Taking a break?
Autumn brings Easter and the few days break can be the perfect time to take off and escape for a while from your normal routine. Here are a few tips to help reduce your holiday energy bills as well as your impact.
- Check that electrical appliances like microwaves, kettles, televisions, home entertainment systems and gaming consoles are turned off at the wall so they're not drawing electricity while on standby.
- If you're flying to your holiday destination, you can opt to pay a little extra to offset your air travel's carbon emissions with most Australian airlines. This means the money you pay is directed towards projects which reduce carbon emissions. You can find out about the carbon offset projects from different airlines from their websites. They may include energy efficiency projects, wind or hydro energy projects, either in Australia or overseas. The National Carbon Offset (NCOS) trademark indicates that a business is committed to achieving genuine carbon emission reductions.
- If you take to the road at Easter, make sure your vehicle is well-maintained and that the tyres are inflated to the correct air pressure. Driving efficiently can make a big difference to the fuel consumption and fuel costs of your vehicle. For a medium-sized car, good maintenance could save you money and up to 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted per year compared with a poorly maintained vehicle. If you're renting a vehicle, choose the smallest one that suits your needs to minimise fuel consumption.
- If you're camping or bushwalking, consider using the 'leave no trace' philosophy and don't leave behind any rubbish, use bio-degradable soap (or none at all) for cleaning up. The same applies at the beach—be considerate of other users, marine life and animals, and help keep our beaches clean.
Easter is a time when we indulge in a range of goodies with friends and family. The shopping aisles are overflowing with chocolates wrapped in colourful aluminium foil, plastics and cardboard.
If you're doing some Easter shopping this year, consider choosing products with minimal packaging to reduce waste, and remember to recycle any packaging, including Easter egg foil. Alternatively, try making your own treats, or decorations. A quick browse on the internet will turn up plenty of recipes as well as fun, easy ways to make your own natural dyed eggs with food and spices from your kitchen and garden.
What about some home-grown Easter eggs? Chickens are happy workers that can produce the best eggs you've ever tasted. They also help to minimise food waste as they eagerly dine on your kitchen scraps, including vegies, yoghurt and cheese. They clean up weeds and fallen fruit, turn over your compost heap and provide fertiliser for your garden. With a few basic tools and recycled materials and second-hand timber items, you can put together a chook shed and run to keep your feathered friends safe. Check with your council about regulations for keeping backyard chickens in your area.
If you're looking for ways to reduce waste this Easter, consider giving life changing gifts to people in our world's poorest regions. You can find organisations on the internet which facilitate these charitable programs and choose from a variety of gifts like trees, animals, tools, educational podcasts or even solar power.