Strategies for minimising your footprint
A sustainable home and community is one which supports itself and its surroundings. It is the practice of reducing our impact on the earth’s natural resources, reducing our carbon footprint and living healthier lives. Although we’ve made great improvements in our waste disposal habits over recent years, there are still lots of ways we can do more.
Of the 2.7 tonnes per capita of waste generated in Australia each year, over half (1.4 tonnes) is generated from municipal or construction/demolition sources. Although recycling rates have continued to increase, our rising population and single use/throwaway culture mean more and more material is being sent to landfill. Exacerbating this problem, as of 1 January, 2018 China has stopped taking much of Australia’s recyclable plastics, causing many to declare Australia’s recycling industry in crisis.
Home remodeling and construction can be one of the biggest contributions we will make in our lifetime to the waste stream. Much of this waste can be avoided by on-site reuse, re-sale or reprocessing of materials.
In every aspect of our lives we need to rethink our relationship with stuff, and always think of the four Rs: refuse (single use or throwaway items), reduce (the items you consume), reuse (items you own or buy used items) and recycle (think about the end of life of anything you consume).
In a research study at ANU, Matthew Doolan and Anna Boyden considered the full life cycle of lithium ion batteries and their recycling options to assess environmental pluses and minuses. They present a summary here.Read more
Vetting the green credentials of building products is difficult for everyone. We find out how the experts go about this tricky task.Read more
Sarah Coles explores the environmental and social benefits of diverting textiles from the waste stream.Read more
Adored for its thermal mass benefits and durability, concrete remains one of the most popular building materials in the world, but its shockingly high embodied carbon footprint cannot be ignored. Luckily, there are now a number of greener alternatives available. Jacinta Cleary examines how they have performed in three different homes.Read more
Concrete is a beloved building material for its thermal mass benefits, versatility, strength and durability, yet comes at the cost of shockingly high embodied carbon. Happily, more environmentally friendly mixes are coming online. Experienced sustainable designer Dick Clarke looks at the problem and some of the latest solutions.Read more