How to Be a Greenier Human & Save Money Doing It!
Climate change is often in the news these days – and with good reason. U.N. scientists have said we only have 12 years left to change our ways before climate calamity. Yet with an issue as huge and complex as global warming. It’s difficult to comprehend how the individual actions of one person could solve the problem (or that it’s even our responsibility, given 71% of carbon emissions are from corporations). So, how can we do our best to be a greenier human?
While sure, remembering to toss your empty plastic bottle into the recycling bin isn’t going save the world, your actions do still matter. Especially since Australian households currently, contribute around 12% to carbon emissions. Everyone is going to have to make changes if we’re going to keep the world from warming 2ºC over pre-industrial levels.
Of course, not everyone has the finances or accessibility to be able to make the necessary big-scale changes. But, despite what you may think, buying electric cars and installing solar panels aren’t the only solutions. Nifty looks at five carbon-saving initiatives that won’t hurt your pockets but instead help you to save money:
1. Eat Less Meat, More Regularly
Want to be a greenier human? Chances are, you’ve heard this one before. Unfortunately for meat lovers, cutting out beef is pretty much the number one thing you can do to help the planet as an individual. The environmental impact of cattle farming is vast and well documented. By itself, a hamburger requires almost 2,500 litres of water to produce. That’s quite a lot for such a small outcome. While eliminating all meat from your diet would have the most impact overall, quitting cold turkey may be a lofty goal for you. In Australia, meat is a staple of most meals. For some, this lack of juicy protein may leave you feeling unsatisfied.
Thankfully, there are plenty of tasty protein alternatives on the market today that can leave you feeling more content after a meatless meal. Plus, if you’re looking to make a difference you don’t have to give up meat overall. You can simply adjust your everyday eating habits. Ultimately, reducing the amount of meat your consume will also save you on your grocery bills. Meat is typically the most expensive item on the shopping list. So, why not give it a shot?
Our Top Tips
- To get you started on your journey to eating less meat. Here are some methods you may like to try:
- Substitute Chicken – chicken has the lowest carbon footprint of traditional meats. So, substituting it for red meat is a good place to start.
- Meatless Mondays – the non-profit health initiative has been successful worldwide for a reason. Going meatless one day a week is a great way to improve your health as well as the planets.
- Go Flexitarian – if you really want to make an impact, a flexitarian diet has been heralded by scientists as the best way to feed the planet without destroying it.
2. Rethink Your Kitchen Mainstays
Your kitchen is the epicentre for all the waste in your home. From food scraps to cleaning products to food packaging, it’s difficult to avoid adding to the rubbish bin when you’re using the kitchen. Yet while plastic product packaging and disposable wraps may seem inescapable, there are some relatively easy things you can do to minimise your waste. Thanks to the multitude of new sustainable brands out there, we are now spoilt for new creative ways to store and dispose of our food – without breaking the bank! Want to be a greenier human? Have a look at these tips.
Where to Start
Aside from the obvious solutions, like ditching coffee pods altogether and taking cotton reusable bags whenever you go out to the store, Nifty suggests taking up the following initiatives to minimise kitchen waste:
- Take reusable produce bags to the grocery store – stop using the plastic produce bags at the supermarket. Invest in some reusable ones to take with you instead. There are tonnes of sustainable brands offering a range of affordable sizes & styles.
- Use fewer paper towels – they’re pretty eco-unfriendly and you can use reusable cloth napkins for the same purposes!
- Stop buying single-use wraps – cling wrap or alfoil are super handy for storing food but terrible at breaking down quickly in landfill. Invest in some beeswax wrap and other reusable coverings to help reduce your reliance on single-use wraps.
- Purchase biodegradable trash bags – help speed up the process of your trash decomposition in landfill by buying biodegradable trash bag brands. These days, they aren’t much more expensive than their cheap, plastic counterparts and are readily available in most supermarkets.
3. Be Prepared for Eating on the Go
Australians love eating out – restaurants, pubs, clubs, and fast food outlets have never been more popular. In 2017, Australians said they ate out an average of two to three times a week. That’s over 50 million meals a week! That said, the waste created from all these meals definitely adds up. Between food wrappers, plastic takeaway containers, bags, straws, plastic cutlery, bottles, napkins and more – it’s difficult to avoid. You could have a drink at a bar that uses a plastic straw or a meal at a restaurant with a throw-away napkin. Waste accumulates almost too easily!
Fortunately, we’re living in a time where there are now a wealth of ethical and sustainable alternatives for eating on the go. From metal straws to glass water bottles to bamboo cutlery. You can now stock up on everything you could need to enjoy a meal when you’re out and about. Some establishments are even starting to provide these alternatives to reduce their own environmental impact. Now you’re on the way to becoming a greenier human!
What to Bring
Here are some key items we recommend you pack before you head out for the day:
4. Opt for Second-Hand Clothes
In recent years, we’ve become accustomed to poorly made synthetic clothing and fast-fashion. Sometimes, it’s just too easy and too cheap to pass up! As the world’s second-largest consumers of textiles, Australians buy 27 kg of new clothing and textiles a year on average. Of this, 23kg is discarded into landfill, contributing around six tonnes to Australian landfills every 10 minutes. Now, with the Chinese recycling ban throwing Australia into a waste management crisis, there has never been a more crucial time to start rethinking your wardrobe.
The good news is, there’s a bunch of ways you can reduce your clothing footprint, save money and even potentially make it! Donating, selling, swapping, and buying second-hand or pre-loved clothes is the way of the future.
If the idea of a thrift store, with its racks on racks of eclectic items, has always seemed daunting to you – don’t be discouraged. There are tonnes of sites and apps available now that make the process easier than ever. Here are some of our favourites to get you started
- Etsy – Full to the brim of handmade and vintage items from both local and international sellers, you can buy and sell second-hand clothes easily from this super friendly site. You can even download the app on your smartphone for extra shopping convenience.
- Carousell – ‘Sell in a snap, buy with a chat.’ With a super user-friendly interface, the Carousel app is a great choice for selling and buying clothes locally with excellent location filters. You can also buy/sell a whole range of other items!
- Depop – This trendy UK app is new to the Aussie second-hand scene but has already managed to build up a good variety of buyers and sellers. Similar to Carousel, this app is super easy to set up and use. If you’re looking for cute, unique pieces Depop is a must.
- SWOP – With stores in Brisbane, Melbourne & Sydney, this Aussie business buys and sells second-hand clothes online AND in-store. Check them out if you want to take the hassle out of selling your own clothes or pick-up some trendy new vintage pieces.
5. Change Up Your Laundry Habits
Doing your laundry is a necessary part of modern life, but as handy as these machines maybe they are some of the biggest consumers of water and energy in our homes. While there are increasingly more energy-saving and environmentally conscious models of washing and drying machines available on the market, not all of us can afford to make the upgrade. Fortunately, there are two simple yet super effective ways to help you’re save money on water and reduce your impact on the environment:
Keep it Cool
Believe it or not, washing your laundry loads in cold water is a great way to save energy. The process of heating water accounts for almost 90% of the energy consumed by a washing machine. Thanks to new detergents and your washing machine’s rotation, you can still remove stains without the heat.
Clothes dryers are notorious for their high energy consumption. In Australia, we’re fortunate to be blessed with some of the nicest warm weather on the planet. So, it only makes sense that we make the most of it! Save yourself the expense and benefit the environment by utilising the sun to dry your clothes whenever possible.
If you live in an apartment or it’s raining, try drying your clothes in a bright, airy spot indoors or make sure to use your dryer for only small loads and short periods of time (pro tip: the more room in your dryer, the faster your clothes will dry).
More Tips From Jacaranda
Found this information handy? For more helpful money and lifestyle tips, check out the Jacaranda blog!
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