How you can support your environment by making planet-friendly changes
We hear constantly how our planet is suffering and being destroyed by climate change, pollution, extinction but mostly, us humans. While the condition of our planet does seem dismal, there are certain things that we can do to in our daily life to help the environment.
The ‘starfish effect’ says that every little bit helps! By making different choices that help to change our awareness of the environment, we will be doing our part in creating a sustainable planet.
Here are our Top Ten Tips on how you make easy planet-friendly changes to your daily life to support a healthy environment.
1. Conserve water
Using water wisely has become an essential practice worldwide. You can make a difference by being more eco-friendly and using less water in your home and garden. Start by checking your taps, pipes and toilets for any leaks. Just a small drip from your tap can waste up to 20 litres of water per day.
Take shorter showers! You can cut down on using too much water by turning off the shower after soaping up, and turning it back on to rinse off. Install a low-flow showerhead which will help to use less and cut back on your water bill. Don’t keep the water running when you brush your teeth.
Use your washing machine and dishwasher only for full loads to conserve water.
During dry spells, you may be tempted to use more water for your garden but you don’t have to. Water your lawn and garden early in the morning or late in the evening which will allow the moisture to penetrate deeper into the soil. In this way, you will also use less water.
Plant water-wise plants, shrubs and lawns that need little water and add a layer of mulch around plants and trees which will help the soil to retain water.
2. Reduce electricity usage
By conserving energy, we are not only saving money but making a positive impact on the planet. Unplug appliances such as TV, computer, washing machine or microwave when they are not in use. Choose energy-efficient appliances which use less power and are kinder to the environment.
Other tips include using energy efficient light bulbs, insulating your ceiling or roof so that your home will be cool in summer and warm in winter, choosing a ceiling fan instead of an air conditioner and avoid using downlighters as they use too much electricity.
3. Buy local produce
Buying local produce has many benefits. The food is fresher, full of flavour, contains more nutrients and supports the local economy. When you buy from your local farmer’s market or roadside vendor, pollution and energy from transporting and storing is reduced. Don’t forget, local is lekker!
Buying locally grown or manufactured goods means that you cut your carbon footpint right down as the items that you buy have not had to travel thousands of miles to get to you!
4. Recycle and reuse
There are many products that can be repurposed through recycling and reusing. This will help to reduce the amount of waste which often ends up in landfills.
Save plastic and glass containers and repurpose them for storing food, detergents, jewellery, pens, pencils or any other odds and ends. Collect items such as paper, glass or cardboard that can be recycled. Check where your local recycling centre is in your community to drop off items or hire a recycling service to collect your materials.
So, the next time you want to throw anything away, remember your R’s – Recycle and Reuse!
5. Change your travel habits
Reduce the amount of toxic greenhouse gases which are released into the environment caused by driving. Scale back on driving your car to work and start using public transport, carpooling, cycling or walking.
Invest in an eco-friendly car as another alternative to protect the planet.
6. Create a compost pile
Composting is another great way to help the planet. Start a compost pile in your backyard and reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill. Use leftover over food waste such as egg shells, fruit, veggie skins, tea bags or ground coffee as compost to enrich the soil.
When it matures, use it to nourish your garden and pot plants. Best of all, your garden will look amazing and you’ll be saving on fertilizer AND water as the compost also acts as a mulch!
7. Take your own bags
When out grocery shopping, bring your own canvas or reusable bags with to pack items in instead of opting for plastic bags. Plastic bags are especially hazardous for the environment and research shows that they often end up in the ocean, posing great danger for marine life. Keep reuseable bags in your bag or car so that you don’t have to use plastic when you go shopping.
8. Meatless Mondays
Did you know that eating less meat could help save the planet?
Eating less meat can reduce your carbon footprint as it is estimated that the meat industry generates approximately 20% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. It will also help to save water because livestock need huge quantities to survive.
Cutting back your meat intake can also minimise chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even cancer. Go meatless once a week by joining in the worldwide Meatless Monday campaign and do your bit for your health and the planet.
9. Plant a veggie garden
Start planting a veggie or herb garden to grow your fresh produce. There is nothing more local than your own back garden! As supermarket prices continue to soar, you will be cultivating your own produce at a fraction of the price and reducing the use of fossil fuels used to transport produce.
Get into gardening, there’s nothing better than eating fresh organic veggies that you have grown with your hands!
10. Change to eco-friendly cleaning products
Do you love using bleach in your home? Enjoy the fragrant aromas of room sprays and air fresheners? These household cleaning products are indoor pollutants that are not only harmful to the environment but also your health.
Remember that what goes down your drain ends up in the sea or the ground water! Use non-toxic cleaning products such as baking soda, vinegar and lemon to keep your home clean and sparkling.