Things always seem to pick up pace this time of year. It’s back to school; back into routine; and back into our usual habits. As the kids head back to school, it’s a good time to start to think about those everyday habits and how we can make small changes that can make our everyday lives just a bit more sustainable.

• Recycle your paper: Use your one-sided printed paper for draft prints or staple up for handy note paper. You can even recycle paper into new paper yourself and use it to make cards and labels. Try using recycled paper for crafts with the kids.

• Recycle everything that has the recycle symbol. Check with your local council to see what you can recycle in your curbside recycling and make sure you put those things in the recycling. If your area doesn’t have curbside recycling, find your local recycling station. Support companies that utilise single and recyclable packaging and try and avoid buying products that are over-packaged. Why buy mushrooms wrapped in plastic when you can pop them in a paper bag?

• Think about the packaging that you put in your kids’ lunchboxes. Lots of schools these days have an environmental focus and it’s becoming more common for schools to encourage both children and parents to reuse, reduce, recycle. Try fabric lunch wraps, reuseable containers and bags and reusable drink bottles. Consider buying large packets of snacks and food like yogurt and then divide it into reuseable containers.

• Pop your leftover bread or crusts in freezer and when you have enough, put them on dish and dry in oven after use. Great for Bread crumbs or sprinkle over veges, macaroni cheese etc

• An oven will maintain its heat (door shut) for at least half an hour so complete cooking using that residual heat.

• Always scrub your teeth with the tap OFF. You could waste as much as 20 litres of valuable water otherwise.

• Be kind and thoughtful to everyone but especially your family as they are your greatest support structure.

• Consider an exercise regime that is also great fun, like dancing, biking, walking or gardening. You can get fit and have fun as an added bonus! Lots of these are also free- no steep gym fees when you’re weeding the garden.

• Offer or ask neighbours to share the bounty of fruit trees. Often one tree will be too much for one family and there’s bound to be someone nearby who’d love some extra fruit.

Preserve fruit or make jam. When fruit is in season, it’s a great time to get the preserving jars out and stock up for the rest of the year. If you’re a ‘lazy preserver’, just stew the fruit and pop it straight into the freezer- no sterilising required. Alternatively, just free fruit whole until you are ready to use it. Bananas are a great example of fruit that freezes well- if you’ve got bananas that are going off, throw the whole thing in the freezer then use frozen in smoothies or defrost and use in baking.

• Water your garden with the bath or washing water. You could consider having a water collection bucket at the bottom of your drainpipes and then use this water for watering.

Sustainability is valuable and easy with just one little step at a time and here are some quick and easy ways that you can begin to introduce sustainable living practices into your everyday life.

As the song Sustainability Logic says about our planet

“It’s deserving preserving

For as long as can be

For I I I for one Feel the need of Sustaina bility”


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Robert Glensor is the founder of the Paraoa Bakehouse- the home of Purebread organic breads and Gluten Free Goodies. With a love of good bread and a passion for all things organic and sustainable, Robert writes about all manner of issues to do with living green.

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