Earth Hour is today, occurring on the last Saturday in March each year. Started in 2007, Earth Hour began as a drive to collectively turn lights off for one hour, to bring awareness to environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss.
And 16 years on, I think we are all a lot more conscious of these issues and want to do our bit to help. When combined, small victories in sustainability can add up to big changes.
Small Victories Wine Co is committed to being a sustainable wine producer – we decided early on in our business planning that this was important to us. We are committed to a sustainable future for our business and for the planet. The wine industry as whole has been working on being more environmentally conscious and sustainable, with programs such as Sustainable Winegrowing Australia – with a focus on land and soil, energy, water, biodiversity and waste.
You can read more about the steps that Small Victories Wine Co is taking on our Sustainability page.
3 STEPS TO MAKE SMALL CHANGES
It is sometimes overwhelming to think about what we, as individuals or families, can do to contribute to a better environmental future. Every little thing can help, so in addition to reducing our energy usage here are three things that my family does:
REDUCE FOOD WASTE
Worldwide, tonnes of edible food are lost or wasted every day. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, between harvest and retail alone, around 14 percent of all food produced globally is lost. This is in addition to the amount of food wasted at the retail and consumer level which is much more front of mind.
So what do I do to reduce our food waste at home? Nothing that will seem tricky or innovative, but things that we can achieve without too much fuss.
I make a meal plan for dinners for the week before doing my food shop so that I know what I need to buy and not overpurchase (handy for the budget, too.) I also take leftovers to work for lunch or freeze what is extra.
If the kids haven’t finished their lunch box at school, then that is their after school snack before they are able to get something else out the pantry or fridge. There was push-back to start with, but now they just know that is the deal.
We put our food scraps in the green bin rather than the rubbish bin. I tried to keep a compost pile going at home for a while, but failed. So it’s handy to know that when we put our food scraps in the green bin, along with the weeds and grass clippings, that they will be composted and have a second use rather than just rotting at the dump. I know that not every council allows this, but check to see if it’s permitted in your area.
GIVING OLD CLOTHES NEW LIFE – TEXTILE RECYCLING
As a very general statement, we have too many clothes, really. And that is another conversation in itself.
So what do we do to make a more circular clothes economy?
When the kids outgrow clothes that are still in great condition, they go to friends or to the op shop.
But there are always a bunch of items that have holes in the knees, or stains that won’t come out.
I really didn’t want to throw them into the bin, because we have all learnt that textile waste is ginormous in our country – to the point the Australian Government now has a Stewardship Scheme in the works.
Instead, I did some research and I found a textile recycling service called Upparel (you might find others that are similar). I sent a box last year and am just about to finish packing another box to send away. You pay for collection of a box but in return you receive a voucher to spend. The textiles you have collected go to the recycling facility where they can be used to create new yarn or shredded and used for things like insulation or stuffing for pet beds. Cool, hey!
REUSABLE COFFEE CUPS
Most takeaway coffee cups are not recyclable due to a plastic coating. So, at work and at home we’ve got reusable coffee cups for the coffee shop and for travelling with tea we’ve made.
This one small change can add up to so many takeaway cups saved, especially if you are a coffee every day person.
TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Small changes made at home or work can all add up. So in addition to Earth Hour this weekend, find small things that you can do reasonably easily and make the change!