Tips for a more sustainable lifestyle
Litefoot’s mission is to inspire Kiwis to be environmental champions. We use the LiteClub programme to reach a wide audience, illustrating how easy changes can have a huge impact. You may have seen some of the stickers and posters that we put up around the nation’s club rooms, telling members to switch off lights, close the taps properly and shorten their showers. These are simple measures to be kinder to the environment, and help save clubs reduce their overhead costs as well.
On top of the physical changes that we’re doing at sports facilities we would like to provide you with more easy steps to reduce your impact on the environment we love - in the workplace, at your club, or at home. It may sounds like a lot to begin with, but even if you just adopt one or two of these measures, you are making a big difference (you’ll find that it’s all good news for the wallet too)!
Walk / cycle / take the bus
Leave your car at home and walk, cycle or use public transport to get to work, training or your friend’s birthday party. Start with twice a week and you’ll see soon enough that you don’t even want to take your car any more. No parking hassles, no traffic rage, no fuel costs: win-win.
If your office doesn’t facilitate bike travel, speak to your boss and encourage them to install some secure bike storage, a place to change and store clothing, a bike repair station, and if possible a shower so your colleagues won’t avoid talking to you all day.
It’s not always possible to avoid the car, e.g. when your team is playing in the whopwhops / big smoke, or if you have several meetings throughout the day. If you can’t avoid driving, then rally up your team members or co-workers and share the ride. Everyone appreciates some fuel money from their mates. You may even want to hire a van for the whole team to go together.
Bring your own lunch
We all know how tempting it is to go out and buy some lunch from around the corner. But it’s not only cheaper to prep your meals, it also avoids unnecessary food packaging. That plastic box your sushi came in: on average, it got used for a whole of 20 seconds. Not worth it, mate.
Skip the plastic bag
Not just in stores, but as a general rule: Ditch the plastic bags and carry a reusable one instead. Wash it after it gets dirty. Easy as.
Better yet: Avoid plastic as much as possible
While it’s hard to get around plastic altogether, there are some areas where it is easy to avoid. Use beeswax wraps or a kitchen towel to wrap your sandwich or store your avocado. Refill bottles and containers with your soaps and nuts and seeds from the bulk store. Go to the Deli section of your supermarket, a butcher or cheesemaker to buy over the counter products with your own containers. Farmers markets often provide unwrapped veggies or bottles milk. If you look for it, we promise you can find some great alternatives. More examples:
Take your reusable drink bottle everywhere
Avoid being tempted by fizzy drinks. Instead have a bottle in your bag and refill it with water as often as you need. It’s free, it’s healthy and avoids crude oil being turned into yet another plastic bottle that may well end up littering our beaches.
Bring your reusable cup
Love your coffee as takeaway? Let the barista fill it straight in your own cup. Have one in the office kitchen as well as at home, so you’ll always have one on hand. Ask your boss to sponsor some branded reusable cups for staff – a great christmas goodie!
Pick up rubbish
While you’re taking your dog for a walk, walking to work, or during a casual beach stroll, why not also pick up some rubbish. It can be a great lunch time activity to get you out in the sunshine, or a fun activity when outside with the kids. And most importantly: Don’t litter. Be a tidy kiwi.
Install energy efficient lights
If your lights are old incandescent bulbs, swap them with efficient LEDs. You can get them in all shapes, sizes, levels of brightness and colours. They may be more expensive up-front, but each bulb will save approximately $20 on your power bills. Every year.
We hope you are already recycling. But have you thought about composting your organic waste too? Approximately 50% of all waste sent to landfill are food scraps and green waste, which produces methane gases and contaminates soil and waterways. There are many options for composting, have a look at our Composting summary.
Adjust the temperature in your office
If your colleagues are wearing t-shirts in the office in June, you’re probably overheating the place. Turn the thermostat down a notch – a cardigan will do do the trick, and reduce your office’s energy use considerably.
Try to go paperless
Think before you print. Most pages printed are unnecessary these days. If you really have to, only print what’s needed, print double sided, and make sure it gets recycled afterwards.
Have the kids outgrown their clothes again? Have you bought something that looked way better in the store and now you don’t feel like wearing it anymore? Instead of throwing items away, ask around your neighbourhood or drop it off at an op shop nearby – someone might be happy to get their hands on a pre-loved item. This not only goes for clothing, but anything that you’re wanting to get rid of. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure! It’s really easy these days, thanks to pages like freestuff.co.nz, freecycle.org, or Neighbourly Marketplace.
Avoid unnecessary travel
Meetings are important, but often a conference call could replace a one-on-one. This will not only save travel time, but also save you one more trip around town.
But if you really, really have to, dispose of your butts correctly, don’t just drop them on the ground. It takes up to 10 years for them to decompose, and they leach nasty toxins into the ground while doing so.
Support your locals
Nothing tastes better than a drink and a pie after a hard training session or a full day at work. Support your club’s bar or local pubs instead of driving elsewhere and save that extra car ride. Also, purchase local produce, it will have a lot lower carbon footprint.
Use rechargeable batteries
Rather than having to purchase new batteries over and over again, buy some rechargeable ones instead. You’ll never run the risk of having no replacements, and the environment will thank you for it too.
Planetary Health Diet
The large-scale industry productions of beef, pork, and lamb all have high greenhouse gas emissions. Try replacing some of your meat dishes with vegetarian options, and buy locally sourced sustainable meat to help reduce your carbon footprint. Why not give meat-free-Monday a go?
Dairy has a huge footprint as well. Rather than offering cheese and crackers as nibbles, try a veggie platter of cucumber, carrot and celery sticks with non-dairy dip. Give alternative mylks a try in your coffee or muesli, like almond, soy or rice.
Tell others to do the same - share this guide with your friends and family. If we all do a little, together we can achieve a lot!