Hot tips for a sustainable summer

Hot tips for a sustainable summer

By Rachael Ridley  December 8th, 2021

Just because it’s called the silly season doesn’t mean you have to be silly about your impact on the planet. Follow these easy tips for a festive break that the environment can enjoy too.

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1. Walk and cycle instead of driving

Choosing how we get from A to B is one of the biggest climate decisions we make every day. Reducing how much time you spend in the car by walking, cycling, or using public transport is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, it means you can have a cheeky second drink.

2. Use Recycling Near You to clean out your garage, closet or drawer of shame

The holiday break is the perfect time to do a big clean up. Rather than throwing out all the stuff you’ve accumulated, use Recycling Near You to find recycling drop-off points or charity stores in your area. You’d be surprised just how many things can be recycled through specialised services – often for free! Phones, TVs, computers, leftover paint, electrical appliances, white goods, mattresses, clothing and more.

3. Resist the sales

Those Boxing Day sales can be so tempting… But before you hand over your cash, consider whether you really need more stuff or if you just want that dopamine hit. Buying less new things helps slow down the consumerism hamster wheel that is contributing to climate change and the pollution crisis. Still have stuff you need to buy? Consider purchasing pre-loved items from charity stores and online marketplaces like Gumtree, or buying products made from recycled materials.

4. Earn extra cash with Container Deposit Schemes

This is a great one for kids! Collect all your plastic and glass bottles and beverage cartons (under 1L) and take them to a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) for a lovely little refund. Why is that good for the environment? Because containers collected through CDS are turned into higher quality recycled materials (because they aren’t contaminated by other types of packaging which occurs in co-mingled recycling). Not all states have them, but most do! Search Recycling Near You to see if there is one in your area.   

5. Ditch single-use and use reusables instead

Need a New Year’s resolution? How about cutting single-use items from your life? Switching to reusables like coffee cups, drink bottles, cutlery, straws, and shopping bags requires a bit more effort and planning, but it doesn’t take long to get into the habit. Make sure you give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back every time you remember!

6. Plant a tree

Planting a tree in your backyard has both environmental and mental health benefits. Planting a native tree is even better because it provides food for native birds and bees. Sadly, many National Tree Day plantings were cancelled this year due to lockdowns, but we believe every day should be Tree Day. Make your tree count by registering the planting with National Tree Day (even if it’s one tree!). 

7. Choose environmentally responsible sunscreens

Not all sunscreens are created equal. Some contain ingredients that are damaging to our environment and marine wildlife, leading to Hawaii and some other islands banning their use. Avoid sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, opting for zinc oxide instead. 

8. Eat less meat

Did you know Veganuary is a thing? You don’t have to cut out all meat and animal products to have an impact; even having one meat-free day a week makes a difference. That’s because of the enormous amount of energy and water that goes into feeding and watering animal stock and the production of meat, as well as the impact of land clearing for farming. So, that cheeky meat pie or chicken shnitty might be doing more harm than it’s worth (and we’re not just talking about your cardiovascular health).

9. Have shorter, cooler showers

Australians understand how precious water is. Taking shorter showers conserves water and making them just a tiny bit colder saves energy, which reduces your electricity bills and carbon footprint. Win-win!

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Rachael Ridley

Rachael joined Planet Ark in early 2019 after eight years working in media and publishing as a producer, editor and writer. Rachael loves using her skills in content creation and communication to instigate positive environmental behaviour change. Outside of work, Rachael enjoys spending time in nature, listening to music and patting dogs.

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