25 effortless ways to reduce your carbon footprint
From your house and garden to your shopping cart, these sustainable living tips make it easy to reduce your impact on the planet.
The climate crisis can feel overwhelming at times, but making a difference doesn’t have to be difficult.
Sustainability coach and environmental engineer Laura Trotta says we all have a role to play when it comes to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming.
“Fortunately, many actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint are really easy.”
Here are 25 of the best hassle-free hacks that have a huge impact,” Laura says.
Around the home
Dial down climate control
Every extra degree of heating or cooling increases energy consumption by a whopping 5-10 per cent, so set your thermostat to 18-20C in winter and 25-27C in summer.
Save water by fixing leaky taps, using low-flow faucets and adopting water-saving habits. Laura says taking shorter showers is a powerful way to reduce water consumption.
Australians create about 540kg of household waste per person every year. And while we are champion recyclers, the contamination of kerbside recycling bins is still a big issue, so make sure you’re doing it right.
Switch to LEDs
Swap traditional incandescent bulbs for LED lights, which use 75 per cent less energy and last up to 10 times longer.
Mind the gap
Weatherproofing your home can drastically reduce your energy consumption in winter.
“Seal draughts, insulate, and only heat and cool rooms you’re using,” Laura says.
“Get into the habit of turning off appliances and electronics at the wall when you’re not using them,” Laura says.
At the shops
Every Australian sends an average of 23kg of clothing to landfill every year.
You can opt out of the fast-fashion cycle by supporting sustainable labels, buying second-hand and following the “four Rs” – reduce, reuse, recycle and repair.
Back mindful brands
Look for eco-friendly packaging and certifications like Fairtrade and support brands committed to reducing carbon emissions.
Ditch the plastic
Every year, about 14 million tonnes of plastics end up in the ocean. Do your bit by banning plastic from your shopping cart.
Choose eco-friendly cleaning products – or make your own – to reduce waste and the release of harmful chemicals into the environment.
“Use shopping lists and meal planning apps to better plan your meals so you waste less food,” Laura says.
On your plate
Research shows that healthy plant-based diets are much kinder to the planet, so scale back your meat and dairy consumption.
“Switch out a meat-based meal each week for a plant-based meal,” Laura says.
Local and seasonal
Transportation accounts for 19 per cent of food emissions, so buy locally grown, seasonal produce.
Make meals go further
Invest in reusable containers and stop using single-use plastic wraps and bags.
Pick your packaging
Choose beauty products with minimal or eco-friendly packaging.
Get creative and make your own natural beauty products using simple ingredients such as coconut oil, honey and aloe vera.
Make ethical choices
Use reusable applicators and zero-waste products to reduce packaging and carbon emissions.
Choose beauty products with eco-friendly and natural ingredients to lessen your environmental impact.
In the garden
Native plants require less water and are better for the local wildlife.
Plant trees around your property to absorb carbon dioxide, provide shade and support local wildlife.
Compost your kitchen scraps to reduce the amount of organic waste you send to landfill.
Install a rainwater tank to reduce your reliance on mains water and make the most of this freely available resource.
Grow your own
Food production is responsible for one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Growing your own produce will help cut back on food waste, transportation and packaging.
For more tips on green living:
- Going green: A guide to environmentally friendly period products
- Are bioplastics really better for the environment?
- Best ways to store food without wrecking the environment
- Why eco-friendly beauty is the future and how to spot genuine ‘green’ cosmetics
Written by Dimity Barber.