Effective Ways to Consume Less
Date Posted:13 January 2022
Our consumption habits are major drivers of climate change.
Each year, an estimated one third of all food produced ends up rotting in the bins of consumers or spoiling due to poor transportation and harvesting practices.
If people worldwide switched to energy efficient light bulbs the world would save AUD$160 billion annually.
If the global population reach 9.6 billion by 2050, the equivalent of almost three planets could be required to provide natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles.
Source: United Nations / Sustainable Development Goals
While it's great to buy eco-friendly products, it's even more important to reduce our consumption. Consuming less means wasting fewer resources and thinking more seriously about sustainable options for living. Essentially, we need to be doing more and better with less.
Here are six ways you can use to try and consume less while developing a greater awareness of waste and use of resources. As you work through these strategies, you'll realise your very own consumption habits and be inspired to make change.
Create a Sustainable Capsule Wardrobe
Capsule wardrobes not only help us de-stress our relationship with clothes and bust decision fatigue, but also reduces our footprint on the planet.
By reducing the amount we spend on fast fashion, we help reduce its effect on our environment. Instead of shopping fast fashion that have several major drawbacks, opt for quality, slow fashion pieces. That way, you can build a curated sustainable capsule wardrobe that will last years and provide more personal meaning!
Your capsule wardrobe should include a logical selection of clothing that you not only love to wear but that is practical and versatile. Essentially, it will include 10-30 items of clothing that can be put together to create an entire wardrobe for a season. These pieces should be interchangeable, allowing you to build countless outfits from fewer items overall.
Having a limited but carefully curated wardrobe of timeless essentials declutters your closet and makes dressing up more convenient, while making you shop with intention by helping you focus on what you really need.
Reduce Food Waste and Buy a Compost Bin
Up to 40% of household waste is actually food waste and when organic matter like these rots in landfill, it emits methane. In fact, food waste in landfill is responsible for over 3% of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions annually.
Apart from reducing food waste as much as we can, we can also choose to compost! This means that any food that does end up being wasted can be recycled in the form of nutrient rich soil for growing vegetables at home. Home composting is one of the most effective and easiest ways we can reduce these emissions into the environment. It not only reduces methane and carbon emissions but also saves water, saves you money and makes you more sensitive to the amount of food you waste. You'll begin to think of ways to use the banana peel before throwing it away! Here are some tips for using every part of the veggie and more and here is a simple guide to composting at home.
Grow a Vegetable Garden
There are endless benefits of growing your own food, for you personally and for the environment. By growing your own food, you are helping reduce the high amounts of burning fossil fuels that fill our environment as a direct result of importing foods from commercial farmers (on average our veggies travel 2,000kms before being consumed). You are also reducing waste from food packaging, the money you spend on food and reducing your contribution to climate change while ultimately giving you a greater connection with how food is grown. You will build an appreciation of the seasons and how hard it is to actually grow great, perfect looking produce while feeling satisfied at what you've created!
Growing your own veggies can seem overwhelming to some, however it's much simpler than it sounds. Even if you don't have a backyard, you can still use the available space in your balcony or courtyard as a veggie patch.
Promote Sustainability in your Workplace
Being more sustainable doesn't have to call for huge changes in your office. There are a number of sustainable efforts and initiatives that can be easily implemented to promote a more environmentally friendly workplace. A few examples include:
- Unplug unused appliances
- Go paperless and avoid printing
- Add plants
- Start a workplace kitchen garden
- Create a work compost bin
- Try a team sustainability challenge and award monthly prizes to the team/person who diverts the most waste from landfills.
Not only are these easy changes better for the environment, but they can also save money, improve the company's reputation, and contribute to a more productive and motivated team.
Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle
Refuse: everything we buy has an environmental cost, so think twice before making your next purchase and ensure you really do need it.
Reduce: we recommend using the minimum amount required to avoid unnecessary waste. For example, when printing a document, print double-sided. You can also try using the same product for different applications. For example, using your surface cleaner as your floor cleaner.
Reuse: in an effort to reduce waste, reuse items throughout the household and workplace instead of buying new ones. Swapping single use disposable products for reusables is one of the easiest ways to do your bit for the environment.
Repurpose: for every item that can't be refused, reduced, or reused, try either using it for another application or give it away to someone in need or to an op shop.
Recycle: Once you've gone through all the R's, recycling is the most environmentally friendly waste disposal method. Find out what items in your household can be recycled here.
Source Ethically Raised and Sustainable Meat and Seafood
When purchasing meat or seafood, purchase the free range and organic options from ethical and sustainable producers. This type of meat and seafood has been farmed in an ethical manner using methods that nourish the animals and the environment.
Local supermarkets and farmers' markets always have a range to choose from but if you're unsure on whether what you're buying is actually ethically and sustainable sourced, ask your butcher "is the meat free range or organic", "what farm did it come from?" and "Is it grass or grain fed?".
Do you have any more tips on ways to consume less? Add your sustainable living tips in the comment section below!