If you're eager to become a more environmentally responsible homeowner, you can start today by taking a few small steps. Here are several simple habits and upgrades that will help you be more sustainable at home.
Curate a wardrobe of sustainably made clothes
Becoming more sustainable at home starts when you get dressed in the morning. Instead of supporting fast fashion brands that send toxic dyes into water sources and mounds of unused clothing to landfills, reconsider what you're putting in your wardrobe. Prioritise quality over quantity and invest in fewer, nicer pieces that will last much longer. Look for clothing brands that source materials and make their apparel using methods that are better for the environment.
Bring along reusable shopping bags
To get in the habit of shopping sustainably, bring along reusable carrier bags so you don't end up taking home (and tossing out) a load of plastic bags. And when you head out to pick up groceries, you can also take along small reusable produce bags for your fruit and vegetables.
Use eco-friendly lids for leftovers
As for packaging up your leftovers, cover your bowls and plates with reusable silicone lids or beeswax wrapping, rather than single-use plastic wrap. You can pop silicone lids in the microwave for reheating, and clean them up in the dishwasher. Beeswax wrapping is a multi-use option as well, and you can wash it in cold water by hand. Either way, these products come in all shapes and sizes to fit different food containers, and they can significantly reduce the amount of plastic you toss in the bin.
Cut back your kitchen waste by composting
Composting food waste is not only great for the environment, but it can also leave you with nutrient-rich material for fertilising your vegetable patch. Once you get your compost bin set up, it's easy to get in the habit of filling it with brown and green waste from the kitchen and garden. (Check out our beginner's guide to composting if you're not sure where to start!)
Opt for green cleaning techniques
Baking soda and vinegar can go a long way when it comes to keeping your home sparkling clean. Find ways to swap out harsh chemicals for gentle, all-natural cleaning methods. When you can't clean something with basic kitchen ingredients, pick up eco-friendly detergents, soaps and disinfectant sprays. Additionally, scrubbing surfaces with reusable cleaning rags, mops and other tools will leave your home spick and span without generating as much waste as their disposable counterparts.
Reduce household energy consumption
Upgrading your home systems to environmentally friendly, energy-efficient technology is a smart move since it reduces your carbon footprint as well as your monthly bills. Even if you're not ready to purchase new appliances, you can make small changes that make a big difference. For instance, install a smart thermostat that can help you stay comfortable while using less energy for heating and cooling your home. You can upgrade light fixtures to LED bulbs as well.
Decrease your water consumption
If you're looking to renovate your bathrooms, install water-efficient toilets and other fixtures to keep your household water usage down. For more minor updates that can still help you be more sustainable at home, switch out old showerheads and faucets for designs intended to limit the flow of water.
Grow your own greens
Cultivating an edible garden offers benefits for you and the ecosystem. It only takes a few raised beds or square metres in the ground to create a flourishing veggie patch or herb garden. The Australian climate is also well-suited to citrus trees and other refreshing fruits. By eating hyper-locally, you're not reliant upon the complex transportation network required to bring your favourite produce to the table. (Or if you don't have a green thumb, pick up locally grown produce to support regional farmers!)