5 ways to kick-start your Sustainable September

Sustainable September is a month-long Uniting Church WA awareness campaign dedicated to promoting sustainable living for your wellbeing and the world we live in. This edition, Elsa Samuel picks five ways to help you live your best sustainable life.

1. Farewell to plastic
Many local governments are recognising that plastic is a waste nightmare and have begun implementing plastic bag bans. Plastic is the number one polluter of oceans. Around 8.6 billion kgs of plastic end up in our waterways to be eaten by marine life, according to Ocean Controversy, a not-for-profit organisation that conducts coastal clean-ups. End your relationship with plastic by making simple switches, like using recycled shopping bags and take away containers, reusable coffee-cups (Keep a Cup or Stojo), avoiding plastic cutlery and plastic wraps (look up ‘beeswax and cotton food wraps’), using a reusable water bottle – the list goes on…

2. Weekly meal planning
According to OzHarvest, Australians throw out 20 percent of their food every week. That equates to every household throwing out $1 036 worth of groceries each year. Food rotting in landfill produces methane – a gas with 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. By planning your weekly meals, you can reduce household food waste and create a food waste reduction strategy. Websites to help plan meals include foodwise.com.au; templatelab.com/meal-plan-templates; and goodfood.com.au/recipes/mealplans.

3. Grab free Sustainable September resources for your church
Every September, the Uniting Church WA’s Social Justice Commission prepares worship material for congregations across WA to use. The resources include worship liturgies and useful tips and ideas to help your church to live sustainably and spread the word. This year’s theme is For the beauty of the Earth. Encourage your church to use the resources at ecochurcheswa.net/worship-resources.

4. Attend free Sustainable September talks
The Uniting Church in the City, Ross Memorial West Perth are hosting weekly talks on a variety of topics such as sustainable design, the importance of wetlands, energy assessments for buildings and improving our soils. The talks start at 6.00pm, every Tuesday for the entire month of September. You can find out more by calling (08) 6103 4222 or read the article here.

5. Get App-y
Got a smartphone? There are hundreds of apps to help you live sustainably. Here’s a few free ones to help you get started:

  • Good on You is a shopping guide that rates Australian brands according to their labour, environmental and animal rights practices. Search for the brand or product and click to see how they rate.
  • Today is a versatile habit tracker that helps you track the eco-friendly changes you make. It also gives you daily challenges such as not using take away cups.
  • Vegan Yum Yum Mobile is filled with delicious vegetarian recipes. Not everyone can make the switch to veganism, but going meat free once-a-week can help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water.
  • It’s never too late to start growing your sustainable garden no matter where you live. ABC Vegie Guide is a free app to help you find out what vegie should be planted when, no matter the climate zone you’re in.
  • Sustainable Seafood Guide helps you seek out seafood goodies caught sustainably. You can find out whether a species was overfished, caught using destructive methods or, if farmed, which aquaculture method was used.

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