Adopt a plant-based diet and reduce food waste
- Eat less meat, poultry and fish, and substitute with produce – preferably locally grown
- Compost all of your vegetarian food scraps – a rubbish bin with holes drilled under the lid is all you need
Compost your food scraps
When food scraps end up in anaerobic conditions such as happens in landfill, it gives off methane which is much more destructive in the atmosphere than CO2. If you follow the tips in Creating the Best At-Home Composting System you can turn your scraps instead, into organic fertiliser for your garden. This easy-to-follow guide covers everything from how to start your own compost pile to how to use your finished compost.
Minimize fossil fuel-based travel
Minimize car travel
- Walk, cycle or use public transport instead of the car
- Car-pool whenever possible
- Combine as many errands/stops as possible into each trip
- Purchase a vehicle with low emissions/high fuel economy; avoid SUVs; hybrid vehicles are cost competitive when you count fuel economy
- Keep your car in good repair, tyres properly inflated, and wheels aligned
- Turn off the engine if you will sit for more than 15 seconds
- Control your speed as much as possible by decelerating, instead of using the brakes and accelerator
- Slow down! Every 8 km/hour above 90 decreases fuel efficiency by 3 - 4%
- Remove car-top carriers when not in use
- Remove unnecessary cargo from your vehicle; tools and liquids are common culprits.
Minimize air travel
- Install good video-conferencing (such as Zoom) on your PC, and maximise its use to avoid plane travel
- Avoid discretionary flights such as for holidays
- Travel economy class rather than business class (which has nearly three times the carbon footprint!)
- Take holidays within Australia rather than travel overseas. Have you been to see what overseas tourists come here to see?
- If you need to travel between Capitals such as Melbourne and Sydney, go one way (or both ways) by train. See how much reading you can catch up on!
Reduce my emissions from my home energy use and move towards green energy
- Switch incandescent to LED light bulbs – they will pay for themselves within two years and last for 20
- Allow (in winter) or block (in summer) direct sunlight coming into your home, in order to create or avoid heat, respectively, by opening or closing shutters or curtains
- Maintain your heating, cooling and hot water systems according to manufacturer’s recommendations; lower the hot water heater temp.
- Install and learn how to use a timer-driven thermostat. With most heating/cooling systems, it does save energy to change the thermostat if you will leave the house for one hour or more.
- When replacing cooling/heating equipment and major appliances, choose highest efficiency models, which are generally cheaper in the long run.
- Remove or add clothing, rather than changing the thermostat
- Heat/aircon. should be lowered by at least 5 degrees at night; add or remove blankets to compensate.
- Switch from gas to green electricity. The ACT Conservation Council have a Make the Switch project to encourage / support households in the ACT to get off gas and switch to clean renewable energy. The website provides information about why to switch off gas at home, how to go about it, and answers a whole load of questions that consumers may have about appliances, environmental impacts, connections etc. It also includes a calculator in which consumers can enter their own data about their gas use, and get out the 10 year savings from switching as compared to the upfront cost of appliance switching. The website is written for the specific context of the ACT, but is useful also to motivated readers: https://maketheswitch.org.au