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Our Energy Sources | Enova Community Energy

10 easy, sustainable swaps to help this Earth Day (and everyday!)

🌱 We're celebrating our environment and planet as a team here at Enova HQ during Earth Week 2021.

We're proud to have a team of environmentally focused people from all walks of life. In fact, we're actually quite fond of the "greenies" label we get from trolls on social media!

For Earth Day 2021, the Enova greenies put our heads together and collated our top 10 sustainable swaps you can do at home to help the planet. 

 

1. Refill the containers you already have with home & body cleaning products

An easy alternative to buying new plastic containers every time a product runs out is to keep the commercial plastic containers from household cleaners such as hand soap, dish-washing powder, detergent, kitchen and bathroom and spray, laundry liquid/powder.

When you run out, take the containers down to your local bulk store and refill them.

Don't live near a bulk store? Check out the new range of dissolvable products available - for all your home and body needs by Ethique. These products come in sustainable packaging, are certified cruelty free and are added to water in your existing containers to transform into home and body products. 

 

2. Say no to single-use plastics - reuse what you already have

You know those 'single use' plastic veggie bags (the ones you get on the roll in the produce section of the supermarkets)? Often people take a new set every time they shop - just to end up in the bin at home 1 hour later.
 
Produce Cotton Bag- Multipack (3 Sizes) Homestead and CoWe recommend some bamboo or natural material reusable produce bags. Or, even rinsing and reusing 1 set of plastic bags. Plastic takes a really long time to break down, and these bags can be washed just like you clean a clip lock seal bag! 

Another simple swap is to choose a reusable stainless steel water bottle - some can keep your water chilled for up to 12 hours! Single-use plastic water bottles contribute to the 8 million tons of plastic that end up in our oceans each year, so avoid the temptation to buy bottled water and help stop single-use plastic! 

Ceramic Travel CupThe same goes for your coffee cups - did you know that most takeaway coffee cups can't be recycled as normal? This is because they're actually coated in plastic to make them able to hold liquid without leaking all over the place. A ceramic coffee travel mug is a fantastic way to enjoy coffee on the go without costing the earth.

Pottery For The Planet Travel Cup

 

3. Reduce plastic and emissions. Buy straight from the source (don't forget your bags!)

An all time top tip is to get down to your local farmers market and buy spray-free and plastic-free groceries straight from local farmers

You'll love getting home with a week's worth of food and not a bit of plastic in sight, all while supporting Australian farmers and your local community!

Jami

 

4. Recycle soft plastics

Soft plastics in most cases can't go straight into your normal recycle bin. In fact, soft plastics can snag the conveyor belts in recycling centres so it's really advised to separate them from your everyday recycling.

You can recycle soft plastics at most supermarkets however. Simply put them in a bag and save them up until it's time for your next shop. 

Some districts however can recycle soft plastics by putting them in a separate larger bag until very full and then placing them in your home recycling bin.  By being in a larger bag they are easily identified and classified and won't snag recycling machinery. 
 
 

5. Recycle right

12 Recycling Rules for Your Yellow Bin

We did a team recycle bin audit at Enova - and some eagle-eyed greenies spotted some swaps we needed to make!

"The Dirty Dozen: 12 Recycling Rules for Your Yellow Bin" by Northern Rivers Waste says recyclable containers need to be empty and free of food but they don’t need to be washed. Save some of your time and elbow grease!

Food and food-soiled paper and cardboard items such as pizza boxes and paper towel do not belong in your recycling bin. Please put these items in your green organics bin.

 

6. Choose sustainable home products

Tiny fibres from synthetic cleaning cloths can detach over time during use. Just by rinsing a cloth, these synthetic fibres go down the drain and into our waterways, and unfortunately won't be broken down for a really long time.

An easy swap is to choose compostable or washable and reusable sponges or wipes that are made from natural products such as bamboo. They're super absorbent and tough enough to be reused time and time again. 

Swap cling film for beeswax wraps (or cellulose-based/compostable versions). The same goes for bin bags, you can now get bin bags that are made from sugar cane!Beeswax Wrap
 Beeswax food wraps by Homestead & Co

 

7. Watch out for "greenwashing"

We'd like to advise our community to watch out for sneaky 'green' washing. Just like some companies claim to be environmentally focused, after a quick bit of research you may find that the household product or company is just greenwashing their brand with clever marketing ploys. 
 

  

8. Go paperless - switch your online statements to email

This one is easy - switch to online statements and bills to reduce paper waste and easily access your details and statements anywhere you go.

If you're in an environmentally focused switching mood, why not make a triple switch - switch your bank, super and energy providers to ones that don't contribute to harmful industries. 

 

9. Get creative in the kitchen

We were surprised and delighted when our kitchen wizards started sharing some amazing sustainability tips! Here are some of our kitchen favourites:

  • Make your own bread spread using 70-75% butter and the rest canola or sunflower oil bought in bulk - with no additives! This spread is tasty, easy to make and can be added into your own containers to avoid single-use plastic.

  • Make your own delicious crackers - free from refined flour, industrial seed oils and preservatives.
  • Composting or feeding scraps to chooks are a great way to get rid of food waste instead of throwing it all in the bin for landfill.

  • Make pots of loose leaf tea instead of buying tea bags - it's a nice ritual and doesn't involve single-use packaging.

  • For meals use fabric napkins /serviettes that can be washed and reused. 

crackers+1

Preservative-free crackers by Good Gut Garden
 

10. Environmentally focused celebrations 

mdm.ceramics citrus juicerFor all parties and celebrations, think about alternative decorations and gifts to traditional plastic balloons or toys. 

It's a great opportunity to be creative or choose beautiful handmade crafts and support small businesses. 

Look for sustainable partyware made from natural materials (and remember to not be greenwashed!).

You can also encourage family and friends to get greener by requesting environmentally friendly gifts for yourself - you'll start a trend!

 

Handmade citrus juicer by mdm.ceramics

You can do it!

Making this list was a great discussion for our team - and we even made some helpful changes in the office after a friendly team recycling bin audit. 

We would LOVE to hear your top tips - please feel free to share them in the comments section!

 🌏

 

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