Every action makes a difference. Find out what you can do to be more sustainable while studying or working from home by following these top 10 tips.
Wear a reusable mask
Reusable masks are a great way to reduce your contribution to single-use waste. Make sure yours has three layers, and that you wash it after every use. It can be a fun accessory to add to your outfit, and a great way to reuse old clothing if you make your own. Follow the DHHS guidelines for how to make a reusable mask.
Bin it right!
Do you know what can go into your recycling, landfill, green or glass bins? If too many people put the wrong things in, bins can become too contaminated to be processed correctly and the items could all end up in landfill.
While some bin systems are similar, not all councils accept the same items in each bin. Visit your council’s waste section on their website to make sure you’re putting the right items in your bins. If you don’t know what local government area you live in, select your state below to find out.
Get on your bike
While we’re restricted with our movements, it’s more important than ever to include some exercise into your day. When you have to leave your home, choose to walk or ride your bike. They’re both good ways to keep active while practicing social distancing and have positive impacts on mental health. Check out our cycling page for tips on keeping your bike secure when out and about.
Layer up before you switch on
Keep warm with thermal and woollen clothing before you turn on the heater in the winter months. This will reduce your energy consumption and keep your power bill down. You can also try the old-fashioned hot water bottle, wearing warm socks and containing your activities to one heated room instead of heating the whole house. Sustainability Victoria has more tips on heating efficiency in the home.
Eat your leftovers!
Did you know that one in five bags of groceries in Australia will end up as food waste? When food waste ends up in landfill, it's not exposed to enough oxygen for it to break down aerobically. Instead, it breaks down more slowly while releasing methane, a gas much more potent than carbon dioxide.
Buying only as much as you need and incorporating your leftovers into other meals not only keeps food out of landfill but saves money as well. If you have scraps you can’t find a use for, make sure they go into a food organics bin, compost or worm farm. Find more tips on reducing food waste at Sustainability Victoria.
Choose to buy from independent stores that source and produce products locally. Through buying products made from materials and ingredients that haven’t flown across the world, you can reduce carbon emissions associated with transport and packing while supporting local businesses.
Shopping locally also reduces the risk of modern slavery being concealed somewhere along the supply chain. To find out more about reducing your 'carbon miles' check out Sustainability Victoria.
Say no to single use
Stop the waste problem at the source by avoiding single-use items where possible. Remember the mantra: reduce, reuse, then recycle. Before buying anything, ask yourself:
- Reduce: Do I really need this? Can I repurpose something I have at home to do the job? Or make what I need out of the materials I already have?
- Reuse: Can I buy it second-hand? Can I buy a reusable version instead?
- Recycle: Can I find a similar product with less packaging? Can the product and its packaging be recycled?
Always bring reusable bags when shopping, carry a refillable water bottle with you when out and avoid buying items you will only use once. Instead, shop at bulk stores that allow you to refill your own containers or choose products in recyclable packaging like glass or cardboard if you must. Visit single use to learn why disposable items are so damaging to the environment.
Switch on to LED
What type of lightbulbs do you use at home? LED and fluorescent lights are are much more energy efficient than halogen lights, so switching means you’ll save money on your energy bill too! Visit Sustainability Victoria for more tips on energy efficient lighting.
Support a café that accepts reusable cups
Reusable cups can continue to be used during the COVID-19 crisis by following basic hygiene rules—there has been no government advice against doing so.
Make sure you wash yours thoroughly with detergent and hot water (by hand or in the dishwasher), only hand over a clean and dry cup, and remember to hold onto your lid. Some cafés might choose to not accept reusable cups at the moment, which is okay too—remember that many small businesses are under a lot of pressure.
And if your café stocks 'compostable' or 'biodegradable' cups, keep in mind that most of these need to be processed through commercial composting facilities for them to break down. This means that, in most areas, they should go in the garbage or landfill bin. For details visit disposable coffee cups.
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To learn more sustainable tips, stay up to date with sustainability news, and find out about upcoming events and opportunities, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Don’t forget to share how you are #stayingsustainable while studying from home and tag us.
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