The Iglu Guide | Blog

5 ways to help the planet without leaving your room

Taking care of our planet doesn’t have to stop when we’re at home. And even though we’re probably spending a lot more time inside than we want to right now, the good work doesn’t have to end there. Here’s how to play your part from the comfort of your own room.

1. Keep tabs on your digital footprint

The internet is powered by a vast physical infrastructure that needs an enormous amount of energy to operate. Unfortunately, many providers are still sourcing their electricity from fossil fuels rather than renewable sources, so as our digital usage increases every year, so does our harm to the environment. Incredibly, digital technology actually accounts for almost 3% of global carbon emissions – so here’s what you can do to help.

Search sustainably: Give Google a much-needed break and try out Ecosia for starters. This search engine was founded on one key principle – using 80% of all profits to plant trees. As well as offsetting the devastating deforestation going on around the world, this enterprise creates habitats, improves climate stability and helps provide jobs. Since launch in 2009, Ecosia has planted over 110m trees, with each search removing 1kg of CO2 from the atmosphere. Every click you make will help plant more trees. Make the switch, track your progress on screen – and feel good about being online.

Free up your storage: If you’re lounging around at home looking for something to do, take the opportunity to get rid of any unused or unwanted apps that are clogging up your phone storage. And while you’re in clean-up mode, unsubscribe from any email newsletters or mailing lists that you no longer use. This is a really easy way to reduce your energy consumption and improve your digital footprint – and best of all, you can do it right from the comfort of your couch.

Downsize your screen time: In an ideal world we would all be cutting back massively on our video downloads, as this sector represents a whopping 60% of the world’s data traffic. But in lockdown, that’s a pretty tough call. Instead, try and stream on a smaller device that uses less power and requires less energy. And for those super quick online searches, save energy usage by reaching for your phone instead of a laptop.

2. Veg out

For many, cooking has become one of the highlights of the day, so why not use this as an opportunity to explore some plant-based meal options and help reduce your carbon emissions along the way.

Eating more vegetable-based meals certainly doesn’t mean you have to abandon meat forever. Instead, think of it as taking a more flexible approach to food. You could start out by committing to one meat-free meal a week and see where you want to take it.

Check out these easy recipe ideas for starters.

3. Skip the shower

Well, maybe not every day… but definitely think about how you can reduce your water consumption using some simple and easy tricks:

  • Keep a bottle of tap water in the fridge – perfectly chilled and ready to go. Leaving the tap running to get to the cold water can actually waste more than 10 litres every day!
  • Don’t leave the tap on while you brush your teeth – this can waste up to 15 litres of precious drinking water.
  • Keep your shower slots short and effective. If you struggle to leave the bathroom, think about investing in a timer so you resist the urge to get carried away.
  • If you have a dishwasher, only use it if you have a full load ready to go. Anything less means you should wash up in the sink, but make sure you use a plug.  

4. Avoid wasting food

Food wastage is a major problem in Australia, with a whopping 7.3 million tonnes wasted every year. When this food gets dumped in landfill it rots away and produces methane, a nasty greenhouse gas that traps heat and contributes to climate change.

But we’re not just wasting the food itself, we’re wasting all the energy and materials it took to grow, package, transport and store. Shopping smarter, freezing our leftovers and composting our food scraps are all easy ways to help reduce carbon emissions.

Top tips:

  • Take a shopping list and stick to it. Only buy what you need and don’t get sucked in by amazing deals on products you won’t use.
  • If you do buy too much of something, batch cook it and freeze in portions so it’s easier to use.
  • Get creative with leftover food by finding recipes that can use up your exact ingredients – and save money along the way.

5. Ride the weather systems

Get sneaky with your heating and cooling by harnessing the seasons across the year – and save money and energy along the way. During the hot summer months, keep your blinds fully closed to block out the heat. This is a natural way of cooling the room, and it means you won’t have to switch on the air conditioning as soon as you wake up.

Similarly, in the colder months you can throw open the blinds to welcome in the winter sun – but keep the windows fully shut to keep out the winter cold. Always warm yourself as much as possible with layers of clothing before thinking about warming the room.

Photo by Katya Austin on Unsplash

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