Sure, saying no to luxury overseas holidays, a new car or that lovely lounge you saw on Instagram can have a big, positive impact on the planet. But there are also lots of small, everyday things we can do to help reduce our carbon footprints.
Here are 5 areas with easy, every-day swaps that will help reduce your impact and help you live a lower-carbon lifestyle.
1. Try the Refuse Reduce Recycle rule
What better time to start a new routine than a new year?
The rule is pretty simple but it does require some discipline. In a nutshell, use what you already have for as long as you can, then...
- Refuse - anything new that comes packaged
- Reuse - any packaging you already have (jars, bottles etc - just bring these to gram and refill them).
- Recycle - anything that can be recycled that you've reused so much that it's broken or unusable.
It's also a great time to brush-up on your local council's recycling rules. Did you know that in Melbourne for example, since late 2020 Tetra Packs (milk & juice cartons) can no longer be recycled?
2. Do it how your grandma did it
That means hanging your drying out instead of using the dryer. Walk if you can. Buy seasonal produce, in the quantity you need, in plastic-free containers from your local market and bulk food stores like Gram. Grow your own vegetables and compost your leftovers. Repair things instead of replacing them and borrowing items like tools or equipment that you only use sporadically. Doing it how your grandparents did it is an easy swap to improve your carbon foot print in 2021.
3. Look To The Stars
Just like Gran, use what you have until it breaks and is no longer cost effective to fix or repair. But when you do eventually need a new appliance, look for the star rating. The more stars, the better the efficiency.
Before you head to the shops, commit to buying the best rated appliance you can afford over the bells and whistles the salesman gives you. Also, buy for longevity. An appliance that you'll keep for the next 10-15 years will have a smaller footprint than two or three appliances over the same period.
Using a reverse-cycle air conditioner in winter is also more efficient than using traditional convection heaters. But it's the opposite for the cooling function in summer, so go without it if you can.
4. Switch to Green Power
If we choose to use gadgets that make our lives more convenient, maybe the best thing we can (or should) do is choose to power them with planet-loving green power. Instead of burning fossil fuels to generate power, green power is made from renewable resources like sun, water and wind.
If your current provider doesn't offer the option of green power, switch to one that does and tell your old provider why you changed. Some providers now offer green power for no additional cost. While newer providers (check-out Amber Electric) offer renewable power for less.
5. Reduce your water use
While it won't reduce your carbon footprint, it is good for the planet and its resources. Take shorter showers, repair leaking taps and install water-efficient taps.
These are 5 easy swaps to improve your carbon footprint in 2021.
2021 is about enjoying the little things that we took for granted for a long time. It is not about being perfect but about trying every day our best by doing little changes in our routine to reduce our impact. This year, to improve our carbon footprint we can try to do things how our grandma did it.
Photo by Heather McKean