Sustainability. It’s a word we’ve been hearing more and more in the past few years.
As we continue to see and feel the effects of unsustainable practices on our environment, many people are now looking for ways to live a more ethical and sustainable life.
For some, this includes rethinking how we buy and purchase. A recent study by Pew Research Center found that “climate change is seen as the top threat in 13 of 26 surveyed countries, more than any other issue the survey asked about”.
Here at Nash + Banks, we believe that small actions can lead to big change. Leading a sustainable life doesn’t require you to head out into the bush and live off the land. Even minor adjustments to your buying patterns and behaviours can have a huge impact on our environment.
Reduce your energy usage
All energy sources have an impact on the planet, but sources like oil, coal, and natural gas are significantly more harmful than renewables like water, wind and solar. Simple ways to conserve energy in your household can include:
- Installing energy-efficient appliances
- Hanging your clothes on the line instead of using the dryer
- Setting your heating lower in winter (or foregoing it completely) and snuggling up instead
Watch your water
With much of Australia currently under drought restrictions, it’s more important than ever to look at how we can conserve our household water use. The government has already implemented practices like only watering your garden before 10 am or after 4 pm, only washing cars with a bucket (rather than a hose), and avoiding hosing on hard surfaces, but there are lots more you can do as well.
- Install water-efficient or dual flush toilets
- Switch to water-saving showerheads
- Add aerators to your sink faucets
- Fill your home and garden with drought-tolerant plants that don’t need a lot of water to thrive
Living sustainably doesn’t mean that you need to stop buying altogether. Let’s be honest - buying products from shops is an inevitable part of living in modern society, and living off the grid simply isn’t achievable these days. That said, shopping sustainably can be easy with a few little alterations - you’ll also find that the quality of goods you buy will be much better!
- Buy your fresh fruit and vegetables in bulk at local farmers’ markets
- Bring your own coffee cup when getting your java fix
- Choose paper over plastic when wrapping your produce
- Bring your own containers when buying food at the deli
- Choose to buy from companies with transparent, ethical and sustainable practices
- Remember to bring reusable bags when grocery shopping and ditch the plastic
Ditch the plastic
While we’re on the topic of plastics, on average, “Australians use 130 kg of plastic per person each year. Only 12% of that's recycled, which means that up to 130,000 tonnes of plastic will find its way into our waterways and into the ocean.” The good news is that although it sounds daunting, there’s plenty you can do to reduce your use of single-use plastics.
- Say no to straw - drink from the cup or choose metal straws instead!
- Stop buying bottled water
- For products you use regularly like deodorant, go with a refillable option
- Alternatively, choose products made of materials that will break down more easily, like bamboo toothbrushes and cotton buds
Dress for success
Aside from oil, the fashion industry is actually the world’s biggest polluter, with 85% of textiles heading to the dump every year. In particular, fast fashion is responsible for 5% of global emissions, 20% of global wastewater, and contributes to a mentality that sees us purchase clothes online with a click of a button. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of forward-thinking fashion brands that are radically changing their practices, and leading the way for sustainable fashion.
You can also:
- Buy second-hand clothes where possible
- Reduce how often you wash your clothes (it’ll make them last longer)
- Pay it forward and donate clothes you no longer wear
- Invest in high-quality clothes designed to last longer
- Support environmentally-conscious brands
The fact is that living sustainably doesn’t need to involve a huge rewrite of the way you currently live. What’s more, it is possible to live an environmentally-conscious life and look damn good while doing it too!
Whether you switch to reusable deodorant, buy a set of metal straws, or fill your backyard with Australian natives, there are plenty of little changes you can make to your life that will have a significant impact.