Environmental tips for around your home

Recycle More

Here are some simple tips to help you recycle easily at home:

Work out a system that works for you!

Do what you can and remember, you don’t need to go to a lot of trouble or expense. Organise your recycling anyway you like – in a bag, box or bin – whatever is easiest for you in your home. 

Remember that every little bit helps - just recycling paper and containers reduces waste to landfill by up to 27%!

Start a compost bin
All you need is some ground space outside to get started.  Find a spot that has good drainage and summer shade.  Start building your compost pile with a layer of kitchen food scraps and green garden waste, then a layer of brown garden waste with a little water on top to wet it down.

Compost is good for your soil and conserves water – it also saves food scraps and green waste from being sent to landfill!

Think outside the box!
Recycling is not just about bottles, paper, cardboard and cans. When you donate rather than throw out old clothes or homewares, you are recycling. There are also collection programs for electronic waste (i.e. computers, mobile phones and fridges), chemical waste and car batteries.

 

Reduce waste

Here are three simple steps to help you manage your waste at home.

Your “trash” might well be someone else’s “treasure”!
Do you have a couch at home that you don’t use anymore? Perhaps the bag of clothing that you have not worn for a while is about to be thrown away?

Why not donate it rather than throw it away?  You may already know that many charities like the St Vincent de Paul Society accept clothing items but there are also lots of places that accept second-hand furniture and other goods as well.  Check with your local Council for local options. 

Reducing food waste: set your fridge/freezer to the right temperature
Your fridge should be kept at around 3-4 degrees Celsius and your freezer at -18 degrees Celsius.

A refrigerator with a properly-set temperature not only ensures that your food stays fresh, it also means your food can be kept longer, which means less waste.  Make sure you do not overcrowd your fridge and freezer, so that there is plenty of space for the cold air to do its work. 

Prepare a shopping list before you go grocery shopping
According to the NSW Government’s Love Food Hate Waste scheme, the average NSW household throws away $1,000 of food per year.  One way to reduce that is to plan ahead by creating a shopping list, so you know exactly what you need to buy. It helps you to save money too!

 

Save energy

Here’s five tips to stay cool in summer, warm in winter and reduce your electricity bills!

Get window wise
If you can keep the direct sun off your windows, especially early in the morning and late in the afternoon, you’ll stay much cooler in summer.

Also, don’t forget to check your window seals regularly to ensure there are no cracks or openings. You will be amazed how much heat/cool you can keep in!

Check your ceiling insulation
If you have insulation installed, make sure you check it regularly. Is it completely covering the ceiling, pressed up nice and snug against the ceiling joists? Are there any visible gaps? If so, it is a simple job to buy some more insulation and fill those gaps!

If you don’t currently have insulation, perhaps this is something to consider. You will really notice a difference in your electricity bills.

Be fridge wise
Most families these days have two fridges – one for inside the house and one in the garage or entertainment area. Why not turn off the outside fridge when you don’t need it?

A lot of second fridges are old fridges that use a lot of power, especially sitting in a hot garage or laundry. That fridge may be costing you more than $200 a year.

Buy energy efficient appliances
When you are about to buy new whitegoods, like a washing machine or fridge, take notice of the star energy rating sticker on the product. The more stars the product has, the more energy efficient the appliance is. You can also check out www.energyrating.gov.au where you can search your preferred product and check its energy efficiency.

Don’t use standby mode… turn it off!
You could save a lot of electricity by turning off appliances at the power point when they are not in use. You will be surprised how many appliances you leave on when you are not using them – mobile phone chargers, kettles, toasters, computers… even the TV! 

 

Save water

Here are some tips to help you manage your water consumption at home:

Check for leaking taps or toilets
Leaks can exist for years without anyone knowing, since most water pipes are usually out of sight. How do you know if you have one then? Here’s a simple test… take a photo of your water meter reading just before you go to bed.  Next morning, first thing, check the meter again. If there has been an increase in your meter overnight when you had not used any water, call a plumber to check out your taps and pipes! 

Reuse your greywater
It seems such a waste to allow water that has only been used to rinse clothes in a washing machine, or rinse a person in the shower, to go straight into the sewer.

Whether you use the simple 'bucket' method to collect greywater, or have a complete greywater collection and reuse system installed, reusing this resource can greatly reduce your water use.

Install a rainwater tank if you have a house
No matter where you are in Australia, a rainwater tank can at least partially offset your mains water usage.  A rainwater tank can collect thousands of litres of water each year. What size of tank you install will depend on your available space, the size of your roof and local rainfall patterns.  Talk to a rainwater tank expert to find out what would be most suitable for you.