If you think that the fact that you’re renting your house or apartment means that you’re powerless to make changes to your home to reduce your environmental impact – think again!
1. Energy Usage
Learn how much energy you are actually using. On average, each Australian is responsible for 28.6 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, one of the highest per person rates in the world. Start with determining how much energy your household is using by looking at your power bill or by using a simple power meter.
Turn off your appliances at the wall when you are not using them, hand wash dishes, line dry clothes and purchase energy efficient appliances.
It may be more convenient (and cheaper) to buy frozen, canned and imported goods but these sorts of foods are rife with food miles, carbon emissions, preservatives and pesticides. Head on down to your local farmers market or the organic section in your supermarket. You’ll find that the food tastes better and lasts much longer. Your body and your environment will thank you for it.
More than ¼ of the food we purchase ends up in landfill. For those without a garden – try a Bokashi Bin. This is an odourless, indoor composter that will ferment all of your kitchen waste.
Also, use 100% biodegradable cornstarch garbage bags so your waste breaks down quicker in landfill.
4. Water Usage
Limit your showers to 4 minutes with a Shower Timer, use flush and flow restrictors and try a Hughie Sink that captures the water that would otherwise go down the drain while washing dishes or vegetables etc.
Upcycling is a great way to recreate, rebirth and relive some of your oldest treasures. Get creative and upcycle those vintage finds for Christmas presents or birthday gifts.
6. Body and Hair
There are a number of products that are certified organic and even better, made in Australia. Certified organic products won’t harm your body and those nasty chemicals won’t leach into the environment. Try organic deodorants, shampoos and conditioners to get started.
Plant-based cleaning products are highly biodegradable and contain earth safe ingredients from sustainable resources. They contain no toxic petrochemicals, no nitrates or phosphates, synthetic dyes or perfumes, are highly economical and will reduce your exposure to unhealthy chemicals.
Replacement LED downlights save up to 90 percent in energy and reduce the lighting component in your electricity bill significantly. They look just as smart and can pay for themselves in as little as 6 months.
9. Solar Gadgets
We have the world’s most abundant energy source right at our finger tips and there are some nifty little gadgets that utilise this power and make your life easier as well. The Solio is a portable solar charger that can charge your phone, iPod and other handheld devices and will replace your wall chargers in an instant.
10. Make money from the sun!
The government’s new Solar Power Feed-In Tariff means you actually get paid by the government for any solar power that your system generates. This means you not only pay off your system quickly, but can stand to actually make money over time! You will also protect yourself against predicted dramatic increases in electricity.