Becoming more environmentally friendly is easy when you set your mind to it. Once you start looking, you’ll find plenty of interesting and imaginative ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Managing waste and reducing our impact on the environment means that we can create a healthier and more sustainable planet for everyone. The best part is that waste management and recycling not only helps others, but it can also help you save money.
Choose Environmentally Friendly Options
When it comes to making a purchase decision, always check if there is a more environmentally conscious option. Choosing an environmentally friendly company to manage your home’s waste means that it will be disposed of properly and the largest amount possible will be recycled.
Rather than relying on harmful chemicals to do a job, see if there is a natural, organic choice instead. Many domestic cleaning products can be replaced with more traditional or natural alternatives. This lowers the demand for these harmful chemicals, as well as the chance of them impacting the environment.
Use a Compost Bin
Compost bins are separate from your regular rubbish and let organic waste like plants and food scraps break down and decompose naturally. The organic material in the bin will eventually degrade into compost, which is a nutrient-rich addition for soil and can be used in your home or garden. Using your own compost bin can save you money on fertilizer and reduces the amount of unnecessary waste in landfills.
Use Less Disposable Material
Instead of using paper or post-it notes for your to-do list, consider using your phone. Similarly, viewing documents on a screen rather than printing them can reduce a lot of wasted paper. The less paper used, the less that needs to be produced and the more trees that remain standing. If you do need to use paper, consider using reclaimed and recycled alternatives.
When shopping, use a cloth bag rather than paper or plastic. You can keep it in your car so you don’t forget. Trying to use less plastic products, in general, will reduce demand on the fossil fuels required to create them. If you do have any plastic shopping bags left over, re-use them in your rubbish bin rather than throwing them out or buying others.
Reuse and Repurpose
Old items that are destined for the bin can be fixed, repaired or rebuilt for interesting new purposes.
Other items such as glass bottles and jars can be used for storage. Rather than spending money to buy plastic bottled drinking water, for example, fill up a re-usable glass bottle from the tap. If your tap water isn’t drinkable, installing a water filter is a cost-effective way to purify it to bottled-water standards.
Instead of purchasing something for a single use, consider borrowing it from a friend or family member. There are many other opportunities to borrow instead of buying, such as renting movies or borrowing a book from the library.
Buying clothes and other items second-hand is a great way to reuse them. If you have to buy new, they always aim for products which are made from recyclable materials. When getting rid of old possessions, consider selling them on or give them to a charity. Whether it’s your car, your computer or your clothes, try to keep it in good condition and when you’re done with it, pass it on for someone else to use.
Cut Your Costs
Cutting down on energy use in the home can save you a lot of money and help protect the environment. Using less electricity can be as simple as turning off lights and power sockets when they’re not needed or putting on more clothes rather than running heaters.
Gas heating for water should be used strategically, so as not to warm up twice a day when once is enough. Washing your clothes at lower temperatures can also reduce costs, as most of the energy used by a top-loader is spent on heating the water.
When your regular light bulbs fizzle out, install incandescent light bulbs which last longer and use less electricity. Swapping to a low-flow showerhead can use less water and also save you money on your water bill while cutting your daily shower time from 12 to 4 minutes can save up to 22,000 liters of water per year.
You can also save away from home by thinking about transport options. Organising a carpool to get to work can reduce the amount of fuel being used and cars on the road. You’ll even get a nice conversation with your co-workers. If your workplace is close by consider riding a bicycle to work, benefiting the environment while getting some exercise.
With a little effort and some clever thinking, it’s easy to help ourselves and the environment. Which one of these tips will you try? Let us know in the comments below.
This article was written by Daniel Defendi, who recommends Instant Waste Management in Perth for environmentally friendly waste disposal. Catch him on Google+ to discuss this piece.