely why we’ve decided to put together this checklist so you can have a handy reference of all the things that you can do to help the environment going forward. You may not be able to do everything on the list, but if you just pick some, you’re on the way to living more sustainably.
See our top tips below:
Tips to reduce your energy consumption in small ways
- Shop locally so you can walk to the shops or ride your bicycle rather than using the car.
- Be energy wise at home by turning off lights and appliances that you’re not using. It’s also a good idea to unplug those appliances because they’re still consuming some energy when they’re left plugged in. Consider turning off your modem overnight as well.
- Make sure you use LED lighting as these are far more energy efficient and make sure that you dust your light fittings regularly.
- Think about holidaying closer to home. There are so many beautiful places that are right on your doorstep that you’ve probably never been to.
- Invest in solar panels both for your hot water and your household power. Not only will this save you money but you’ll be relying less on commercially generated electricity.
- Set the thermostat on your air-conditioner to 21 degrees in summer so that it works efficiently.
- In winter, make sure that you eliminate draughts by using draught stoppers and window seals. This allows your heating to be more effective.
- Also in winter, put on a jumper or jacket rather than turning up the heating.
- Another great idea is to place some bricks or large stones on the sills of windows that let in the winter sun. The bricks will soak up the heat from the sun and will act as a thermal mass to warm up your rooms even after the sun has gone down.
- Install thermal-backed curtains or blinds on your west-facing windows. These will keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
- Use cold water to wash your clothes to save on the energy that’s being used to heat the water. (Make sure you use washing powder designed for cold water, though.)
- Hang your clothes outside to dry when the weather’s good or use an airer near the heater when it’s not rather than throwing them in the dryer.
- Consider installing an awning over west-facing windows to shade out the sun in summer.
Tips to be water-wise
- Install a water tank so that you can collect your own water. That might seem ridiculous given how rainy the summer was but capturing rain water means less pressure on stormwater systems and on creeks and rivers.
- Place a bucket in the shower to catch the wasted water while the shower is warming up. You can use this to water the garden or add it into the toilet cistern to use for flushing the toilet.
- Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth. It’s mind-blowing how much water you waste if you leave it running.
- You can also save the grey water from your washing machine and use it on the garden. Don’t do this too often, though, or, if you do, use less washing detergent and add bi-carb soda to soften the water.
- Place a large bucket under the outlet of your air-conditioner outside. This is water that the unit has taken from the air and can be used on your garden and to water your pot plants.
Reducing waste one step at a time
- Buy your detergents in concentrated form as they will last longer, you’ll be using less plastic, it means fewer trucks on the road, and if we talk about dishwashing detergent, you won’t be paying for water. There are also supermarkets that have these products in dispensers so that you can refill the same container again and again. And
- Don’t forget to take your own shopping bags to the supermarket. You can also purchase reusable produce bags that you use over and over again.
- Invest in a couple of nice keep-cups that you can have filled at your favourite coffee shop. This way, you can enjoy your takeaway coffee without worrying about those disposable cups ending up in landfill.
- Consider using bamboo toothbrushes. These can later be used in the garden as plant labels, You can also get plant-based toothpaste in recyclable containers.
- Buy toilet paper that is made from recycled paper or bamboo. An Australian company called WhoGivesACrap supplies this with delivery to your home. Not only that, but 50% of their profits are donated to give people access to clean water and toilets in parts of the world where this is not the norm.
Want more tips on living sustainably on the Northern Beaches?
To find out more about living sustainably and things you can do if you have a rental property, please give the JDH team a call.