After the devastating bushfires of 2019 and 2020, Australians have the environment on their minds. Eco-anxiety is a real issue and many people reported feeling intensely stressed by the smoke the fires and their links to climate change.
In the northern suburbs of Sydney, some fires came too close for comfort. If you are feeling depressed because of the fires, or even if you’re not, one of the best things you can do is take action and make changes at home. Just like taking reusable bags to the supermarket, these changes will quickly become habits.
Many people feel like if they can’t be perfect planet citizens they may as well not bother but the reality is we don’t need a few people doing a spot-on job, we simply need everyone to try their best and make small changes that add up to big effects.
So how can you be more sustainable? Start today with all or some of the following changes:
1. Product (re)placement
Many everyday items have a negative impact on the planet. Sustainable switches include buying bamboo toilet paper, replacing your old light bulbs with energy-efficient LED models and using reusable lunch boxes instead of Gladwrap.
Several outlets across the north shore now allow you to bring a bottle for top ups. Set yourself a challenge and see if you can keep a shampoo or dishwashing liquid bottle for an entire year by refilling it instead of buying new.
2. Tackle your transport
Bikes and e-bikes make up 6 per cent of miles traveled in world cities. If by 2050, bikes and e-bikes make up 14 per cent of travel in world cities, there would be an overall 11 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.
e-bikes make life easy because they require no extra effort as you pedal uphill. This is a Godsend in hilly Sydney. For a small investment, bikes like this are a great way to get fit and avoid injury. You will also save on petrol and parking expenses.
Then there is the bus and train. Even catching them once or twice a week instead of using a car can make a difference to our planet.
If you do have to drive, consider offsetting your vehicle. Organisations like GreenFleet offer this for individuals and businesses.
3. Don’t be a water waster
The east coast low in February 2020 took the pressure off Sydney dams but we still have to be water-wise. Stick to short showers, water the garden only early in the morning or after the sun has set and don’t spend forever hosing down your car to get it clean.
When you wash dishes by hand, use a planet-friendly detergent and save the water so you can re-use it in the garden.
4. Be clean when you clean
Try using non-toxic products like bi-carb soda and vinegar for cleaning or seek out earth-friendly options at your supermarket. Avoid bleach, reduce the amount of washing powder in your washing machine (your clothes don’t need as much as you think) and hang your washing on the line (if you have one) instead of using the clothes dryer every time.
For a scented, all-purpose cleaner, try using:
One part white vinegar
One part water
5. In the kitchen
Did you ever consider growing your own food? Things like cherry tomatoes and herbs spring out of the ground with ease and take little effort to cultivate.
When it comes to a sustainable life, avoiding food packaging where possible is key. Buy fresh from local suppliers or farmers markets and bring your own jars and containers to bring food home. You can also visit a store like Scoop to buy in bulk without all the packaging.
6. Don’t add to the waste
Shop sensibly to avoid food waste. A service like Hello Fresh or Marley Spoon might help in this area. If you have a large back yard, you could add a few chickens to take care of scraps and also provide eggs. Worm farms or outdoor composts are other good ideas to reduce waste.
Finally, try to go vegetarian a couple of times per week. Meat has a high carbon footprint so minimise your consumption where possible.
7. Reduce, reuse, recycle
Whatever you can do to reduce your contribution to landfill makes a difference so buy second-hand, find a buyer or donate the toys and childrens clothes you don’t need, borrow tools from your neighbour and look for sustainable fashion that can be worn for more than a season.
As mentioned, small changes turn into habits. If your entire street or, better yet, your suburb commits to becoming more planet friendly, each little difference will add up to significant ones.
Need help with a North Shore property sale?
McConnell Bourn, an independent agency working across four offices, has proudly represented clients selling and managing homes across Sydney’s North Shore for the past 20 years.
Find out more about what we can do for you by calling 02 9496 2777 or emailing email@example.com