Whether you're new to the movement or just starting out, every small step in the right direction matters. The changes we make now and the ones we teach our children will impact our future on this planet.
Choosing a more sustainable lifestyle doesn't have to be expensive and it doesn't have to be leaps and bounds in the first instance.
The smallest introduction of sustainable and eco-friendly products in your household does matter. Below are some steps your family can take.
1. Ditch disposable nappies for cloth
This one is obvious, with the statistics showing that each day in Australia the number of disposable nappies hitting landfill is above 3.75 million, whilst they remain to sit there for up to 500 years. An easy sustainable change for families starting out or growing, modern cloth nappies are easy, functional and beautiful to use.
2. Out with disposable wipes
This one is another huge household issue, although disposable wet wipes seem convenient and affordable, they wreak havoc on the earth, between landfill, waterways and sewer systems. Most wipes are advertised as flushable in most cases this is not the truth, most disposable wet wipes are made up of plastics that once again struggle to breakdown. Think about switching to biodegradable wipes or cloth wipes.
3. Switch out those kitchen single use packaging options
We all saw the movement from plastic bags to reusable shopping bags, a huge positive step and one that's here to stay. Although, have you as a household thought about what other single use packaging you use? Maybe you could begin by swapping from plastic sandwich bags to reusable lunch bags, what about clingwrap to beeswax wraps. These small changes are not only fantastic for the environment, but they will be better in the long run for the household budget.
4. Use reusable produce bags
We are all guilty at some point of using the plastic produce bags in the grocery store, but have you thought about how easy it could be to change to reusable produce bags. Most produce bags are made from a mesh material, although if you're a family on a budget you can even use one of our wet bags. Keep them with your shopping bags and you will never need a plastic produce bag again!
5. Replace plastic containers with glass
Do yourself and the environment a favour and make the switch from plastic to glass. In the beginning the costs associated with buying glass may appear high, however when weighed up against the constant cost of replacing plastic containers, the initial cost far outweighs. Did you also know that plastic containers over time break down into small fragments that most likely end up in your food.
6. Reuse food scraps
Food scraps are probably one of the largest household waste items. Instead of discarding food scraps, as a household you could think about repurposing your everyday food scraps, simple options are reusing in other recipes or starting a small composting system with the kids.
7. Swap disposable women's products for reusable options
As a young woman, I know the impact of the lovely once a month visit and growing up, I was aware of the stigma associated with period, I didn't know that there were other eco-friendly options to those pesky tampons and pads. A woman will use up to 12,000 disposable products in their lifetime and those products hitting landfill are taking between 500 and 800 years to breakdown. Make the easy switch to menstrual cups, period panties or reusable cloth pads. You will even find the large grocery stores have affordable options available for all budgets.
8. Rehome or repurpose unwanted items
We are all quite aware that we live in a bit of a throw away society, but creative thinking can be your friend in this instance. Think about how your unwanted items can benefit another. You can donate items such as clothing, toys and books to op shops. If an item is damaged, maybe consider how you can use it in another area of a home, for example glass jars make perfect food or craft storage containers.
9. Water Saver
For a percentage of Australian's, we have at some point experienced water restrictions, though restrictions come and go, it is so easy to add small changes to your everyday life. There are changes to be made in every area of the home! Lets start in the bathroom, aim for 4 minute showers, the best way to do this is to listen to your favourite song. In the kitchen, avoid running the tap unnecessarily, if it is needed, try catching the water in a bottle to drink later. The laundry, we are all probably guilt of selecting either auto mode or full load, if you don't have a full load, select the correct option to minimise the quantity of water used. Now for the outside, you can use a bucket to wash your car and if you do this on the lawn, you will also give your grass a little water love too.
10. Shop small local business
Opting for small local business is just an easy conscious decision that can be made as an individual or as a household. By choosing local, you are helping in reducing greenhouse emissions. Especially in these times, it is more important than ever to support Australian owned businesses. Let's keep our economy running!
Just remember all these steps do not have to happen overnight, any small changes you and your family can make is the a step forward in the right direction!