1. Go green when cleaning - green cleaning products don’t harm the environment or your family, and offer a fantastic alternative to those harsh chemicals many cleaning products include. Biodegradable detergents and washing powders are easily available in supermarkets. Not only do these products not have those harsh chemical smells, they do a fantastic job at keeping your home clean and fresh! You can even use products you already have in your pantry to clean your home by simply mixing white vinegar with baking soda to make your bathroom tiles shine!
2. Swap plastic for calico! Calico or hessian makes for fantastic re-useable shopping bags, a great alternative to plastic. Not only can these bags be used a number of times you can make some up yourself for a small cost and customise them to suit your style!
3. Learn to preserve! Throwing out over ripe fruits and vegies is wasteful. Preserving, pickling and jam making are all easy to do and a great way to reduce waste. A great tip is to freeze over ripe bananas and turn them into a banana cake later on!
4. Try to limit your washing. Rather than doing lots of small loads of washing do a couple of big washes per week using cold water and environmentally friendly detergent. Try to wash on sunny days and hang your clothes outside in the morning to give them the best chance to dry under the morning sun, a simple tip that will not only help the environment but your electricity bill as well!
5. Invite pollinators to your garden. We are seeing a great decrease in natural pollinators in our environment. Invite bees and butterflies to your garden by planting bright flowers and plants such as Butterfly Bushes and Lemon Balm. These plants will attract these important bugs and lemon balm is great for cooking also!
6. Swap electricity hungry TV’s for games. Once a week bring your family together to enjoy a game of Scrabble or Jenga rather than sitting in front of the box, this is great bonding time and will reduce your energy usage.
7. Green toilet paper is readily available and will decrease your environmental footprint! Use toilet paper made from recycled products to stay eco-friendly. There are many different options available and most are inexpensive.
8. Before you leave the house in the morning close up! Keeping blinds and curtains shut for the majority of the day will ensure that your house stays cooler in summer and warmer in winter. When you arrive home it will be easier to heat/cool your house and as a result you will use less energy.
9. Recycle. You’ll be surprised at just what you can reuse in your home. Wine bottles make great water jugs when you peel off the labels, or pop a rose or two in for a beautiful table decoration. Glass jars can also be refilled with sauces and jams.
10. Grow your own! It is so rewarding when you can pick your own herbs and vegies and use them to create a meal for your family and friends. Plus you’ll rest easy knowing that they’ve been grown without chemicals.
11. Make your own beauty products at home. You can make many of your own beauty products at home with materials you already have lying around the house! Using honey, avocado, fruit, oil, eggs, yogurt and other kitchen necessities you can make most of your own hair products without ever stepping foot into a beauty supply store. Some of the best face masks come out of the supplies you have in the fridge!
12. Encourage recycling at work in a fun way. It’s easy to throw paper and notes in the bin under your desk. But you should have a separate bin for scraps of paper and cans of soft drink. Make it fun for the team by having bright coloured bins. Another great idea at the office is to start a friendly competition to see who prints the most unnecessarily. Collect the paper left at the printer at the end of each day and tally it up to name and shame at the end of the week!
13. Use your own coffee tumbler or thermos. Have you noticed all the bright and colourful reusable coffee cups available to buy now? Rather than getting a cardboard coffee cup every day, buy your own reusable mug to take back and forth from home to work. It’s a great way to make your coffee stand out from all the others at your local café and ensure no-one swoops in and picks up your coffee out of turn.
14. Try Organic Linen. Buying great quality linen is the ultimate indulgence; but this doesn’t mean it has to have a negative impact on the environment. Organic linen is readily available and the quality is often much better than regular linen. Cotton is a product that gets swamped in chemicals during the growing process, organic cotton is chemical free and long lasting. Organic cotton and bamboo linen can ensure even your bedroom lives greener!
15. Go on a green holiday. It’s possible to significantly reduce your carbon footprint when travelling, consider these tips next time you jet off! Look into a home exchange, hotels use huge amounts of energy and are extremely wasteful. Alternatively, try an ecofriendly hotel. Options are popping up internationally and are a refreshing change from the big hotel chains. Go solar, solar charges are available for phones, iPods, laptops and other electrical devices and are a great way to reduce your energy usage while overseas. Finally, use public transport or bicycles when travelling, this will reduce pollution and is a great way to experience a new place!
16. Getting married? Go green! Print your invitations on organic paper, use native flowers as centre pieces to reduce carbon emissions from imported flowers. Utilise cloth napkins to reduce the waste of paper, give eco gifts to guests as bonbonniere! Keep the menu totally organic – not only will your guests be impressed but you will be helping the planet at the same time.
17. Stay informed! There are so many amazing eco products available, sign up to eco newsletters and blogs to hear about new ideas. Who knew you could purchase stones to put in your shower which flash red when it’s time to get out!
18. Take your shoes off at the door. Shoes bring dirt, pollutants and chemicals into your home; 85% of dirt in your home is carried in on shoes! Leave them at the front door to reduce how frequently you vacuum and to rid your home of harsh chemicals, a simple tip with great rewards.
19. Take back clothes hangers to the dry cleaners. 3.5 billion clothes hangers are used annually in Australia alone, decreasing this number is simple! Return hangers next time you visit the dry cleaner, they will appreciate it and so will the environment.
20. Sign up for e-bills. Reduce paper by signing up to receive your bills by email, this reduces your paperwork and in some instances will save you money on paper bill fees!
For more tips on how to live a sustainable lifestyle visit the Organic Expo & Green Show 2011. August 6-7, Hall 3, Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour. Visit www.organicexpo.com.au