1. Buy second-hand
Buying or renting second-hand clothing extends the lives of millions of products that would otherwise have gone into the landfill. You can save money (and earn it too) from reselling your clothes.
The same applies to repairing your clothing; extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months can reduce carbon, waste, and water footprints for each item by around 20 – 30% each. You can do this for second-hand furniture too, which is becoming increasingly popular.
Driving your car less (unless it’s electric) and opting for public transport has a significant impact on your carbon footprint. Vehicles account for 10% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The National Transport Commission estimates that if Australian consumers purchased vehicles with best in class emissions, national average CO2 emissions for new vehicles would drop by more than 50%. Better still, electric vehicles produce no harmful emissions when you drive.
A bicycle is another great cost-effective means of transport. Bikes are cheaper than purchasing a vehicle and use much less energy for their production. Using a bicycle for transport means you'll also save on fuel and parking costs.
3. Fly less
Flying is a very carbon intensive activity. A return economy flight from London to Hong Kong adds 3.5 tonnes of CO2 to a personal carbon footprint.
Instead of jetting overseas, consider holidaying closer to home. It has a positive impact and leads to a considerable reduction in the emissions from your trip. An added benefit is how much more affordable a local holiday can be in comparison to a trip abroad.
4. Eat a plant based diet
Farming animals for meat and dairy has a huge impact on deforestation, erosion, water pollution, and climate change.
Changing to a plant-based diet, or even going vegan, cuts your food-related carbon emissions by 70%, can save you money and there are lots of health benefits.
In 2019, the diet of nearly 2.5 million Australians (12.1% of the population) was all, or almost all, vegetarian.
Where do I begin?
Start by going meat-free 1-2 days a week. You can find easy plant-based recipes online and most supermarkets have delicious vegan alternatives, including meats, yoghurts, milk, and cheeses.
5. Reuse and recycle
Australia generated 76 million tonnes of waste in 2020 and households were responsible for 12.4 million tonnes, that's a lot of stuff just thrown away.
Recycling cuts the amount of waste sent to landfills, reduces emissions and prevents pollution and damage to ecosystems from sourcing new raw materials.
Where possible, avoid packaging, try to buy products with recyclable packaging, and reuse as much as you can.
Each Australian household throws away an average of 6.4 million tonnes of edible food in a year. All that food goes to landfill, which then slowly decomposes and releases harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. By composting, you can help reduce food waste, and nurture your garden. Composting improves the soil, locks in moisture, and nourishes your plants.