Despite what Kermit the Frog would have you believe, it’s pretty easy being green- with a little forward-thinking, Australian families can continue to reduce their impact on our environment every day. Here’s how to hop to it:
Insulate, mate: With over half of your household energy used on heating and cooling, insulating is as sound advice as ever. Rug up your rooves this winter and reap the benefits year-round.
Buy smart: Energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs use up to 75% less electricity than a regular bulb, and it can cost upwards of $20 per week just to run that old clunker of a fridge -consider upgrading your appliances and white goods to energy-efficient models . Front-loader washing machines are not only more space-efficient, but they save on energy and water costs, too. Check the energy star rating labels at your local retailer to see how products compare.
The unplugged version: If you’re at all switched on, this one’s a cinch- unplug your electrical items when not in use. Even when switched off, a LED (light emitting diode) appliance, such as a TV or mobile phone charger, still consumes energy when they’re plugged in at the power point.
Recycle: Recycling is one of the easiest but most effective practises for the whole family to engage in every day. While most of us have the bottles/plastics/paper thing down pat, did you know you can also recycle electronics such as old or unwanted mobile phones? Heavy metals such as the cadmium in mobile phone batteries can leak their way into the earth, causing all manner of problems for Australian waterways and the creatures that inhabit them. So rather than throwing them in with the cans and cardboard, seek out a deposit box at your local post office or electronics retailer.
Buy local: It’s tempting to judge a berry by its carton when we’re thinking green at the grocers, but how often do we factor in the fossil fuels used to transport our imports to our kitchen table? Buying locally-grown, seasonal produce is a great way to ensure unnecessary nasties aren’t on the menu for your family, or the environment.
Patch things up: A little goes a long way when it comes to wasting life’s most precious resource. That dripping pipe, tap or toilet could be wasting a startling 20,000 litres of water per year, so time to fix that leak before more water (and money!) goes down the drain.
Keep your cool: Make less work for yourself and the environment by ensuring each load of laundry is a full one. Cold water loads use up far less energy than hot water ones so stick to a cold water wash as often as possible.