Your home is your sanctuary. It’s where you seek shelter, find warmth, make your meals, and create lasting memories with your family and friends. It’s where you live.
A roof over your head is all well and good – and undeniably, a human right for all – but there’s no doubt over the increased impact we, as humans, have on the environment and future generations simply by living in our homes. Lifestyle choices have a lot to do with this, and how we will (and do) contribute to the sustainability of planet earth.
Right now, your carbon footprint could be quite minimal. Perhaps you don’t drive and opt for public transport instead? Or maybe you’ve forgone your inherent carnivore ways for a meat-free diet? Sustainable living is all about choices, and it’s more than possible to translate this to your home. Just as your home is your sanctuary, it can be a place that helps reduce your use of the earth’s natural resources for years to come.
In a few simple steps, you could be on your way to a transformative future for our world via the choices you make at home each day. Let’s get into it…
How to transform your home for sustainable living
1) Regulate your own temperature
Turn off the air conditioner, unplug the heater. You have the resources at your disposal to not waste (yes, waste) energy on heating or cooling your body. Next time you’re feeling like you need a quick change in your body temperature, instead of reaching for a switch, rug up in a scarf and extra layers or strip down and head to the beach. For thousands of years, humans lived and thrived without the instantaneous technologies of an AC or heating device – it’s not only great for the environment but also your energy bills.
2) Audit your cleaning and home products
We fall into bad habits when cleaning our homes, habits that impact our families and the planet. Natural cleaning products are a readily-available (and if you DIY, a cheaper) option to the nasty supermarket-bought chemical cleaners. Do an audit of what you currently have and throw anything that has an ingredient list that scares you. Natural alternatives can be as simple as mixing vinegar, baking soda and water – an all-purpose cleaner that won’t break the bank or damage the environment.
3) Say no to junk mail
A simple way to save the trees. Advertising in our mailboxes, no matter where we live in Australia, piles up and often reaches the bin as soon as it makes it indoors. There’s a few ways you can get rid of the influx of junk mail in your life and it starts with a ‘No Junk Mail’ sign, available at all good hardware stores or make one for yourself.
If you want to be extra cautious about any unwanted mail, check out the Catalog Choice website. Here’s how it works: sign up via the link, cancel the catalogs you no longer want to receive and let Catalog Choice do the work for you. In 8 years, they have helped 2 million people reduce their impact on the environment, their clutter, and in the process, protect their privacy. Are you in?
4) Flip the switch and unplug
So obvious, but often overlooked. When not using appliances or chargers, flip the switch to off and unplug. Sometimes referred to as ‘phantom energy’, your electronic devices continue to drain energy even when they’re switched off at the power, so take that extra second to unplug.
5) Recycle like a boss
“I already recycle,” you say. But the real question here is, are you recycling effectively? It is possible you, like most Australians, are doing the bare minimum to recycle your waste. And that’s fine, but as a conscious member of society, you may want to take it that extra mile and learn more about what you can and can’t recycle. Another hot recycling tip is to make informed choices about buying goods that can be recycled, for example, a glass bottle over plastic, using aluminium foil instead of cling wrap, and taking recyclable bags with you on your weekly trip to the supermarket.
6) Go tiny
If you’re in the market for a completely new way to live, have you ever thought about going ‘tiny’? The tiny house movement has transformed the US, and in recent years, Australians have beaten the increasingly absurd house prices in the suburbs and downsized to fully-functioning, eco-friendly, shipping container-sized houses on vacant land. It offers a financial freedom only dreamed about by mortgage owners, and with less cleaning and less clutter, a tiny home is definitely something to consider for sustainable living.
How will you enact these transformational changes in your home? Leave us a comment below.