All you have to do is switch on the news or Google information about the state of our planet and you’ll come across some overwhelming statistics. The effects of climate change, the pollution and the way we are powering through our natural resources are all slowly destroying Earth and individuals feel like there is nothing that they, as one person, can do about it.
While although it is true that a lot of the problems need to be solved at a large level, by the big corporations and the government, there are still many ways that each person can help make a difference to the planet.
Here are some quick and easy ways you can help save the planet, every single day:
Say no to junk mail
The average adult receives almost 20kg of junk mail every single year. Of this, 45% does not even get opened before it is thrown in the bin. What a waste! To produce this much junk mail each year, more than 100 million trees are chopped down. Every ‘no junk mail’ sticker on a letter box counts!
So many people don’t have a full understanding of how to recycle, and this can have a huge impact at the recycling plant. For example, just 15g of the wrong kind of glass, such as ovenproof glass, can contaminate and therefore waste up to one tonne of other glass around it. Learn what you can and cannot put in your recycling bins teach your children about correct recycling so they can continue the good habits.
When you hire a skip in Melbourne, make sure you put the correct kind of waste in those as well. If you put the right waste into our bins, we will recycle up to 85% of everything we collect!
Don’t waste water
Water is one of the most precious resources we have on this planet; less than 2% of the Earth’s water supply is fresh water. Keeping this in mind, we need to conserve as much water as we can. One simple way to do this is to turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth. For each person who leaves the tap running while they brush, over 750 litres of fresh water goes down the drain per month.
Don’t buy water
While we are on the subject of water – stop buying bottled water, it will help the environment. Australian’s buy 118,000 tonnes worth of plastic water bottles each year and of these, only 36% are recycled. The rest are put into landfill or litter the streets and environment. In 2010, the Clean Up Australia Rubbish Report stated that one in ten items found were related to plastic drinking bottles.
Aside from the rubbish they produce, bottles of water also have an environmental impact due just from being produced. The PET packaging is derived from crude oil, which can take up to 3 litres of water just to produce the 1 litre bottle. They then have to be transported to shops around Australia, which means the burning of fossil fuels. If this isn’t enough reason to stop buying bottled water, the fact that 90% of the purchase price is for the bottle, lid and label and not the actual water should help put things in perspective. It costs roughly 1000 times less to drink tap water than bottled water!
Recycle mobile phones
There are over 31 million phones currently being used in Australia right now. Thanks to the fast pace of new technology these days, there are an estimated 23.5 million old phones sitting unused in cupboards and drawers at home. What many people don’t realise, is that old phones can be recycled. Over 95% of the materials in them can be recovered to make new products; gold, silver, copper, nickel and plastics are just some of the materials that can be salvaged and turned into jewellery, batteries, fence posts and pallets.
MobileMuster, a not-for-profit recycling program, will gladly take your old phones off your hands.
Plan your meals
One third of the food produced in the world for human consumption is wasted. Each year, food that is wasted in rich countries is almost equivalent to the entire net food production of Africa. It’s not only a waste to throw out so much food, but it is costly too. In Australia, we throw out over $8 billion worth of perfectly edible food each year.
You can stop this waste in your own home by planning better. Simply planning your entire weekly meals in advance will stop a lot of waste in your home as you will only buy the ingredients and quantities that you need.
If you still find that you have a lot of food leftover each week, it’s time to get creative. See if you can come up with new and improved dishes using your leftover meals, freeze them or even start a compost heap in the backyard.
Did you know crushed bricks, tiles and concrete can be reused in places such as on roads? If you are doing a major renovation or are a professional builder, hire skip bins that will recycle your old building materials. If you only have a few, you can repurpose them around your home such as by doing some paving in the garden.