April 4, 2023
The Easter long weekend is around the corner, which means countless Aussies will soon be cruising along the coast, flying out to see the fam or discovering a new city. But much like those of us who *ahem* forget our healthy eating habits over the holidays, we sometimes leave our sustainable lifestyle habits at home as well. It’s part of why tourism accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.1
Thankfully, there are simple ways to make a weekend escape more environmentally-friendly. You’ll even save some cash along the way!
Here’s one to add to the keys-wallet-phone check you do before walking out the door: check all the power switches.
By turning off appliances that won’t be in use over the weekend, like your TV or microwave, you can save electricity and money. That’s because appliances in standby still require power, and this standby power can make up over 10% of your household energy use.2
As for what to turn off, stick to anything that’s inessential and won’t cause headaches when you return. Is anyone going to watch the TV while you’re away? Best to turn it off. Is the ice cream in the freezer going to melt? Definitely keep that switch turned on.
And don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave – lighting accounts for 10% of the average household electricity bill.3
Even if you’re driving to your destination, it doesn’t mean your car needs to travel with you for the whole weekend.
Public transport is an easy option in most major cities, and you often won’t need to think about carrying coins or paper tickets because of cashless payments. Travelling by bus, tram, train or ferry can often be faster, depending on where you’re going, more scenic and easier because you won’t need to worry about parking. Plus, if you aren’t driving, you can more safely enjoy a bevvy over lunch.
If you’re exploring somewhere new, walking is a great way to get acquainted with the neighbourhood and find your feet (pardon the pun). Alternatively, you could rent a bike, but don’t feel pressured to rent the matching lycra.
Travelling with mates? Consider car-pooling. Travelling with the in-laws? …Maybe still consider car-pooling.
If you don’t need two cars, you can reduce your fuel usage and the resulting carbon emissions by up to 28% by travelling in just one vehicle.4
And it doesn’t need to end there. If you’re sharing accommodation, there are lots of items you can get away with only carrying one of, such as toothpaste. FYI this rule doesn’t apply to toothbrushes.
You might already be carrying around a bunch of items day-to-day to minimise unnecessary waste – think reusable coffee cups, water bottles and tote bags. By remembering to pack them, you can keep your footprint down during your trip.
This is a useful approach even for activities that aren’t day-to-day. Perhaps you’re planning a picnic for the long weekend? It’s worth investing in reusable dinnerware and cutlery, which you’ll be able to wash and reuse.
And be sure to bring your own toiletries rather than relying on the mini bottles provided by hotels. The world’s top 300 hotel groups dispose of 5.5 billion of these each year.5
It’s easy to think about a hotel room as a home without all the responsibilities, like cleaning and utility bills. But just because you aren’t paying for the electricity, doesn’t mean you should blast the air 24/7! Air conditioning is the most expensive appliance to run in most Australian homes and is a major cause of emissions.6
When it comes to requesting fresh towels each day, think about whether or not you actually need a replacement – after all, you might not even replace the towels in your home daily. The laundry is the second-most water-intensive part of a hotel’s operations, so by holding onto your towels, you can reduce laundry needs by 17% and save water.7
No matter where you are in Australia, the Greener app can help you find nearby stores that are doing their part for the planet.
Check out the Brands tab in the app to see which environmentally-conscious retailers are in your area – whether it’s a supermarket or a quick cup of coffee – and discover how they’re taking steps to be more sustainable.
4ASEAN Climate Change and Energy Project
5Wall Street Journal