6 Accidental Ways to Be More Sustainable at Home

For many people, sustainability may feel like an uphill battle. Working tenants of sustainability into our lives is a challenge, as it involves introducing new ways of living and fresh habits into your existing routines.

However, one easy way to reframe this thinking is by looking at the ways your parents, grandparents, and even yourself may have already been incidentally living a sustainable existence. Little actions all add up and introducing passive sustainability habits into our lives can be both energy-saving and waste-reducing.

Ahead, we look at six ways that many of us are likely to have practised sustainable living at home at some point and explain exactly how it’s good for the planet (and you!). 

Freeze Food

Bought too much bread on sale? Chances are you are already freezing your leftover slices so they last longer and so you always have some on hand for a last-minute lunch. Freezing helps to reduce the likelihood of food (bread, vegetables, prepared meals — basically anything) going bad as it is less likely to be exposed to humidity and warmer conditions. By freezing leftover food, you’re making it last longer and thus reducing the chances of it ending up in the bin before you get the chance to finish it off.

Image: Getty Images

Pro tip: lightly spray your slices of bread with water before toasting or thawing them, so it tastes good as new!

Scrape Everything

Bottle caps, toothpaste, squeeze packs — scrape out every last bit. 

The most common item we all try to get out every last drop is a toothpaste tube. There is a myriad of ways to extract the last of the toothpaste from the tube, and we’ve tried everything from rolling it up from the end, scraping it along a counter to push the remnants of product up, or squeezing the last bit out for seemingly weeks. 

The same principle works for bottled food or food in squeeze packs. Make sure you scrape every last bit of juice from the package to ensure you aren’t wasting a single bit.

Buy in Bulk 

In most supermarkets, household items like laundry detergent, oil, and soap are often available in large quantities at a bulk price. Most of us buy these items for cost savings and separate decant these items into smaller bottles to use easily every day and this is prudent to do, as it reduces the amount of plastic packaging waste. Take this a step further by saving the large bottles and taking them to a refilling station (often found at bulk wholefood sellers and health food stores) to reuse the packaging over and over again.

Machine Wash in Cold Water

Washing machines are one of the highest energy-absorbing appliances in the house. Washing clothes in cold water saves energy as it reduces the electricity involved in heating the water before washing, plus it reduces the amount of time taken for the load to be cleaned, thus further cutting down on power usage. Cold water is also as efficient at cleaning clothes and you can even buy specific detergent that works best in the cooler water.

Collecting Cold Water to Water Plants

In the middle of winter, you are likely to have to stand in the shower or by the sink waiting for the water to heat up, and all that water goes straight down the drain. One simple way to save water around the house is to collect this cold water and use it for another purpose. Use it to water your plants, wash vegetables when you bring them home from the supermarket, for cleaning, or fill up the kettle while it warms. Every (literal) drop counts!

Dishwaters Saves Water 

Washing dishes by hand sends more than seven litres per minute down the drain, while dishwashers typically use between seven and 20 litres of water per cycle (depending on the setting and size of the dishwasher). If you’re a family or share an apartment with a few other people, it is likely that you will accumulate enough dishes to fill a dishwasher in a day or two, so using a dishwasher (which is admittedly an investment) allows you to save a lot of water in the long run. 

Not every aspect of sustainability needs to be complex or throw out your routines because most of us who grew up with prudent parents are likely to have inherited these practices already, which are zero-waste and energy-saving at heart. 

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Any representations, views or opinions contained in this article are those of The Latch and do not reflect those of and are not endorsed by Suncorp Bank.