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Here are some great idea of little changes yu can make around your home to help the environment.
Compost your garden waste.
- Start a worm farm for kitchen waste.
- Don't buy useless packaging.
- Recycle everything you can.
- Use human energy.
- Turn stuff off.
- Shop carefully.
- Save water whenever possible.
DOWNLOAD A REMINDER ABOUT HOW YOU CAN HELP THE PLANET:
1. Compost your garden waste
It's pretty easy to compost garden waste:
Buy a compost bin from somewhere like Mitre 10, or make one. Find out how to construct a compost bin from demolition materials (you'll probably need mum or dad to help you) at Converge.
When you mow the lawns or weed the garden or prune the trees, put the waste in the compost bin - BUT NOT oxalis or alstroemeria or other nasties!!!! That stuff spreads faster than triffids. Put it in the rubbish bin for kerbside collection. (Learn more about weeds at Weedbusters.)
Check out composting tips at Earthcare NZ.
If it's not practical for you to have a compost bin, perhaps your neighbour or friends have one you can contribute to.
2. Start a worm farm for kitchen waste
Ferhad Junior and I started a Worm Farm a couple of years ago, and it's heaps of fun. It's so cool to put food scraps in there, and then go back a week later, and the scraps are gone. In return the worms provide worm tea and vermicast (their wees and poos - hee hee hee!) which are totally awesome fertilisers.
We talked to a lady who put worm poos and wees on one row of trees on her avocado orchard as a test, and those trees produced half as much fruit again as the other trees. She raced out and bought lots of worm bins, and now collects scraps from all her friends to keep the worms fed and gets lots more wees and poos and lots more avocadoes to sell.
Sometimes local councils run worm programmes where you can get a commercial worm bin for free, like we did. Or you can buy one from somewhere like Hungry Bin. Otherwise you can make your own worm bin, which is great as it uses recycled material. Get Mum or Dad to help you!
You can get really good instructions on making a Worm Farm from the Christchuch City Council.
3. Don't buy usless packaging
Avoid unnecessary packaging that cannot be reused or recycled. Use reuseable cloth bags instead of plastic bags. Talk to your Mum or Dad, or maybe your grandparents. They'll remember a time when supermarkets didn't even use plastic bags!
If you have to use plastic bags, then recycle them. If you buy stuff from the bins (where you write the number on the bag), don't just write the number, but write what it is as well (e.g. #7648 pineapple lumps). Have a hook at home that you put the bag on when it is empty, then the next time you go to the supermarket, take the bags and reuse them.
4. Recycle everything you can
New Zealanders throw away 3.6 million tonnes of rubbish every year. If we were to measure this in 9 tonne buses it would equate to 400,000 buses of rubbish - that's more than 1000 buses every day. The crazy thing is that around 65 percent of our "rubbish" could be recycled or composted instead.
Do your parents use plastic bags at the supermarket? TELL THEM TO STOP! Different sources quote different statistics but New Zealanders use around 20 million plastic supermarket bags A WEEK - 10.4 BILLION bags a year! The most common reason given for using a plastic shopping bag is “I use it for the rubbish bin at home”. Why? Why do humans feel the need to put a rubbish bag in a rubbish bin? Are they worried the rubbish bin will get dirty? It is a rubbish bin - its role in life is to get dirty! Put your rubbish straight in the bin and use cloth bags at the supermarket.
Even humans who think they do lots of good stuff for the environment can be guilty of not doing enough. Our human, Kaz, is pretty cool and does lots of volunteer work for conservation and the environment, but Ferhad Junior and I were HORRIFIED when we went through the rubbish bins under the kitchen sink recently. There are two bins - one for recycling, and one for other stuff.
LOOK WHAT WE FOUND IN THE OTHER STUFF BIN!!!!!
Go through you rubbish bin at home and see what is in the general rubbish that could be recycled. Check for the recycling logo:
Also check with your local council what recycling they accept. Not all councils accept the same stuff.
Check out these great websites with lots of information and advice about recycling:
Bellacor (advice about recycling light bulbs instead of chucking them in the rubbish)
5. Use human energy
If you have a choice, buy a product that runs on human energy, instead of a battery or electricity.
Do you really need an electric toothbrush?
Does your dad really need an electric nose hair trimmer? (Eeeeew!)
If you only have a very small lawn, use a hand-pushed mower - not only is it better for the environment, there are no running costs and it keeps you fit.
WALK TO THE CORNER STORE!
6. Turn stuff off
Do you really need every light in the house on?
Do you really need the tv on while you are playing computer games?
Do you really need the computer left on all day?
Do you really need the lights on while you are watching tv? Movie theatres turn off the lights when the movie starts - if you are watching tv, turn the lights off. You don't need them on to see the tv.
Check out Energy Wise for more energy saving ideas.
7. Shop carefully
Buy local when you can. If you have the choice of buying oranges grown in New Zealand or oranges grown in California, use the New Zealand ones. They haven't had to travel across the ocean on a big ship using up lots of oil and gas. And they taste better if they're grown here.
Don't buy stuff you don't need. If you're not going to read a book lots and lots of times, get it out of the library. (I bought all the Harry Potter books - I've read them seven times - but I took The Ranger's Apprentice series out of the library.) If you're not going to watch a DVD lots of times, get it out of the video shop. I buy Doctor Who on DVD - I've seen the whole series four times so far, and Ferhad Junior has watched them eight times, but most other movies we get from the DVD shop.
Don't buy toys you'll only play with a few times.
Don't buy clothes you'll only wear a few times.
For gifts, buy people "experiences" instead of "things" - a trip to the zoo, a concert ticket, or a restaurant voucher.
Find out more ways to "shop green" at Zero Waste.
8. Save water whenever possible
It's a funny thing with humans - half of you don't have enough clean water to drink, while the other half of you have so much that you poo in it! Humans are funny.
The easiest way to save water is to turn the tap off when you brush your teeth. If you brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time, and leave the tap running, you waste approximately 56 litres per day – that's over 20,000 litres a year.
For lots and lots of tips on how to save water visit the Auckland Council website.
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