You might have read our recent blog post: Introducing Glo-Green, our 100% carbon-offset product.
Whether that piqued your interest or not, we thought it was a good opportunity to talk a bit more about living a greener life.
As you probably know, green has become more than a colour. It’s come to represent our natural environment and our ever-growing consciousness of how we can better respect and preserve it.
It’s undeniable that we depend on our environment for practically everything, from the air we breathe to the water we drink and the food we eat.
So, living our lives in a sustainable way is as simple as ensuring that our activities – both as individuals and as a society – are mindful of the limits to those planetary resources.
It starts with awareness
Most of us probably have no idea how much our day-to-day activities impact the environment.
The good thing is that you don’t need to know that if you’re prepared to acknowledge that you are having an impact and there’s every chance you can reduce it with some small steps.
If we’re conscious of what we’re doing – in other words we don’t go about our lives as if it doesn’t matter and we don’t care – we can all make a difference.
For example, our governments have recently done something significant in banning single-use plastic bags. Plastic straws are also being phased out worldwide.
Most local councils have been providing different bins for recycling – green for garden waste and food scraps, yellow for cardboard, hard plastics, and glass – for many years.
Some have introduced a new purple bin just for glass, to separate that from the other recyclables in the yellow bin.
What are the keys to being green?
At a personal level, here are four key things to keep in mind:
Reduce waste – things like carrying a refillable water bottle and coffee cup, rather than buying and throwing away a single-use one every time you need a drink, and not throwing out things that can be re-used or ‘upcycled’.
Reduce resource and energy use – don’t leave a tap running, don’t pre-rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, buy energy-efficient appliances, don’t overuse heating or air-conditioning, ensure you have good insulation, etc.
Reduce pollution – regular servicing of your car can make a difference (and even keeping your tyres properly inflated), as can catching the train for longer trips (even if you drive to and from the station), and don’t drive a short distance if you can walk.
Consume sustainably – don’t buy things you don’t need and sell the things you don’t need any more that someone else would value (on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or Gumtree) or give them to Savers, and buy second-hand items when you don’t need brand new things.
You can go further
Some people are taking further steps and it’s likely that, over time, it will be even easier for everyone to live more sustainably.
Part of the ‘movement’ will happen through the usual economic means: as environmentally friendly products and businesses become more popular and more cost-competitive, they will start to catch up to and then overtake their competitors.
Eventually, businesses that don’t value sustainability will be in the minority and will, themselves, struggle to remain viable.
If you’re so inclined, it’s already becoming easier to find products that have been certified as organic, eco-friendly, and/or fair trade.
You may already be using recycled paper and products made from recycled plastic.
Another thing more people are doing is buying non-perishable products in bulk. Not only is it cheaper, but it also reduces packaging waste and pollution from additional transport.
Meanwhile, if you have a garden, it takes next to no effort to collect your food scraps in a small bin in your kitchen and use them to create compost to help your garden grow.
And it shouldn’t take a drought to think about doing what people already do in places where fresh water is scarce: redirecting the water going down your sink or shower drain to water the garden.
Technology is making a greener life easier
There are many ways we use technology to make our lives easier and sometimes that also makes what we do more environmentally friendly.
For example, shopping online means you’re not driving to and from the shops (we’re assuming the delivery driver isn’t making a single, special trip to your place to deliver your item) and the products you just purchased didn’t have to be transported to a local store (we’re assuming they’re coming from a central warehouse).
Even if you just use the internet to find where an item you want to buy is in stock and/or use click-and-collect, it’s likely that you’re doing less driving around than if you were just going from shopping centre to shopping centre. Not to mention you’re more likely to find something closer to home if you do search online.
If you live in the inner suburbs, you might find it easier, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly not to own your own car. There are several car-sharing services and sites that connect you to people who rent out their own private vehicles by the hour.
Not to mention that you can so easily research whether a product that you use regularly has a more sustainable alternative. The bonus is that those products can sometimes be more efficient and therefore save you money in the long run.
It’s well worth a Google search – even if that takes you down a rabbit hole that consumes several hours of your day. It really is a case of knowledge is power.
Reducing your energy consumption
Last but by no means least, we’re extremely mindful that nobody wants to use more gas or electricity than they need … if only because we all want our bills to be lower.
That’s one of the reasons we’ve written several blog posts over the past few years outlining energy saving tips.
We think this post from a few months ago is a good one to read (or re-read): Something your kids can learn about at home: saving energy.
We mentioned some fairly simple things above: buy energy-efficient appliances, don’t overuse heating or air-conditioning, and ensure you have good insulation.
Technology is also our friend in the home. There are several apps that allow you to monitor and manage your home energy usage, as well as energy-efficient lighting, smart power strips, and smart thermostats.
Any way you can reduce your energy consumption – and, with that, your energy bills – is something we encourage.
And we encourage you to check out Glo-Green, our 100% carbon-offset product.