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Aware Readers Got It Right ... Just

Date: 25-Mar-09

In the last Aware edition, we asked you:

The average Australian produces 19 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year from goods & services purchased, home energy use, food, and transport. Which is the highest contributor?

A)    Goods & services (eg. clothes, furniture, appliances)
B)    Home energy use (eg. lights, water heating, appliance use)
C)    Food (production, transport & processing)
D)    Transport (eg. public transport, flights, car use)

This certainly stumped Aware readers! Responses were almost equally spread across all answers. Good and Services was correct answer and was the top response - but only just. At 28% of responses it was only 2% up on transport.

The response from Aware readers is natural - we hear a lot about reducing our direct energy use - home energy and transport.  Yes, these are important steps - but energy and transport make up only one third of our household greenhouse gas (GHG) production. The indirect energy use - through buying food, goods and services makes up the remaining two thirds. Goods and services, including clothing, furniture and appliances, tobacco and alcohol, and house renovations,  produce a whopping 41% of our GHG emissions.

Hidden Energy Use

It's the energy used to make the stuff and then get it to us that's the culprit. And it's energy use we don't see, so it's easy to forget. Just the books and magazines we buy make up more GHG emissions than all our trips on the bus and train.

So to keep our household emissions down, the best thing we can do is think about the things we buy.  That doesn't mean we have to go without. There are many easy eco-options.  Borrow a book rather than buy a new one. Choose rechargeable batteries over disposables. Give a movie ticket rather than a box of chocolates. By buying second-hand or borrowing, selecting longer-life products or a service we cut down our total GHG emissions.


Congratulations to Frances from Annerley, Queensland, one of our readers with the correct answer, who was the lucky winner of "The Little Green Guide".

More Information

For more info see the ACF Consumption Atlas and Report 2007. 

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