Real Life

5 easy things you can do to help the planet on World Environment Day

No time to plant a tree or go to a protest? No problem.

By Alex Lilly
Whenever we scroll through our news feeds and switch on the TV or radio, it feels like we're being bombarded with doom and gloom about the deteriorating environment.
And yes, the situation is pretty dire, but there is hope. World Environment Day 2019 is celebrated on June 5th and there is something we can do that day and every day. Keep scrolling to find out how you can embrace your inner eco-warrior whether you're shopping or just heading to work.

1. Shop smarter

Turns out the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries on the planet. In fact, Aussies put a whopping 6,000 kilograms of textiles into landfill every 10 minutes.
So next time you head out on a shopping spree, Jaana Quaintance-James, Head of Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing at THE ICONIC says it's important to identify what matters to you.
"Once you know what's important to you, it becomes a lot clearer to find information about what good looks like."
She also recommends buying practical things you love and taking care of them and to research the brands you love to see their environmental ethos and values, which you can see on the new THE ICONIC Considered edit.
"Look for longevity in your core wardrobe and versatile pieces that can be paired with multiple styles to make sure you get the most wear out of your purchases."
"Nobody Denim, Romance Was Born and Running Bare are brands that manufacture most or all of their final stages of production in Australia. Additionally, brands like KITX have made great progress in sustainable Australian designer fashion, using more sustainable materials and components."
Look for longevity in your clothing choices so you will wear and get the most out of them. (Image: Getty Images)

2. Reduce your meat intake

A juicy steak or Big Mac may sound tempting, but the meat on your plate also has an effect on the planet. And not in a good way.
Loss of wild areas to farming is the number one cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife. And in a shocking study published in journal Science, research found that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75 per cent and still feed the world.
You don't have to go completely cold turkey, but limiting your meat and dairy intake will ultimately make your global footprint smaller.

3. Get composting

Did you know that more than half of Australian household waste is organic and a colossal 10.5 million tonnes of organic waste goes to landfill?
Organic waste creates methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times worse than carbon dioxide. But if Australians composted this waste, it would take out the pollution of 750,000 cars off the road.
Composting expert and Managing Director at Maze Products, Ronen Mazor says, "Backyards are perfect for larger composting bins such as tumblers that recycle garden and kitchen waste to use as rich fertiliser for the garden. Small courtyards are great for indoor composters using Bokashi micro-organisms, which will enable you to bury household waste for quick breakdown or a smaller composter that doesn't take up much space. Apartment balconies can also be effective for composting, using various sized worm farms that turn organic waste into fertiliser using kitchen scraps"
Compost bins can be bought from all sorts of gardening centres or your local Bunnings.
YOU CAN COMPOST
  • Kitchen fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Egg shells
  • Bread
  • Milk
  • Juice
  • Cut flowers
  • Green leaves
  • Grass clippings
  • Green weeds (avoid putting in seeds or runners)
  • Brown leaves
  • Dead grass
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Soil
  • Mulch
  • Sawdust
NEVER COMPOST
  • Chunky meat
  • cheese
  • Very oily wastes
  • Plastics
  • Weeds
  • Diseased plants
  • Treated sawdust

4. Ditch your car...even for a little bit

This year's theme for World Environment Day is #BeatAirPollution and while not all of us can plant a tree, we can make a difference when it comes to the modes of transport we choose.
According to the UN, transport emissions are linked to a shocking USD one trillion in health damages and nearly 400,000 deaths each year so next time you drive your car, walk, cycle or catch public transport if you can.
Even if you have to drive, see if you can drive part of the way and walk or ride your bike the rest of the way. It may not be as convenient, but the planet and your lungs will thank you for it.
Take action now. (Image: Instagram @projectplastick)

5. Recycle your soft plastics

From 2000-2012, waste generated in cities doubled so recycling has never been more important. We all have bins at home where cardboard and hard plastics can be recycled, but you can do even more.
Many participating supermarkets including Coles and Woolies have a REDcycle collection bin where you can place all your soft plastics like bread bags, cereal box liners, plastic bags, pasta and rice bags and more. Basically if you can screw it into a ball, it can go here.
Instead of going into landfill, your soft plastics are sent off for initial processing and then delivered to Victorian manufacturer Replas where they're transformed into a huge range of recycled-plastic products, from fitness circuits to sturdy outdoor furniture, bollards, signage and more.