52 Small Sustainable Changes

52 small changes..

make one small change each week to become more sustainable in a year

There’s been a lot of focus on sustainability recently, and it’s a good thing! As a society, we have become very convenience focused, with a penchant for single use.  

With the importance of a more sustainable lifestyle and reducing our environmental impact, let’s look at small changes in our day to day lives that will make a big difference.

We’ve split it down into 52 small changes – that’s one each week for 2020. If we all make a conscious effort, together it makes a big difference! 


Week 1. Choose ethically sourced products where you can. 

Know where things come from and how they are manufactured.


Week 2. Choose organic fruit, veges or meats.

Reducing the amount of chemicals used in production can make a big difference to the quality of our fresh produce and the environment.


Week 3. Replace a few meals a week with vegetarian rather than meat.

Vege production is far more sustainable than meat, with lower emissions.


Week 4. Turn off the oven.

When you are cooking in your oven, turn off the heat 5 or 10 minutes before your dinner has finished cooking. As long as you don’t open the door too often, your creation will continue to cook in the heat left in the oven.


Week 5. Choose natural, low manufacture materials for clothes or homewares.

Cotton, hemp, bamboo; all of these materials are manufactured in a more environmentally friendly way than synthetics.


Week 6. Choose cloth shopping bags.

They are far kinder on the environment than plastics, and they are reusable!


Week 7. Choose reusable.

Coffee cups, straws, bags… It saves money, and the environment at the same time.


Week 8. Say no to plastics.

We are all well aware of the environmental cost of plastics. Reduce the packaging on products you buy. Take your reusable options with you.


Week 9. Visit your local farmer’s market.

You will be supporting your local farmers, and also buying products with less packaging.


Week 10. Buy from your local butcher.

They can have a wider range of meats and cuts than your supermarket and in addition you are supporting your local farmers and using less packaging.


Week 11. Buy from your local bakery.

They have great quality breads, and you can avoid the packaging by using your Aussie Bread Bag.


Week 12. Use your Aussie Bread Bag for your veges.

Don’t put them in plastic, place your onions, garlic, potatoes or other veges in your bread bags. They breath and they are washable and reusable.


Week 13. Start a small garden.

Grow your own herbs. It can save you money and also means you aren’t getting the plastic sleeves with them!


Week 14. Buy a composter and use your vege scraps for your small garden.

Reduce waste and increase the quality of the soil in your own back yard.


Week 15. Drive less, walk more.

Good for your health, and good for the environment! Walk to your local shop; walk an extra block to the train.


Week 16. Carpool where you can.

Save money and reduce the pollution you contribute on a daily basis.


Week 17. Use public transport.

Yes, it’s not the most glamorous way to get to work, but it is more environmentally friendly, can be faster and can save you money.


Week 18. Pre-loved is the new black.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but checking out your local op shop can be a more sustainable and economical way of shopping. You might be very surprised what you find.


Week 19. eBay or Gumtree are your friends.

Sell your unwanted clothes, furniture or homeware items or go shopping for yourself. Another way to op-shop. One mans trash can be another mans treasure.


Week 20. Donate unused items in your house to your local charity shop.

It can make you feel good that you are supporting those in need, and also means your quality items can be reused.


Week 21. Hire rather than buy.

There are some great special occasion clothes hire sites available now, give them a go.


Week 22. Re-heel or re-sole your favourite shoes.

Mending your favourite shoes can be a great cost saver over buying a new pair, as well as giving them a new lease on life. Take them to your local shoe man and let him work his magic.


Week 23. Recycle correctly.

Take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with what can and can’t be recycled and sort your rubbish accordingly. There are specialised recycling facilities for things such as batteries, corks and more.


Week 24. Collect your bottles and cans to your local collection centre.

In many states you can get a rebate for bottles and cans, so put a little bit of change back into your pocket.


Week 25. Use cloths to clean, rather than paper towel.

They are washable, reusable and less waste and less production.


Week 26. Use steam to clean.

It might mean a small investment in a steam cleaner, but it’s effective, healthy and doesn’t use chemicals or packaging.


Week 27. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products.

Avoid harsh chemicals. It’s better for you and the environment. Steam is a great option!


Week 28. Make your own cleaners.

You will be surprised how much some vinegar and bicarb soda can do! They are cheaper, gentler on the environment, and can reduce fumes and allergies caused by harsh cleaners. Start Googling for recipes now!


Week 29. Use mechanical over chemical cleaning methods where possible.

Use a slightly damp microfibre cloth to dust rather than a chemical spray. Use water and a glass cleaning cloth to clean your windows with no streaks. Use high pressure water to clean pavers or cement rather than chemicals.


Week 30. Heating in winter. 

Keep your heater’s thermostat on 22 degrees Celsius. It saves power, while still keeping you warm.


Week 31. Keep your curtains or blinds closed at night in winter.

This help to keep the heat in and the cold out.


Week 32. Maintain your appliances.

Keep your appliances such as your fridge, heater or air conditioner serviced to keep them working optimally and using less power.


Week 33. Buy the right appliances.

When replacing your appliances, choose 5 star energy efficient where you can. It will save both you and the environment in the long run.


Week 34. Lighting.

Replace old light bulbs with energy efficient Fluro or LED options. Saves power, saves money, saves the environment.


Week 35. Check the insulation in your home.

It can help with keep you heating and cooling costs to a minimum. If it needs replacing, put it on the list to get it done ASAP.


Week 36. Going on holidays.

If you are going away on holiday, increase the temperature of your fridge and freezer slightly. It will use less energy and doesn’t need to be as cold if it’s not being opened all the time!


Week 37. Turn your stand-by electronics off when not in use.

Those little lights and stand-by modes on your TV use a surprising amount of energy. Especially when there's billions of them around the country!


Week 38. Clothes drying.

Use your clothesline or clothes airer instead of the dryer. 


Week 39. Electronics such as phones and ipads.

Put your electronics on a light sensitive setting and shorten the time the screen is active before it goes into sleep mode. It saves the battery and can mean you charge them less.


Week 40. Recycle your mobile phones.

There are many websites that will take your mobile phones for recycling, some will also pay you a small amount for them.


Week 41. Weeding.

Pull out the weeds in your garden, rather than using a weed poison. Poisons in general are bad for the surrounding plants as well as any insects that come into contact with them.


Week 42. Make your own pest spray.

Chilli and garlic will keep most bugs away, are good for the soil, and wash off easily.


Week 43. Water your garden or plants at night.

Particularly in the heat, watering gardens at night reduces the amount of water lost to evaporation and means more water for your plants.


Week 44. Make your own personal insect spray.

Natural ingredients such as tea tree oil are better on your wallet, your skin and the environment. Google some recipes now.


Week 45. Make your own citronella candles to keep mosquitos away.

You can recycle old bottles, teacups, mugs, bowls, vases, you name it for beautiful candles that have a practical use.


Week 46. Direct sunlight.

If you have windows that the hot sun streams through in summer, close your blinds on this side. It can help keep the heat out and the cool in.


Week 47. Fan use.

Use a pedestal or ceiling fan at night, instead of air conditioning. These use far less energy, still keep you cool, and are far cheaper.


Week 48. Air conditioning in summer.

If you must use air conditioning, choose 24 degrees celsius. It’s still cool, but uses less energy.


Week 49. Recycle your coffee pods.

Large brand names often provide you options to recycle coffee pods, use them! Or look at getting compostable coffee pods of a pod-less system is even better!


Week 50. Buy refillable coffee pods.

If you are addicted to your pod coffee but conscious of the waste with single use pods, buy refillable coffee pods.


Week 51. Make your own body scrub.

Some sugar or coffee grinds with essential oils can be absolutely magic! And uses far less packaging.


Week 52. Try a natural mask for your skin or hair.

If you fancy pampering yourself, try a mask for your face, hands or hair that uses common, natural products such as honey, avocado, yogurt or olive oil. They can give you amazing results with less manufacturing and less packaging.


Remember some of these changes may seem small and insignificant to you, but when there are tens of thousands of other people doing the same thing it quickly adds up to make a real difference!