November 7 2022

Easy being green: 6 steps to a lighter footprint

Right now, our planet’s facing some pretty big environmental challenges. And it’s easy to feel very small when confronted by these issues. But there are lots of things we can do to create positive change, as individuals, families and communities.
Ethical investing

You‘re probably already nailing the basics. BYOing your coffee cup, refillable water bottle, and toting that reusable shopping bag every time you pop to the shops. But it’s really normal to wonder what else you could be doing.

Here are six other steps we can each take today to leave a lighter footprint. If we all do the little everyday things, they’ll add up to make a difference to our future.


Being water wise

Apart from Antarctica, Australia is the driest continent in the world. And we use a lot of water! In our homes, the biggest water-users are toilets, showers, taps and washing machines.*

Five changes that'll help save water:

  • When you need to buy new appliances, look at its water rating.
  • Aim to get your shower time down to 4 minutes or less – use a shower timer or your favourite 4-minute song to time your showers.
  • Fill up the dishwasher - and don't prewash.
  • Only switching your washing machine on when it’s full and running it on cold if possible.
  • Turning off the tap while brushing teeth – trust us your teeth will still be squeaky clean even without the tap running.


Conscious consumption

To help reduce waste and pollution, it helps to think a little bit more like Marie Kondo and only buy things that 'spark joy'. Conscious consumption starts with shopping mindfully. For example:

  • Take a list with you – to avoid unplanned purchases.
  • Remove credit card details from your browser’s autofill.
  • Unsubscribe from some of those enticing sale emails.
  • Shop at local businesses, so your money keeps circulating in your neighbourhood .
  • Go vintage – why not buy your next outfit at an opshop, or upcycle an old piece of furniture to make it new again.


Buy local and reduce emissions

Transport is a big part of the carbon footprint of the foods we eat. If you can, go for locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables over imported packaged foods. These seasonal items are probably easier on your wallet, and better for your health. Not to mention colourful and delicious.

Your food scraps can even become new soil for growing more food. Worm farms, Bokashi systems and home compost are just a few ways to give nutrients back to the earth, rather than sending them to landfill where they won’t decompose naturally. If space (or smell) is an issue, look for composting services in your area.


Make more of recycling

If you haven’t thought about your recycling habits lately, you might find there’s more you can do to recycle, reuse and reduce. These tips from can help:

  • Check packaging for the Australasian Recycling label. It tells you which bits go in which bin.
  • Composting food scraps can reduce what’s in your household rubbish bin by up to 40%.
  • Keep recyclables out of bags – otherwise they won’t be sorted correctly and will end up in landfill.
  • Buy second hand, buy in bulk, only buy what you need and buy it back because recycling only really works if you buy back recycled products!

carbon emissions

Your own steam

As we start to move around more, transport becomes a bigger contributor to our own footprint. Consider saying no to short car trips. Could you catch the bus, ride your bike or even get your steps up? Another thing to consider is when you go on holidays, don’t forget to select the carbon offset option for flights.

Sustainable Growth option

If sustainability and responsible investing is important to you, you might want to consider looking into a super fund that offers a sustainable investment option (like us).

Think of it as an investment option that doesn’t cost the planet or your pocket.

Rest’s sustainable investment option is called Sustainable Growth.