With the new year, comes the chance for a new and improved you! One way to be better in 2018 is to live more sustainably. We all know we should live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle but, it can sound a bit ‘too hard basket’. Here are 5 small things you can change in order to live more sustainably in 2019 and protect our environment for future generations!
1. Say no to single-use plastics
50% of the plastic we use, we throw away after one use. In a landfill, a plastic bottle can take up to 450 years to break down and a plastic bag could take up to 1000 years! It’s super easy to start reducing single-use plastics in your life. A few ways are:
- Take your own reusable shopping bags to the supermarket – we were stoked when Countdown became single-use plastic carrier bag free on October 15, 2018 preventing an expected 350 million plastic bags from entering the environment each year.
- Save your pennies and the planet by ditching disposable drink bottles and beverage cups - invest in a quality reusable one and stay hydrated or get your coffee fix in style.
- Sip sustainably by saying no to plastic straws. If you're set on using straws, try stylish reusable ones made from stainless steel.
When you can’t avoid plastic, make sure you dispose of it correctly! Educate yourself about what’s recyclable and how to recycle it here.
2. Participate in peer-to-peer sharing
People have been sharing their stuff for thousands of years, but developments in technology have made it easier for us to share our stuff! Sharing has positive environmental impacts and social benefits. There are a bunch of peer-to-peer sharing companies in New Zealand, including Yourdrive, P2 Power, Airbnb, and Zoomy.
Yourdrive is a peer to peer car sharing platform, connecting people needing to rent a vehicle with vehicle owners with vehicle availability. By renting from private owners, you'll find a wider range of better-value vehicles and more pick-up locations than traditional car rental companies. Plus, you’ll get to meet someone new in the process! Find out more.
3. Go paper free
Live cleaner in both senses of the word, reduce clutter and waste by minimizing paper in your space. It’s super easy to cut back on paper usage. A few ways are:
- Cancel paper statements, bills, invoices etc and get them sent to you digitally instead.
- Put up a no junk mail sign and send advertisers the message.
- Opt out of the automatic phone book delivery - do this here.
When you can’t avoid paper, make sure you’re disposing of it the right way! Every tonne of paper recycled saves more than 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space, 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water and 463 gallons of oil, according to the EPA. Find out more about paper recycling here.
4. Choose local companies
Items produced closer to home don’t need to be transported as far and, food made or grown locally doesn’t need to be packaged as much or frozen before distribution, all using less energy and creating less waste. It’s nice to know you’re helping out your neighbour so, support local companies and individuals. Look for the New Zealand Made seal of approval and check out your local markets.
5. Optimise your car
If you’re in the market for a new car, consider moving to a hybrid or going fully electric! Leaps and bounds have been made in the non-petrol vehicle category over the last few years and there are now a handful of epic Electric vehicles (aka EVs) models available on the mainstream market. Check out the Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Ioniq, Toyota Mirai, BMW i3 and Kia Soul.
Optimise your current vehicle for more efficient use by removing excess weight, keeping your tyres inflated and wheels aligned and changing your oil regularly. How you use your vehicle makes a difference too. Take efficient routes where you’re not sitting in traffic to minimize distance travelled and time spent on the road.
Find out more about driving sustainably here.
We hope you found these tips useful and try implementing them in your life - the planet will thank you!
Give peer-to-peer car sharing a go with Yourdrive. Thousands of Kiwis are already using Yourdrive to rent vehicles from locals.