Life's good for us humans.  We have everything we want and need.  And yet somehow, pandemics aside, with every day that passes, life just keeps getting better. 

 

We've got big corporations that create and make products that feed our 'need' for everything. From new electric cars to comfortable yoga gear and non-slip mats.  Healthy meals we can buy online and cook-up in a minute to great smelling, luxury bodycare to make our bathrooms look like they're ready for a magazine shoot. 

 Read about The environmental cost of convenience

But there's one BIG loser to all this mass-consumption.  And that looser is our environment.

 

But how do we turn it around?  How do we fix it?  While there's no way to instantly stop the negative fall-out of our modern lives, there are some simple things we can all do to help reduce our impact.

 

If you're keen to start treading a little lighter on the planet, here's a list of easy changes you can start making straight away, to be a little kinder to our planet.  

  1. Ask, ‘do I really need it?’ before you buy something. 
  2. Avoid palm oil wherever possible. Or do your homework and check that it's sustainably sourced.  
  3. Borrow items you need if it’s for just a short period.  Like tables and chairs for parties, camping gear, or tools to do a quick improvement job. 
  4. Get yourself (or make) a set of reusable produce bags and leave these in your car so you’re never caught without them.  
  5. Buy what's local and in-season to reduce transport carbon emissions.
  6. Look for plastic-free cosmetic applicators and pads. 
  7. Reach for products with the least packaging possible.
  8. Buy those bruised pieces of fruit at the market and make a pie, jam or sauce. (Here are some recipes.) 
  9. Change all your light bulbs over to LED.
  10. Chose items for their quality instead of buying for value.  And look for pieces that won't go out of fashion. 
  11. Commit to using your reusable shopping bags. If you forget them, go back home and get them.  Like the coffee cup rule below, make it a big inconvenience when you forget them and you’ll always remember them. 
  12. Decline free promotional items and don’t be tempted by free ‘gifts with purchase’.  They’re free for a reason - typically cheaply made, break easily and are a huge drain on resources. 
  13. Discover a few favourite ‘emergency meals’ to stop you ordering takeout on busy/lazy nights. (Take out means plastic.)  Check these recipes and ideas
  14. Ditch tissues for handkerchiefs. 
  15. Donate what you don’t need anymore and support the second-hand market.
  16. Don't buy anything impulsively. (Think rule #1.)
  17. Always carry a reusable water bottle
  18. Find a local cobbler to repair tired shoes.
  19. Get friendly with natural dying and get old clothes to look new again. 
  20. Use rechargeable batteries instead of ‘disposable’. 
  21. Get rid of pests naturally.
  22. Give away unused items on gumtree or facebook marketplace.  At least you know the person wants it and will use it. 
  23. Go paperless for all your bills.
  24. Go to the farmer’s market (with your reusable and produce bags).
  25. Grab a bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic one next time you need to replace it (and help stop the 10 billion plastic ones being thrown out each year).  
  26. If you buy your lunch, seek-out food courts that use reusable crockery.  Or take your own container.    
  27. Install rainwater tanks or greywater catchment.
  28. Invest in good quality airtight containers to reduce food wastage. 
  29. Make ‘retail therapy’ a thing of the past.  DO something instead of buying something. 
  30. Make pudding with that stale bread
  31. Make a rule of ‘no cup – no coffee’.  You won’t forget your cup again. 
  32. Make cleaning rags, handkerchiefs and napkins out of old sheets and towels.
  33. Make homemade foods like jams and chutneys to give as gifts
  34. Meal plan to reduce food waste. 
  35. Next time you buy a shower loofah, get one made of organic material, like bamboo, or hemp. 
  36. Plant your garden out and fill it with natives to attract wildlife and reduce watering. 
  37. Purchase experiences instead of things as gifts. 
  38. Purchase sponges made from natural materials, like cellulose and husk.
  39. Put a ‘No Junk Mail’ sticker on your letterbox. 
  40. In Winter, put on warm clothes before turning on the heater. 
  41. Reduce your meat consumption. Start small.  Try to consume only one meal a day with meat.  Then ramp it up from there.
  42. Refuse and reuse before recycling. 
  43. Repair items when they break. 
  44. Repair shoes at least once before buying new ones. 
  45. Reuse old bread bags as produce bags.  They're super strong and keep your fruit and vegetables extra crisp in the fridge.  
  46. Reuse/refill all your liquid soap containers.  Or use bar soap instead. 
  47. Re-wear clothes until they’re stinky/dirty instead of just one wear before washing.
  48. Say no thanks to flyers on the street.
  49. Spend your dollars supporting companies that are environmentally and socially responsible. 
  50. Start a compost. Learn how here.   
  51. Support businesses that will let you return plastic.  Like nurseries that reuse the planting pots.  
  52. Take your old mobiles, batteries, hard drives etc to Officeworks for recycling.
  53. Think about buying second-hand first, when you need something you don't have.
  54. Turn your hot water temperature down, and take shorter showers.  
  55. Upgrade to loose-leaf tea in a reusable strainer. 
  56. Use coral-friendly sunscreen to help stop the coral bleaching.
  57. Use reusable face pads instead of disposable ones. 
  58. Use tea towels and homemade rags instead of paper towels.  
  59. Use the clothesline instead of the dryer.  Or buy a clothes rack if you live in an apartment. 
  60. Use the food in your fridge before buying more. 
  61. Vote for politicians with sustainability and climate change policies. 
  62. Wait until the dishwasher is full to run it and turn of the heat/drying setting.  
  63. Walk instead of drive if it’s less than 30 minutes. Then sell your car and join a car-share service if you end up walking everywhere.  
  64. Wash your clothes in cold water.
  65. When the time comes for new lunch containers, invest in stainless steel.  They’ll last forever. 
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