Five steps to a greener home
Eco living. Between work, home life, busy schedules and kids it's become one of those think-about-it-later issues.
But with rising energy costs and increasing social awareness, now is a good time to make your home and lifestyle more environmentally friendly.
1. Green furnishings and homewares
Sustainable furnishings and homewares are popping more and more frequently.
Antique and second hand furniture is a great place to start - there are charity stores stocked to the brim with everything from dining tables to tea cups, all at next to nothing prices.
Antique stores tend to lean more towards the expensive side but offer valuable, good quality pieces.
There are also often green alternatives available for practical home wares. Even items you would never think of, such as Eco Hang who have a replacement for metal or plastic hangers with durable, non-toxic, compost-friendly paperboard hangers.
Interior design has also seen a huge push towards using recycled and repurposed materials to build furniture, often resulting in quirky or beautiful pieces that have a rustic and natural feel.
It's also nice to think your furniture has a history - and it's a talking point!
2. Edible garden
Make like spunky celeb chef Jamie Oliver and turn your garden into your own home grown food source.
Planting leafy salad, vegetables, herbs and fruit will not only look beautiful but you'll have a renewable source of the freshest produce a hop, skip and jump from your kitchen.
There are so many benefits - you'll save money, save the planet and you'll know you're eating organic food because you have control over it.
Best of all, if you get the kids out learning and helping to grow it, evidence proves they are more likely to eat it when it appears on their dinner plates.
Our number one tip? Start small (with herbs and leafy greens) and build upon it over time.
3. Buyer beware
Read up on everyday products you buy and use.
Traditional cleaning products are high in toxic chemicals - which can have a negative impact on not only the environment but also the health of you and your family.
Start by looking at the labels on the products you buy and compare them to the green brands available.
Websites like Greenclean will give you more in-depth advice on how to switch over to a completely eco-friendly clean home.
Other products to consider are skin and beauty cosmetics - look for organic and biodynamic products.
4. Reusable grocery bags
This is an obvious option but have a look around at the supermarket checkouts... most consumers are still filling up hundreds of plastic bags.
Environmentally friendly grocery bags are reasonably inexpensive, readily available and if everyone did their bit, would have an enormous impact on the planet.
They last for years before needing to be replaced.
Keep them in the boot of your car so that you're prepared for even those unplanned stops at the grocery store.
5. Buy less
This will be welcome advice for your bank balance: if you really want to cut down on unnecessary waste just buy less.
How often do you fill your supermarket trolley with fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy and other perishable goods to find at the end of the week you've not used it all and it ends up in the bin?
Many of us are guilty of this. And it's an enormous waste of money, produce and valuable resources.
Cut down your waste by planning your meals and shopping for only the perishables you need in smaller amounts, more frequently.
So rather than a weekly or fortnightly mass shop, go to the store every couple of days to pick up the produce you need on an ad hoc basis.
Sydney Morning Herald