7 ways to live ‘green’ in 2019

How many of you have made new years resolutions this year? I am sure that most of these resolutions revolved around weight, fitness, money, and all kinds of healthy habits to develop for the new year. Now that January has passed let’s look back at those resolutions and try to extend our positive attitudes a little further beyond ourselves and think more globally about how we can also take care of our mother earth. I can say that so far I have heard of loads of people who have started recycling thanks to the governments new waste ‘sort it out’ scheme but there is actually much more for us to think about. And even if it can be intimidating to think about discarding traditionally toxic products or making significant lifestyle changes to be more environmentally friendly. But keep in mind even small changes can eventually add up and make a difference.

  1. Clean green

Discard the cleaning products containing loads of chemicals that make it difficult even for you to breathe while cleaning with greener products. Doing this will not only prevent toxins from seeping into our water table but will also keep them out of your home, your lungs and away from your skin! So many chemicals in traditional cleaning products contain acids and bleaches or formaldehyde. Think about it – do you want those chemicals all around your house? Especially for those of you who have young children and pets who spend a lot of time crawling and putting everything they find into their mouth. You can even decide to save money and make your cleaning products using vinegar, lemon, baking soda and essential oils.

Examples of green cleaning products

2. Get yourself Re-usable bags

Plastic bags take a toll on the environment. Whenever you go out shopping and use a plastic bag, you are unknowingly contributing to the amount of plastic damaging our planet.

For the fashion conscious amongst us reusable bags come in a full range of sizes, prints and patterns, and can be crafted from numerous materials and fabrics. Sturdy and stylish, reusable bags can even be fashion accessories if you want to show off your ecological conscience when you’re out. Some big-name designers are now offering reusable tote bags and handbags made from sustainable or recycled materials as part of their fashion collections.

Studies are suggesting that purchasing a single set of 6 – 8 reusable shopping bags and using these same bags every time you go to the market could reduce the disposal of as many as 20,000 plastic bags. If you get quality cloth shopping bags, you’ll be able to reuse them for years to come.

Making plastic shopping bags requires the burning of fossil fuels, the cutting down of trees and, in some cases, the use of unfair labour practices. This also holds for reusable veggie bags – I recently purchased to sets from Veco, and I use them every time I go shopping for fruit and veggies.

Examples of daily household waste

3. Recycle your electronics

I am sure that over Christmas many of us got a new electronic gift perhaps a mobile phone, laptop, camera or drone, go the extra mile to think about how to responsibly dispose of your older tech toys. E-waste is becoming a greater issue as toxins from our outdated technology can seep into the earth if disposed of improperly. Check with your local council about recycling programs, or donate your device to a worthy cause if it is still working.

4. Reduce Food Waste

Studies have shown that almost one-third of all food produced is wasted. That comes to approximately 1.3 billion tons of discarded food every year. Throwing away edible food isn’t just a waste of money. This food eventually ends up in landfills, where it produces methane gas due to the rotting process, which is the second most common greenhouse gas. In other words, throwing out your food contributes to climate change.

  • Shopping smart will not only be beneficial on your household finances, but it will also help reduce climate change and reduce the size of our landfills. We often have the habit of buying in bulk as we think it will be more economical but in reality, if you make a list and buy what you need only you will be reducing the amount of food you waste significantly.
  • Make sure you learn how to store your fruit, vegetables and dairies well as improper storage often leads to food going bad quicker.
  • Preserve foods by picking, drying or canning when they are in season and cheaper that way you these can be enjoyed for much longer.
  • Use and repurpose your leftovers into other recipes.
  • Blend things like stems, overripe fruits and vegetable peels into soups and smoothies.
  • Make homemade stock from leftover bones, chicken carcasses or vegetable scraps.
  • Use coffee grounds as fertiliser for your plants.

There are endless ways you can reduce, reuse and recycle your food waste I believe these tips will help you waste less food, and also save you some money.

5. Replace your bulbs with LED bulbs

These not only last longer, but they also spend a lot less electricity than the regular ones. LED bulbs can reduce your carbon footprint while saving your money.

6. Find better food storage alternatives

When deciding what containers you will purchase to store your food in, think: what is the most permanent option for my kitchen? You ideally want storage devices that will last indefinitely, and not need to be thrown out or recycled. Glass containers don’t leak chemicals the same way plastics do. You’ll also be sure to wash and re-use them instead of disposable plastic containers or even Tupperware that sometimes end up in the trash.

If you really want to take this seriously you can also use non-plastic alternatives like wax wrappers, and new packing alternatives to take lunch or store things in the fridge. You’re already bringing a lunch tote to work instead of a paper or plastic bag, right?

7. Eat Less Meat.

Eat less meat – be sustainable

choosing meatless days like meatless Mondays and cutting back on your consumption of meat can make a huge difference to the environment. More than 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface is being used to raise and support livestock. According to a United Nations study, “the livestock sector accounts for 9 per cent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 per cent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2.” Cutting back on meat consumption is an important step in reducing the overall emissions we produce. Less livestock also means more land we can enjoy and use for recreation. Consider replacing some of your meat-heavy meals with vegetables or eating more seafood!

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