What can I do to reduce my carbon footprint?

Climate change is one of the biggest environmental, social and economic challenges faced by our global community. Climate change can be overwhelming, and global solutions are required, but many small actions do add up.

At a special meeting on Tuesday 5 May 2020, Council passed a motion to declare a climate emergency. Council also committed to zero net community emissions by 2030. Reducing your carbon footprint doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive – the ten steps below are effective, affordable and achievable for everyone, whether you’re a homeowner or renter.

List of ways to reduce your carbon footprint described in the text below.

Install solar panels or switch to GreenPower

Did you know that 57% of the Glen Eira community’s carbon footprint comes from electricity? So, installing solar panels or switching to GreenPower is the most effective action you can take to reduce your carbon emissions.

We offer two bulk-buy programs for solar panels and batteries. The Australian Energy Foundation caters for homeowners, and Solar Savers caters for homeowners, renters and businesses. These bulk-buy programs make it easier for you to install a quality solar photovoltaic system from an accredited installer. If you have a pension card, you may be eligible for a low interest loan from Bank Australia to pay off your solar PV system over ten years (available through Solar Savers). 

You may also be eligible for the Victorian Government’s Solar Homes Rebate program.

Train, tram, bus, bike and walk more

Eighteen per cent of the Glen Eira community’s carbon emissions come from transport. Use your car less and train, tram, bus, bike and walk more to reduce your carbon footprint. It’s better for the earth and your health.

You can find more information on cycling in Glen Eira, including the Glen Eira Cycling Guide and TravelSmart Map. The TravelSmart map has information on local train, tram and bus routes, as well as bicycle routes and paths.

Choose reusable and ditch single-use plastic

Did you know that plastic is made from fossil fuels, like oil, natural gas and even coal? That means our production of plastics is contributing to climate change. Also, much of it ends up littering our waterways and oceans.

About 40% of the plastics we consume as individuals are single-use. Make a commitment to ditch the six most commonly used plastics — water bottles, coffee cups and lids, straws, foodware (cups, plates, cutlery etc.), takeaway containers, plastic bags — and replace them with reusable alternatives.

Find out more about our Plastic free Elsternwick Trial and support the businesses that are making a commitment to eliminate or reduce their single-use plastics. Join your local Love Our Street group — community groups that meet on a monthly basis to pick up litter.

Shop second hand

Each year, Australians send around $500 million worth of clothing to landfill. Fast fashion has enormous environmental and social consequences. The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world, second only to the petroleum industry. Synthetic fibres made from petroleum take thousands of years to degrade and remain in our environment as micro-plastics.

Make a commitment to buy nothing new for three, six or 12 months. There are lots of great opportunity shops in Glen Eira — check out Glen Huntly Road in Elsternwick or Centre Road in Bentleigh.

Install draught proofing

Draught proofing is finding and fixing draughts around your windows and doors to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient. Up to 25% of winter heat loss is caused by air leakage (draughts). In fact, nine out of ten Victorian homes have unwanted draughts.

You can purchase low-cost door and window seals from hardware stores. If you’re a renter, check out the Green Renters Guide to find out what improvements you can make to your rental property.

Buy local food

Did you know that the average plate of food in Melbourne has travelled three times around Australia to reach you? Growing, processing, packaging and transporting food requires water and energy.

Commit to buying more local food. Shop at farmers markets — check out the Bentleigh Farmers Market that runs on the fourth Saturday of each month at Bentleigh Primary School. There are also many organic and local food delivery services on offer.

Replace halogen lights

Reduce your electricity bill and carbon footprint by replacing halogen lights with energy efficient alternatives. LEDs are the most efficient form of lighting and last much longer than other forms of lighting.

For more information, visit the Sustainability Victoria website or talk to an advisor at the Australian Energy Foundation. They provide no-obligation quotes and simple energy advice on solar panels, battery storage, insulation, draught proofing, LED lighting, hot water heat pumps, air conditioners, home energy assessments, pool pump controllers and window films.

Set your thermostat to 20oC in winter and 25oC in summer

Set your thermostat to 20oC in winter and 25oC in summer — every degree higher can increase your energy bill by up to 10%. Zone your home and minimise areas to be heated and cooled by closing doors to areas of your home you're not using. For more information, visit the Sustainability Victoria website.

Reduce food waste

Did you know that an estimated 250,000 tonnes of preventable food waste is sent to landfill each year by Victorian households — around one in five shopping bags per week. This can generate up to 475,000 tonnes of carbon per year. Rotting food in landfill creates methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide.

Most food waste is avoidable. Here are some tips:

  • Plan your meals — write a shopping list, check what you already have before you shop.
  • Use leftovers — eat leftovers for lunch or turn it into a new meal.
  • Fill your freezer — most leftovers can be frozen and eaten at another time.
  • Compost — place your food scraps in your compost bin, worm farm or bokashi bin.
  • Community composting — if you don’t have space for a home composting system, use a community composting collective like ShareWaste
  • Place your food scraps in your green organics bin. Food and garden waste is turned into compost at a commercial facility in Dandenong South. It is then used on farms, parks and gardens to improve soil.

For more information on how to reduce your food waste, download our Food Smart Guide.

Be informed

Be informed on the latest climate science and engage your family and friends in conversation. The Climate Council is a great place to start — they are a community-funded organisation made up of leading climate scientists, health, renewable energy and policy experts. Their Climate Action Toolkit is packed with ideas about how to take action on climate change every day.

Lastly, keep up-to-date with our sustainability events and programs by following us on Facebook.