Choose just one simple action for 2013; or if you are really keen you can pledge to take on all ten!
1. Grow More of Your Own Produce.
If you aren't growing anything at home yet, start small with a few herbs. Just wait and see how having fresh herbs at your fingertips will enhance your cooking! The addition of a few fresh basil leaves to a simple salami & tomato sandwich or salad, makes for a far more interesting lunch! Not to mention only having to cut what you need, and not having to watch the rest of the bunch wilt in the fridge - such a waste of food and money! You don't need a lot of space - you will be amazed at how much food you can grow on your balcony. We love Indira Naidoo's book "The Edible Balcony" and her Saucy Onion blog - full of ideas, inspiration and beautiful recipes.
2. Share excess produce with a neighbour.
Find out if your neighbours have food gardens too. You can rest assured that some of yours and their crops will produce more than what you need for your individual households. Rather than letting your harvests go to waste, exchange your excesses, i.e. if you have too many tomatoes and your neighbour has too many cucumbers, do a swap! A great way to build good neighbour relations as well.
3. Think Local - reduce food kms
Be more aware of where your food is coming from. You can't get any more local than using produce from your own backyard, but very few of us can be entirely self sufficient. Shop at your local farmers markets, independent butcher, fruit shop, deli etc; and be inquisitive as to where your food has come from - question the vendor and read labels. Find your local farmers market on the Australian Farmers' Market directory http://www.farmersmarkets.org.au
4. Compost your Kitchen Scraps
Start a composting system in your home garden. For the average family household, we recommend having two compost bins - one that will be active, and one that is in waiting for the active one to become full. Once the active bin is full let it rest, and the waiting bin then becomes the active one. After approx 3 months, your resting compost will be completely composted and will be ready to use in your vegetable garden. You will be reducing the amount of waste that ends up in your 'landfill' bin.
5. Start a Worm Farm
Worms are perfect pets! They will eat lots of your kitchen scraps, and their 'wee' and 'poo' are gold for your food garden. Unlike most pets, worms can be left when you go on holidays without too much trouble. (See our Summer Holiday tips for your Garden). Our February newsletter will contain our guide to starting up various types of worm farms.
Before you put something in the bin or head out to go shopping, rethink what you are doing. You may be able to able to find a reuse for the item that you are directing to landfill, and you may realise that you don't actually need to update your mobile phone, or spend more money on extra clothes or shoes.
This word can be applied to lots of aspects of your life. Here are just a few simple reductions that you can make:
- Reduce the amount of food that goes to waste in your household by not doing one huge weekly supermarket shop. You will find that shopping more regularly during the week will mean that you are less likely to overestimate the food your household requires.
- Reduce the amount of electricity that you use (and consequently your electricity bill) by switching off the light when you leave the room, using your clothesline more than your dryer and turning your electrical appliances off at the power point rather than just hitting the power switch on the appliance itself.
- Reduce the amount of household waste that ends up in your landfill by making that you recycle plastics, paper and glass; and compost or feed your worms your kitchen scraps.
More often than not there are ways that we can reuse items that we have become accustomed to tossing to landfill without too much thought. There is even potential to find a reuse for those items that we have been taught to toss in the recycling bin. My sister came up with the gorgeous idea of reusing empty glass jars as candle holders and vases for the table decorations at the Reception of her upcoming wedding in February. Candlelight emitted from the variety of sizes of jars she has collected is going to provide a very beautiful, romantic, rustic ambience for the Wedding celebrations (I will post photos!) What a beautiful idea for our homes too! Don't forget to check out our January Children's Activity which encourages your children to consider reusing items rather than deciding that there is no use for them.
Be more aware of the recycle symbol on various household waste items before tossing them! You will find that there are many more waste items that can go in your recycling bin than you realise. If you are decluttering or moving house, you will find the following PlanetArk website very useful: http://recyclingnearyou.com.au
There is to be no guilt associated with breaking any of these New Year's Resolutions. The idea of these pledges is to encourage simple actions so that you can living a less complicated life, as well as a more sustainable one! You will find that by just reading and considering carefully each of these pledges, you will be drawn to action some of them.