Here’s how to make sure your reno or build is a positive one for you, your wallet and the planet.
1. Scrap the tip and recycle
Construction sites generate a lot of waste. In fact, the construction and demolition industry is responsible for over 37% of Australia’s core waste! You can make sure your reno isn’t contributing to waste to landfill by recycling wherever possible. Here are some tips on how to do that:
Dispose of your leftover paint, varnishes and deck coatings responsibly through Paintback. There are heaps of collection points around the country and it’s free to drop off. Find your closest collection point at RecyclingNearYou.
When hiring a skip bin for your general waste, choose a provider that recycles. If you’re in Victoria or NSW, BINGO Industries (a trusted partner of Planet Ark) is committed to diverting 75% of the waste it collects from landfill. They also make building and landscaping materials like aggregate and mulch out of the waste they collect!
Instead of illegally dumping old appliances, mattresses and e-waste on the street, contact your council to see if you can organise a collection. You can also check RecyclingNearYou to see if there are recycling or reuse options in your area.
2. Buy second-hand and save
After a build, there is often a surplus of building materials. Before you start work on that new deck or kitchen, consider browsing online marketplaces like Gumtree to see if anyone is selling second-hand materials for cheap. On top of saving money, you’ll be diverting unnecessary waste from landfill and preventing the extraction of ‘virgin’ or new materials from the environment.
3. Use a renewable building material
Did you know wood is the only renewable building material? When responsibly sourced and managed, timber can actually help fight climate change. Timber stores carbon for the long-haul (half of its weight is actually carbon!) and requires significantly less energy in its production and processing than other materials like steel and concrete. It’s also a natural insulator that is 15 times better than masonry and concrete, 400 times better than steel and 1,770 times better than aluminium. Learn more about the benefits of building with responsibly sourced and certified timber at Make It Wood.
4. Hire your tools instead of buying new
Before you fork out hard-earned cash on a new set of tools, consider how often you will actually put them to use. If it’s an irregular occurrence, hiring tools will be a better choice for the planet and your bank account. Tool libraries – where the tool is loaned to members of the community just like a book – are becoming more popular as the ‘sharing economy’ grows. Less tools purchased means less products are made, keeping resources in the ground and preventing greenhouse gases from entering our atmosphere.
5. Make sure your home is air-tight and insulated
Did you know you can reduce your energy bill by up to 45% with roof and ceiling insulation alone? Adding insulation to your ceiling, floor and walls and air-sealing to get rid of draughts can drastically reduce your energy consumption. Less energy used to heat or cool your home will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint. It’s a win-win! There are also lots of environmentally responsible insulation products on the market, including cellulose which is mostly made up of recycled newspaper.
6. Use nature’s natural cooling system: trees!
If you have a yard, planting trees is another environmentally friendly way to reduce your energy consumption by naturally cooling your home. Planet Ark research on trees in the urban environment shows a 5% increase in tree cover can reduce nearby daytime temperatures by 2.3 degrees! Plant native trees to attract wildlife like bees and birds.