13 practical tips for a more sustainable household

You’ve just done your spring clean and you’re feeling guilty about the amount of waste that’s piled up over the last year, or you’ve just received your electricity bill and it’s higher that you’d like. Hold that thought and turn that guilt into action. Now is the time to make a few small changes to ensure that next year is a different story.

 Making your household greener helps the environment, saves you money, makes you healthier (and happier!) and is easier that you might think. Below is a range of practical tips to help you on your way to a greener future. 

1.     Separate your recyclables and recycle them!

2.     Install and use water efficient toilets, showerheads and faucets.

3.     Really think before you make a new purchase, instead buy second hand. Most things can be found at your local op-shop, on gumtree, or eBay. If you need to buy something new, buy better quality so it lasts longer.  

4.     Buy toiletries in bulk, or make your own (this might be a bit extreme for some). We like the Sukin 1kg bottles, found here.  

5.     Make your own cleaning products. This is a great way to minimise cost, waste and make a non-toxic product that you can trust. Here is a good list of recipes.

6.     Use reusable grocery bags when shopping, and buy in bulk when possible. Most cities will have a Food Co-op handy; in Canberra we have The ANU Food Co-op

 7.     Stop using paper towels. Instead use cloths or old rags for cleaning and wash them between uses.

8.     Line dry clothes instead of using a clothes dryer.

9.     Eat less meat, and buy meat that has been produced from animals that have been treated humanely. A good option in Canberra is Boxgum Grazing

10.  Learn how to cook. You will stop having to rely on heavily processed and packaged foods, or takeaway options, and your health, happiness and wallet will benefit. Cooking a nice meal for someone special is also a definite plus. 

11.  Stop buying bottled water. Use a stainless steel water bottle and reuse it. Hopefully you’re already doing this one!

12.  Walk, ride or catch the bus. Do you really need to drive to the local shops for a few groceries? Instead get some fresh air and exercise, and walk or ride.

13. Turn off switches at the power points when they are not in use. This is a very easy and effective way to cut down your electricity bill.

Hopefully you can implement some (or all!) of these tips, and here's to a happy, healthy and more sustainable New Year.