5 ways to start your environmental sustainability journey today
Author: Sam Carey
Are you finding that you're becoming more and more aware of environmental issues, want to do your part but feeling overwhelmed about where to start?
Do not fear my friend, we have a quick and easy starter guide for you filled with simple, positive environmental actions to begin your journey towards sustainability today.
1. Reusable coffee cup
Firsts things first, literally, you wake up in the morning and all you can think about is the double-shot-of-liquid-gold latte you get from that hipster cafe on your way to work. It’s a good brew and let’s face it, we’re all addicted so we’re not going to give it up. However, if you switched the single-use takeaway cup you drink it in each time for a stylish reusable coffee cup (you may even get 50c off your next coffee with) then you’ve instantly just saved 260-700 coffee cups ending in landfill (depending on your level of addiction obviously). Talk about reducing your environmental footprint!
2. Reusable water bottle
Another daily necessity is water. Did you know that Australians are spending around half a billion dollars each year on bottled water? But tap water is...free? What if we told you you could save money, help the environment AND have a fancy new accessory that goes with your personal style? There is an ever increasing amount of great reusable water bottle brands now on the market. These companies are leading the way in terms of reducing plastic water bottles that are entering our oceans, sealife bellies or landfill by producing extremely attractive reusable options.
3. Reusable Shopping bags
Now we know that forming a habit, e.g. bringing, as opposed to forgetting, reusable shopping bags from home to the shops, may take a few weeks to crack. But trust us, once you do you will never forget to bring your own environmentally friendly bags. That means being able to completely avoid single-use plastic bags that can take around 500 years to breakdown. You can get reusable bags from most of the major supermarkets or something more trendy at many eco online shops including this one to the left from Biome. (Tip: Don’t just limit the use of these bags to the supermarket, they can also replace bags from any other retailer shops you buy from).
4. Bin System
Managing your household ‘waste’ properly plays an important role in your positive environmental impact. You may only have the one bin at the moment where everything gets thrown into, but we challenge you to set up 4 bins. Yes, you read that right, 4.
1. Compost (fruit, veg, food scraps) - these can be mixed with dry leaves and spread on your garden as a nutrient dense food for your plants - yummy.
2. Mixed recyclables (bottles, cans, hard plastic containers): Tip: Aluminum foil can only be recycled if it is rolled up into larger balls otherwise it can get lost in the process at the recycling plant. At the Planet Ark office we have an old shoe box to collect Alfoil before we place it into the mixed recyclables. Simple but genius, I know.
3. Soft plastics - collect all soft, scrunchable plastics in a separate bag and once full, take it to your local Coles where they have RedCycle recycling bins. You can read more about the great things soft plastics can be made into at Replas, RedCycle's partner.
4. Landfill - aim to have your landfill bin as the least full of all 4 bins.
As the king of storage, Ikea have great bin systems available but you can also be thrifty and reuse any old buckets or boxes you may have at home.
5. Plant a tree
One of the best things you can do for nature is help give it new life. There is a Chinese proverb that says ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now’. Planting a tree not only makes you feel good mentally, but it is one of the most positive environmental actions you can take to ensure a healthy world in the future. Make sure to take part in our National Tree Day event every July.
Do you consider yourself an intermediate-advanced environmentalist that has some other great simple tips to help beginners get started? We would love to hear them! Send us a message on facebook or tag us on Instagram.
Sam is Planet Ark's Recycled Paper Programs Manager.
- Reboot your perspective on recycling this National Recycling Week »
- Everyday Enviro with Elise - Preloved clothing as your first fashion option »
- NSW gets its own revolutionary road »
- Everyday Enviro with Elise - Ditching the glossy mags »
- Reflections on a Plastic Free July »
- Where are we with e-waste recycling? »
- Everyday Enviro with Elise - New life for old things »
- A sustainable future for fashion »
- The 'queen of green steel' launches landmark e-waste microfactory »
- How online sharing groups are building communities »
- 8 ways to green your 2018 »
- Wynyard Station's old Wooden Escalators Repurposed Into a Public Artwork »
- Fight waste and get a bargain at the Big Aussie Swap »
- Going plastic free: what does it take? »
- 14 Items You Can Recycle - But Probably Aren't (Part One) »
- Flings Save Tonnes of Paper »
- Get Crafty this Christmas »
- How to Reduce Spending and Your Eco-Footprint This Christmas »
- Soft Plastic - Scrunch and Recycle »
- Cleaning Up Confusion for National Recycling Week »
- Planet Ark Launches 100% Recycled Office Paper »
- Planet Ark Launches 100% Recycled Office Paper »
- Giving Coffee Pods Another Life »
- Post Back Your Post Packs »
- Donating Your Old Smartphone Could Change Someone's Life »
- Provide Feedback and Win One of Five Battery Chargers »
- The Rise of the Coffee Pod Machine »
- Grow a Green Thumb »
- How to Recycle Whitegoods »
- Recycle Right and Have a Cuppa »
- Toowoomba is Buzzing About Free Rechargeable Battery Recycling »
- Waste and Resource Recovery Facilities Workshops »
- A Quick Recycling Guide To 3 Tricky Items »
- Working It Out At Officeworks »
- Battery Stewardship Solutions for Australia »
- Learn From The New Wave In Innovation »
- Who Made the Top Ten Cartridge Recyclers »
- Cash For Containers In NSW - It Pays To Recycle »
- Reimagining Rubbish as a Resource »
- Fashionable Questions - Who Made Your Clothes and Where Do They End Up? »
- Four Eyes For Recycling »
- A Tablet for Your Thoughts »
- Have A Light Bulb Moment With Broken Bulbs »
- Power Tool Battery recycling creates buzz in Brisbane »
- Get Your 2016 Environment Action Planner »
- 'Tis the Season to De-Clutter »
- Drink Coffee? Take our Coffee Recycling Survey »
- Recycle Right »
- Recycle your old mobiles & help the Salvos »
- Have an Appy Christmas »
- Re-Wrap It Up »
- Celebrate Recycling at Work »
- 'Appy' Christmas gift from Planet Ark »
- Save the date! 'Waste Not, Want Not' Day is coming »
- $50,000 Rebate Open for NSW Businesses to Increase Recycling »
- What's In a Label? »
- Is it Gold For Australia? »
- Make Recycling at Work, Work »
- Let the Flings Begin »
- Recycling Role Models »
- Inspiring Performers »
- Answers to the Big Recycling Questions »
- Test Your Recycling Knowledge! »
- Getting Your Recycling Sorted »
- Advanced Waste and Resource Recovery Facilities Training Workshop »
- Help Save Safe Toilet Paper! »
- Planet Ark's new packaging tool a finalist in Banksia Sustainability Awards »
- New Label Makes Recycling Easy »
- Garage Sale Trailing Right Around Australia »
- An Office Fling Is Good For Circulation »
- Awake to the Fun of Recycling »
- Planet Ark Project - Answering Kid's Questions »
- Declutter Your Office E-waste for FREE »
- Power Tool Battery Recycling Pilot Launches in Brisbane »
- Reduce Your Pet's Paw Print »
- Bagging Waste »
- Wise Words From An Eleven-Year-Old »
- E-Waste Busters »
- Identifying Asbestos »
- One House, Four Hours, Four Tonnes of Recycling »
- The art of upcycling »
- Happy Eco-Easter! »
- Creative Composting »
- Clean Clothes for Sensitive Souls »
- PREP For Better Recycling »
- Turning Trash Into Treasure »