Going green was a craze a couple of years ago. While it hasn’t remained a rampant talking point across the internet, living in an environmentally friendly way is still (and will always be) crucial to saving the planet. This sounds like a big ask, and yet the average consumer can now be considered a green consumer because everyone has grown a conscience about their wasteful behaviour. It’s safe to say that most consumers have become green consumers.
According to regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, South African homeowners are finding ways to cut costs by going green,
“The term ‘green’ is not a new concept within the property market, however, with electricity pricing pressure it continues to gain momentum among home buyers. More and more buyers consider energy efficiency as an important factor when searching for the ideal property,” Goslett told Property24.com.
Environmental sustainability practices seem to be only for massive corporations
And they are, but the man on the street should be practising environmental sustainability too. Purchasing from eco-friendly product and service providers is the better buy and key to ensuring our planet is protected as our consumerism and population grows. The environmental impact from products created by manufacturers who don’t follow eco-friendly practices are resounding. From landfills overflowing, to there being more plastic waste in the ocean than fish by the year 2050.
Implementing environmental sustainability practises in your personal life sounds like an overwhelming overhaul of your home is needed, but not so. Choosing to go green in your family life is far easier than it sounds. Yes, there are complicated projects you can take on such as building a greywater system in your home so you don’t waste fresh water, or having solar panels fitted so that your electrics are powered by the sun. But, there are also easier decisions you can make that won’t drastically change your personal space however could help to positively impact our planet.
So, do you even thrift? No, seriously…
Thrift shopping is the practice of many a new-age, future-thinking, philosophical hipster prone to any anti-mainstream movements. But, thrift shopping has its place in our society that so desperately needs to stop being wasteful. The popular fashion we love and the wonderful trendy home decor pieces we indulge in when we’re going through “a phase” are not necessarily eco-friendly. In fact, most times they aren’t green at all and when we dispose of them they end up in landfills, unable to biodegrade thus negatively affecting the surrounding environment. By thrift shopping and donating goods to thrift stores, you’re helping to prolong the lifecycle of these goods and ultimately keep them out of the environment where they can cause havoc.
Second-tier thrifting is upcycling
If you’re sold on the idea of thrift shopping then you should definitely look at upcycling stores or manufacturers. Upcycling is the idea of using what would otherwise be discarded materials and using them to create a new version of the object or something different but of a high value. Upcycled furniture is extremely popular. Interior designers have a lot of insights into using upcycled furniture to cement interior decor themes such as vintage, retro, shabby chic and industrial chic. This means your old kitchen cabinets may turn into bespoke dinner trays on which you serve your canapes at a dinner party. Or your grandparents old leather and wood suitcases become your new feature piece coffee table. There’s job creation involved here too. Visit any market on a Saturday morning and you’re bound to find innovative furniture or art pieces that have been recreated through upcycled materials. They’ll look designer and bespoke but cost you a fraction of the price of a new designer piece.
You see, when we think of emissions, greenhouse gasses and the greenhouse effect, we think of transport. But, even in the production of various normal household items there are dangerous emissions that affect our air and environment. Therefore purchasing vintage items, supporting thrift shops and buying second-hand means that you’re behaving in an environmentally friendly way as best you can and when you can.
And speaking of emissions, let’s talk cars
If you wanting to protect the environment don’t buy a new vehicle, rather opt for pre owned cars. Not even a hybrid. The building of a new vehicle as well as the disposal of it has a severe impact on the environment. So even if you purchase a hybrid or a good fuel economic vehicle you’re still allowing that negative impact to occur. Studies indicate that most carbon dioxide emissions happen when the vehicle is being built and when it is shipped, as Scientific American reports,
“A 2004 analysis by Toyota found that as much as 28 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions generated during the lifecycle of a typical gasoline-powered car can occur during its manufacture and its transportation to the dealer; the remaining emissions occur during driving once its new owner takes possession. An earlier study by Seikei University in Japan put the pre-purchase number at 12 percent.”
Furthermore, purchasing a second-hand vehicle from a pre owned cars lot means one less car on the scrap heap and a lot less waste sent to the landfills. Even with the new wave of electric cars on the market, they’re not green unless their batteries are charged from a renewable power source and not a coal burning power station.
Every small change helps
In your daily household activities you can do small things that help towards a big change. Consider replacing your lightbulbs with energy-saving bulbs and air seal or insulate your home. This way you keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter as opposed to making use of temperature control devices. Also, consider insulating your geyser by using a geyser blanket as hot water is a complete energy sap and then unplug and switch off all unused appliances. The standby light that stays on all day everyday is using unnecessary amounts of electricity in your home.