Five easy ways to make your home more sustainable

Aug 3, 2018 10:27:32 AM | Written by Tracy Ahern

At Au Natural Skinfood, our motto is “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle”. You may think that we are only about skincare, but our team is really passionate about finding ways to help others make their lives and homes more sustainable every day. Starting is the hard part! But remember that every little bit makes a difference.

 

  1. Reduce Packaging

We have reduced our product packaging by not using paper or plastic, but rather choosing to use a shopping tote to keep our products safe on their journey to you. This shopping tote can be reused for your grocery shopping and help with the goal to put a stop to single-use plastic bags.  Also, we send our packages our in compostable courier bags that you can plant, use as tree protectors, or even bags to grow seedlings in.

I have found that being prepared is essential for saying ‘no’ to unnecessary packaging. I make a point of saying ‘no’ to till receipts and I always have a shopping tote on hand for any shopping. Another handy trick is having a clean casserole dish and cardboard box in the boot of my car.  When stopping at my local fish shop or butcher I take in my casserole dish for my purchases, which cuts out the many polystyrene trays and plastic packaging that used to fill my rubbish bin.

Do some research before you head out shopping and choose bulk food and organic stores where you can take your own containers along. This will save you money and greatly reduce what goes to our landfill.

 

  1. Grow Your Own Herbs and Veggies

While our children were growing up, we lived on a lifestyle block outside of Christchurch. We developed our own vegetable garden and started to focus on eating food that we grew ourselves. There are so many benefits to this.

  • The whole family ends up respecting food so much more because they know the effort it takes to get it to the table.
  • There is such joy that comes from watching something grow and nurturing it to the point where it can be picked to eat.
  • Food you grow yourself tastes SO much better.
  • Giving excess food away as gifts creates community and wellbeing for everyone.
  • You only pick what you need and so you reduce waste.
  • Growing your own food also reduces harmful gasses produced by processing and transporting food.

When we moved to a smaller property two years ago, we had to part ways with my veggie garden and start all over again! I was shocked at the price a small handful of herbs costs! Many people think you need a lot of space to grow veggies – but it can be as easy as saving a few old tyres from the landfill, filling them with home grown compost (see my final tip below!) and planting some seeds. This will look good, feed your family and cut costs at home.

 

  1. Sustainable Cleaning

Some years ago a lovely client of mine gave me a second hand copy of  Wendyl's Recipes for a Cleaner Life, which has become my bible. It is amazing how using really simple natural cleaning alternatives such as vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice can keep your home just as clean as the nasty chemicals we have thought we needed in the past.

If making your own cleaning materials is too hard then take time to make sensible choices. It is great to see more choice in local stores and supermarket of natural, plant based detergents that are using non-toxic and sustainable packaging.

 

  1. Clever Storage

Storage and organisation is a good start to making your home sustainable.

Purchasing and storing bulk ingredients in your kitchen can save on money, time, and wastage. Keep all used containers and jars, and use these when shopping at bulk food stores or for storage in your pantry. By re-using we all help towards reducing single use plastic bottles. Use your containers to up-cycle – refashion tins as vases or candle holders, or use jars to deliver home grown flowers to friends as gifts.

If you are an Au Natural Skinfood subscriber, you will have two aluminium tins that your Discovery Kits and Starter Kit arrived in - use these tins for home baking, storage of pens or even re-gifting.

 

  1. Composting

This is my personal favourite, often more than half of household garbage is made up of food and garden waste. Composting is easy and something the whole family can get involved in. By composting your food scraps, you drastically reduce your share of greenhouse gases produced in our landfills. I have a bucket in my kitchen where I put all my vegetable waste, ground coffee, tea bags, egg shells etc. There are many composting systems available - I have a turning barrel I also add grass clippings and leaves to. After starting, I  had beautiful compost to put around my herbs and fruit trees within weeks. The great thing about composting is you see a noticeable difference in the volume of household waste and you know you are making a difference for good.

Another suggestion for our Au Natural Skinfood subscribers is to use your two aluminium tins for collecting your kitchen scraps – practical and attractive at the same time!

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