How to be more sustainable

This July, we're partnering with the Plastic Free Foundation to promote, inspire, and encourage our community to participate in the Plastic Free July challenge to reduce plastic waste. Stay tuned for information on how you can get involved in our events, giveaways, and more!

Small, everyday actions can make a big impact. Here are some tips and tricks to help you live more sustainably by:

Reducing your emissions

At home

  • Eat less meat to reduce the need for land clearing, intense water use, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with grazing animal production.
  • Reduce food waste, recycle, use your organics waste bin or compost food waste at home to reduce methane gas emissions.
  • Grow some food, join a community garden, buy organic, and shop locally to reduce transport miles.
  • Plant a tree and bring plants into your home and workplace.

Tips for sustainable living can be found on Sustainability Victoria's website.

Your Home is a Commonwealth Government initiative that provides a range of information and tools to encourage the design, construction or renovation of homes to be comfortable, healthy and more environmentally sustainable.

Shopping

  • Buy fewer disposable products.
  • Use what you already have more and buy less in general.
  • Buy used goods and support the second-hand economy.
  • Give experience gifts rather than things.
  • Shop locally and choose low waste and less packaged items.
  • Use a web search page such as Ecosia – the search engine that plants trees.
  • Choose banks and super funds that don’t invest in environmentally damaging activities, particularly thermal coal. Market Forces provides a guide to help you compare institutions.

Transport

  • Use public transport if it’s available.
  • Walk and cycle instead of driving.
  • Consider using car share programs.
  • Offset air, other travel, freight and other unavoidable emissions.
  • Consider purchasing an electric vehicle (view a map of electric vehicle charging stations).

Energy

  • Have solar installed on your home, plan an all-electric home and make the switch from gas to efficient electric appliances if replacing items.
  • Advocate for solar on your workplace, school or sports club.
  • Buy renewable energy, such as Greenpower.
  • Insulate and draught proof your home and plant vegetation to assist with shading and cooling.

Rebates for the installation of solar and/or batteries for owner occupiers and landlords, solar water heating, heating and cooling upgrades, and on electric vehicle purchasing are available through the Solar Homes Program.

Rebates for efficient electric appliances and products for Victorian households, such as hot water systems, electric heating and cooling, lighting, fridges and freezes are available through the Victorian Energy Upgrades Program.

Reducing plastic waste

At home

  • Use containers and beeswax wraps to protect food.
  • Avoid zip lock bags and opt for reusable silicon pouches.
  • Try silicon patty pans and wax sheets when baking.
  • Use cloths instead of paper towel.
  • Consider using bamboo or silicon cotton buds.
  • Decorate with lanterns, bunting or flowers instead of balloons.
  • Use bar soap instead of liquid soap.
  • Use cleaning products with a refill option.
  • Ditch plastic bin bags and try using newspaper instead.

Shopping

  • Take reusable bags to the shops or market.
  • Avoid plastic produce bags or use a cloth bag alternative.
  • Buy in bulk and BYO jars and containers.
  • Avoid plastic wrapped fruit and vegetables.
  • Take reusable containers and bags to the bakery and deli.

Eating and drinking out

  • Use a mug or reusable coffee cup when buying coffee.
  • Use your own drink bottle instead of purchasing a plastic one.
  • Refuse a straw with your drink or BYO reusable/bamboo straw.
  • Use bamboo or reusable cutlery and plates at a picnic.
  • Avoid plastic cups and use a drink bottle or glassware.
  • Dine in at your local café instead of taking away.
  • Take reusable containers when purchasing takeaway food.

Conserving water

At home

  • Buy water efficient shower heads, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers.
  • Turn off the tap when brushing teeth or shaving.
  • Run your dishwasher and washing machine only when it’s full.
  • Soak dishes in warm water rather than scraping them under running water.
  • Reduce your shower length and save energy by running cooler water.
  • Install large rainwater tanks where possible.
  • Ask a plumber if your rainwater tank can be connected to your toilet or laundry.
  • Monitor water usage on your water bill and aim for below 155 litres per person per day.
  • Be aware of possible leaks around the house and have them fixed.
  • Wash the car at a car wash that uses recycled water or, if at home, use your garden hose sparingly.
  • Install rainwater tanks for use in your garden.
  • Use drip irrigation to water your plants and water morning or evenings.
  • Use the ‘wicking bed’ method to construct garden beds particularly for growing food.
  • Choose native plants as they are drought tolerant and need less water.

Sustainable homes

Retrofitting, renovating or building a new home? 

No matter your budget, you can make changes to improve the energy efficiency of your home or building project.

We have developed four checklists with technical guides to help you understand and decide on the best options or upgrades to select for your project. Get started with the checklist below that best suits your project type. 

Tips for using the checklists: 

  1. Read the information provided and follow the links to learn more about each topic. 
  2. Develop a plan for the changes you want to make and when. 
  3. Establish a budget.  
  4. Talk to your trades/service providers to understand suitability and costs of your selected sustainable upgrades. 
  5. Do what you can do now. Every action will see an improvement in the efficiency and comfort of your home.  

For further assistance with your sustainable home project, you can book a 10-minute online meeting with one of Council’s Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) Officers. 

Use your voice

  • Create new social norms by what you do to be more sustainable.
  • Talk about climate change and what decisions you are making to reduce your emissions with friends and family and on social media.
  • Join a local group such as ‘Transition Kingston’ ‘zeroKingston2030’ or ‘Climate for Change’.
  • Write to your MP asking for action.
  • Prioritise climate action when you vote.
  • Bring friends and neighbours to an information workshop in your local area related to sustainable living topics, such as Kingston’s Our Place workshops.

Learn

  • Kingston’s regular program of Our Place newsletters and workshops provide free information and community connection opportunities around sustainable living.
  • Watch Kingston’s Living the Better Life webinar for an introduction to sustainable living and the benefits of living with a smaller environmental footprint.
  • Kingston’s A-Z of waste disposal and Rubbish & Recycling guides will help you recycle correctly, including using your green organics bin for food waste recycling.
  • Kingston’s Gardens for Wildlife Program offers free onsite habitat planting advice in your garden and a follow-up report and information booklet. Free plant vouchers for residents each year during Autumn provide you with five native plants.
  • Use this carbon footprint calculator to work out your carbon footprint and understand how choices you make can significantly reduce your impact.
  • Market Forces provides a guide so you can compare your bank and super fund and find out which institutions do and don’t support the fossil fuel industry.

Are you already reducing your emissions and plastic waste? Or are you prepared to?

Commit to taking action against climate change!