It’s never been more important to assess the effect we as individuals and households have on our planet, particularly as the population continues to grow and consume more and more of the world’s resources.
While it’s easy to believe the changes of one household couldn’t possibly make a difference, if you make an effort to alter your behaviour and implement changes around your home, you’ll be joining a growing number of people who are taking action for the benefit of the planet.
Making eco-friendly changes to your home can also equate to saving money—both in the short and long term—and you’ll be setting a great example for future inhabitants of the planet i.e. your children (if you have them). While some changes may mean outlaying more money in the beginning, the savings over time and perceived added value to buyers when it comes time to sell, will pay off.
Here are just a few changes you can make toward becoming a more eco-friendly household:
Food scraps that go into plastic bags that are delivered to landfill result in methane gas which is harmful to the environment. There are plenty of options to keep food scraps out of landfill including: only buying/cooking what you’ll use, feeding them to your dog, putting them in a compost bin, keeping a worm farm, leaving them in hanging feeder for birds and/or possums or by keeping a small flock of chickens.
The good news is compost bins now come in all shapes and sizes and even include small tumbler types that fit small spaces and are easy to use so there’s no excuse for putting food scraps into the rubbish bin. If you have a decent size backyard and are handy with the tools consider building a permanent compost bay. Keep different household bins for the various types of rubbish so you can easily separate organic waste, recyclables and landfill rubbish.
Why hand over more money to the energy companies than absolutely necessary? Save money in this area and divert it to your home loan instead. Win. Win. Start with simple actions and assess the cost benefits of going big by installing solar panels and replacing windows with energy efficient ones if you live in an older house. Some energy companies are trialling solar payment plans so shop around to find out what you’ll pay and how long before you will begin to see the savings benefit.
Simple things you can do to reduce your energy bills are: swap to energy efficient light bulbs, turn off unnecessary lights, install skylights in dark areas, choose window blinds/drapes that keep the cold out, use draft stoppers under doors, wear warmer clothes when inside, have family TV/movie nights to cut down on the number of electronics being used at the same time, and upgrade appliances to energy efficient ones.
While water restrictions may be a distant memory, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t adopt a water-wise lifestyle. Now is a great time to buy a water tank and not pay premium price due to low demand. Gone are the days when your only choice was to install something large, ugly, round and equivalent to erecting a whole other dwelling in your backyard. Water tanks of all shapes and sizes are now on the market, including ones that can be tucked out of sight under your house.
Think native! If you feel you can’t make the switch to a garden that is 100% native, allocate areas that feature native plants. Make sure you include bee attracting plants, however, try to plant them away from areas where you spend time relaxing or eating. Your new water tank can be used to water your garden which will reduce your summer water bill.