How to Be a Sustainability Guru in 2023

How to be more sustainable

Sustainability isn’t just a growing trend anymore, it’s becoming a way of life. And right now, it might sometimes feel that some are better at living sustainably than others. We all know one, a ‘sustainability guru’ who is leading the charge towards living an eco-friendly life. But what does it mean to be a sustainability guru? What are some of the things they do, and how can you emulate their behaviour? Here are some ideas:

Start Composting

Composting is a great way to reduce waste and save money. It’s also easy to do at home, even if you’re not exactly an avid gardener. If your yard or balcony isn’t big enough for an outdoor compost bin, no worries — you can make your own indoor “earth box” with just a few basic supplies.

You’ll be amazed at the things you can actually throw into the compost. To keep your worms happy, you’ll want to mix up what you’re adding. Fruits and vegetables are of course winners, but you can also add in egg shells, coffee grinds (filters as well), and nuts and grains. Avoid adding dairy products, and meat products as they can attract rodents to your compost, and can cause unwanted smells.

Try Your Hand at Backyard Gardening

One of the most important and practical ways that you can be a sustainability guru is to grow your own food in your backyard or balcony. If you have space, it’s easy and relatively cheap. For instance, if you have a balcony, a few pots hung from a trellis could make a quick and easy herb garden that you can call upon when cooking.

If you have a small yard which you want to grow food in, you only need approximately one square metre with some consistent sunshine to grow leafy greens, tomatoes, or cucumbers.

Gardening isn’t just for those with big yards; there are other ways to make it happen in smaller spaces such as apartment balconies. Urban gardens (also called vertical gardens) use plants like herbs and tomatoes that don’t need much space or care, so they’re ideal for urban dwellers who have limited growing options beyond their windowsill plants.

Turn the Water Off When Not in Use

Make a habit of turning off the water while brushing your teeth, washing dishes or scrubbing pans. You might be surprised how much water it will save in the long run. A running tap can use about 16L of water every minute, so the less you leave it running, the better. Doing so could save you more than 11,000L of water in a year.

But why should we care so much about turning off our taps? It’s no secret that water is certainly a limited resource; there are many countries around the world where clean drinking water is scarce.

If everyone were to make small changes like these every day, we could make a big difference in terms of conserving resources and could also save money.

Switch to Paperless Billing

Instead of receiving your bills and statements in the mail, ask the supplier if you can receive them electronically. Check with your bank if you can enable this option with your statements. The same goes for utility companies and bills: find out if they have the ability to send these electronically and if so, sign up.

Your credit card accounts may also be able to send receipts via email, so check with your card issuer about this possibility. If so, set up those accounts for electronic delivery as well.

Donate Used Items Rather Than Throwing Them Away

Sometimes there’s nothing better than decluttering your home to rid it of unused or unwanted items, but this shouldn’t mean these items end up in the bin. Consider dropping clothes, shoes, linens and bags into a charity bin, books to a library or even a street library if your neighbourhood has set one up (or create one yourself) and check electronic stores for recycling facilities for old devices and batteries.

Almost 80% of unwanted textiles end up in landfill. Making changes to how you dispose of unwanted clothing can go a long way in helping reduce the amount of clothing that ends up at the tip.

Where You Can, Use a Reusable Drink Bottle

Leaving the house, why not BYO that ‘emotional support’ drink bottle along? Not only is it a cheaper option, but it’s also better for the planet and with endless design options, is a fun way to show off your personality, too. More than 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year, with a large amount of that being made up of plastic bottles.

Unplug Unused Electronics In Your Home

Turn off the power boards when not in use and turn off the appliance at the wall, or unplug appliances that are not being used (i.e coffee maker) to conserve electricity. Also consider unplugging some items when you go on vacation or out of town for extended periods of time — like televisions, computers, printers and microwaves.

Switch Incandescent Light Bulbs for LEDs

Incandescent light bulbs are inefficient, use more energy and have a shorter lifespan than their LED counterparts. While LED lights may cost more up-front, they can offer an easy way to reduce your energy consumption in the long run.

Dress for the Season

If you live in a place where it gets warm during the summer, wear clothes appropriate for the temperature and amp up the degrees rather than running the A/C all day long. While it’s tempting to blast the air conditioning at 16°C degrees to turn your home into a North-Pole heaven, the most efficient air conditioner temperature is actually 21°C to 23°C in northern parts of Australia, whereas it’s more efficient to run your air conditioner between 24°C and 28°C Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia,

Don’t forget to check any delightful afternoon breezes and open up some windows to help cool down your home, too.

Plan Your Driving Route

A big part of being more sustainable is reducing your carbon footprint. One easy way to do that? Plan your route to minimise time spent idling in traffic or at stoplights.

If you can, try to avoid rush hour traffic by driving later in the morning or earlier in the evening and check your car settings if you have an eco-friendly drive mode. Don’t forget to carpool if possible, if you fill every seat in your car that’s four cars off the road.

Better yet, grab your local public transport timetable and plan your journey accordingly, or if possible, grab a bike and take the scenic route.

When Cooking, Match Pot Size to Burner Size

This one may catch you by surprise, especially if you’re like me and have a favourite burner (bottom left), but how often do you use a large burner for a small pot? If you’re only making something small, you’re using more energy than necessary and this is an easy hack to get to know your other burners.

The journey to becoming a sustainable guru may take some time, but it’s better to start now and do your best to implement the sustainability tips above than to not do anything at all.

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.

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.