We can all do our part to protect our planet from pollution, climate change, and the general destructive nature of humans by taking a long, honest look at our daily habits. You may be surprised at how much you use natural resources and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions when you sit down and assess your daily behaviour.
If you’re looking to make a few changes in 2023, the habits below are a great place to start. It’s important to keep in mind: none of these habits are going to magically change the condition of our environment. But doing your part when you can to minimise your own carbon footprint in your daily life is a small, very worthwhile, step in the right direction.
1. Start composting.
According to WWF, in South Africa, 10 million tonnes of food go to waste every year. That’s a third of the 31 million tonnes produced annually in South Africa.
Of this, fruits, vegetables and cereals account for 70% of the wastage and loss primarily throughout the food supply chain – from farm to fork.
Composting food scraps,organic household and garden waste such as paper, leaves and grass cuttings, are an easy way to keep these items out of landfills, where they contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. By composting them instead, you’ll lower your carbon footprint and end up with healthy, nutrient-rich soil. You can easily set up a compost area at home with minimal space requirements, or find out more about the community composting program.
2. Use water more consciously.
Water is a precious resource that many of us take for granted. According to News24, the average family use 235 litres of water per day compared to a world average of 185 litres. Water conservation is easy, it just requires some thought and a few bad habits to break. For example, wait until the dishwasher is completely full before running it. When you’re hand-washing dishes, don’t leave the water running, turn it off when you’re not actively rinsing. You should do the same when brushing your teeth. Check if your showers, and toilets leak, and replace old fixtures with water-efficient ones. Not only is conserving water more eco-friendly, it’s much friendlier on your bank account too.
3. Buy fewer single-use plastics.
How many items do you buy that are packaged in or made of single-use plastics? As the name implies, single-use plastics are items you use once and then discard. Most single-use plastics end up in landfills or floating around in the environment littering our streets. You probably use plastic bags every day, but you also use plastic food containers, plastic dinnerware, plastic condiment bottles, plastic water bottles, and pretty much anything else in plastic packaging that you don’t reuse. When you can, try buying items packaged in glass or cardboard, more environmentally friendly material or a material that is recyclable. Bring your own glass jars to buy from the bulk section if your grocery store allows it. Carry around a reusable water bottle so you don’t need to buy plastic ones.
Making more eco-conscious decisions is clearly good for the planet, and it can even save your family some money along the way. You can start small if that feels more doable. Just making a few simple changes can have a huge impact, and it’s up to each of us to do our part. Above all else, becoming a more sustainable person is good example for those around us.