Simple daily hacks to reduce your family’s carbon footprint
Jan 13, 2020
Reducing your carbon footprint doesn’t have to cost the earth or disrupt your daily schedule.
Simple life hacks are all it takes to have a positive impact on the future of our precious planet. They needn’t require much thought or time which is great if you’re a time-poor parent.
Start with one or try them all. Trust us, doing good for the environment is addictive.
Eat nude food
Nude food refers to edibles that aren’t wrapped in unnecessary wrapping. Zero Waste SA, KESAB and Wipe Out Waste combined to produce a seven-step approach for schools and parents who want to introduce the concept to children. This includes making snacks from scratch at home and transporting them to school using re-usable containers. They also provide a series of lunchbox challenges. It’s fun for all ages.
Swap the tools you use to get through everyday life with an eco alternative. Australian brand BAMKIKI makes biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes made using sustainably sourced bamboo. Five percent of profits go to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. Meanwhile, in the dunny department, Who Gives A Crap makes 100 percent recycled toilet paper and donates half of profits to building toilets in the developing world. Back in the kitchen, beeswax wraps are growing in popularity. They’re made using natural fibres and Australian beeswax. The aim? A recyclable, washable alternative to plastic. The wraps keep food fresh for longer and look pretty to boot. Find them at local markets or online.
Keep it, just keep it
ABC television’s War On Waste series shines a light on the worrying amount of rubbish we discard every day. Disposable coffee cups are a landfill culprit and according to ABC News, Australians use more than one billion disposable coffee cups each year. One million of these end up in landfill every minute. The statistics are staggering but the answer is relatively simple. Consume your caffeine in a café where brews are served in ceramic or glass cups, or bring your own reusable option. The KeepCup Mini is great for little tackers. Head to the Responsible Cafes website for a comprehensive list of cafes who offer a discount if you bring your own mug.
Get on your bike
Give petrol the flick and tackle your daily commute using manpower. Jog, cycle, use public transport, or simply stroll your way to work. The fresh air will do your mind good, the huffing and puffing will improve your fitness, and Mother Nature benefits from your effort, too. After all, no good comes from exhaust fumes and road rage.
Create a carpool
If you simply must drive, consider car sharing or carpooling. You’ll make new friends, share the driving load and save money while you’re at it. National roadshare services like coseats.com allow you to find and offer rides across Australia. There is a women-only option available, too. Sites like Share Your Ride are also a great way to connect with willing, verified carpool options in your local area. Nationally, UberPOOL is another option. Match up with other passengers heading in the same direction, meet at one central point and it’ll cost you up to 50 percent less.
Knowing what can and can’t be recycled (and what bin to put it in) can be overwhelming. It’s tempting to pile everything in the recycling bin but according to Recycle Right, some items may contaminate the entire load. For example, did you know that clothing and fabric shouldn’t go in there? Nor should ovenproof glass or drinking glasses. Recycle Right also provides tips on whether to rinse bottles and jars before popping them in the yellow bin. The answer is yes, but do it in water left over after you wash your dishes.
According to Recycle Right, approximately 90 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from landfills are due to decomposing organic material that shouldn’t be there. Create a compost plan in your own backyard. Most local councils sell home composting bins and the kids will enjoy learning about the way food scraps add nutrients to the soil. A worm farm is another option and great for people with limited space (you can keep them indoors). The little wigglers love devouring food scraps. Then there’s your green bin. It is fine to put your garden and food scraps in there. Wrap them in newspaper or paper towel to keep the bin clean, or pile them in loose.
Grow your own
A deep sense of satisfaction comes from getting your hands dirty and growing your produce in your backyard. A little bit of effort goes a long way. For gardening inspiration head to The Diggers Club in Adelaide Botanic Garden, Heronswood, Cloudehill, St Erth or Canberra. There, you’ll find seeds, seedlings, equipment, information sessions and workshops on everything from edible garden design to caring for backyard chooks. It’s a great way for kids to connect to the earth and the food on their plate. If you don’t have the patch of land to match your green thumb dreams, consider joining a community garden.