Our staff members are not just passionate about helping others, some also want to make a difference by supporting a sustainable lifestyle.
Bernadette and Janine from our marketing team share their tips for sustainable living.
- Reject harsh cleaning chemicals: there are lots of environmentally friendly cleaning products to choose from, many of which also have recyclable packaging.
- Reduce plastic packaging, where possible: I prefer cardboard packaging but if plastic is the only option, I try to buy bigger containers that are recyclable. For example, one large yoghurt container instead of a pack of six individual tubs.
- Collect rainwater: use buckets or other receptacles to collect precious rainwater that can be used for watering the garden.
- Reuse water, whenever possible: I’m a firm advocate of reusing water, which is so important during drought conditions. Reusing the kids’ bath water has not only helped reduce our water consumption but our plants, particularly the roses, thrive on it. There are lots of ways to collect household water for watering the garden, such as placing a bucket in the shower to collect surplus water and I place a bowl in the kitchen sink if I’m washing fruit or vegetables so that the water is not wasted. Any water that our kids don’t drink from their bottles is used to water our fruit trees.
- Compost your food and garden waste: all food scraps or spoiled food can join garden waste in the compost bin to create wonderful compost for the garden.
- Return your refundable glass bottles: bottles that have the 10c refund can be dropped off at collection points. We are keeping a tally of the money collected, which we will donate to charity before the end of the financial year.
- Choose eco-friendly cosmetics and toiletries: switch to brands that use natural ingredients, that are not tested on animals and have recyclable packaging. Try to avoid products containing microbeads and/or glitter as these ingredients are harmful to the environment.
- Try bamboo instead of plastic: bamboo is stronger and more durable than wood and it’s compostable. It’s a fantastic, natural alternative to plastic and does not contain chemical nasties that can leach out of heat exposed plastics to potentially cause health issues. We have tried bamboo toothbrushes and kids’ plates, cups, bowls and cutlery, which are supplied in biodegradable packaging.
- Reusable nappies – a ‘work in progress’ initiative: I am trying, where possible, to use reusable nappies to help reduce our contribution to landfill. Using reusable nappies one or two days a week for my twins saves about 4-5 nappies per baby per day.
- Use a reusable coffee cup: I take my reusable coffee cup everywhere – to work, grocery shopping, or out for a walk with the kids.
- Y.O.B: bring your own bag: I keep reusable shopping bags in the car, in our linen cupboard and I also carry a fold up one in my bag or the pram. That way I always have one ready for use wherever I go.
- Choose eBills and eStatements: going paperless will reduce your impact on the environment and you can reclaim that shelf space. The delivery of eStatements is faster and more secure than paper statements. Switching to eBills also helps reduce the amount of paper that is printed and discarded.
- Switch off: we do not leave any electric appliances on standby mode, preferring to switch off all unnecessary lighting and appliances where possible. This not only saves energy consumption but also helps reduce our bills.
- Reuse containers: margarine tubs and large yoghurt pots can be used for food storage instead of buying additional plastic containers.
- Beeswax wraps: I prefer beeswax wraps instead of aluminium foil or clingfilm for wrapping sandwiches for work and covering food. They are, not literally, the bees-knees being both anti-bacterial and biodegradable.
- Buy local, seasonal produce when you can: it’s good for supporting local businesses, our economy and our health to buy local, fresh, seasonal produce.
- Grow your own: try supplementing your diet with your own home-grown fruit and vegetables, whether you have a window box, balcony, backyard or garden, for the freshest plant to plate produce.
- Try eco-friendly clothes washing: lowering the temperature of a wash, either to 30 degrees or cold, depending on the load, saves energy. We also do not use a clothes dryer as clothes air-dry perfectly well.
- Avoid non-biodegradable packaging, where possible: even tea and coffee can involve little plastic sachets or pods. Switch to products sold in glass jars, cardboard boxes or tins, where possible. Some plastics, despite displaying the recyclable logo, are difficult to recycle. Brands and manufacturers should get the message if products sold in environmentally friendly packaging prove to be more popular.
- Be creative with recycling: beloved old tee-shirts featuring fantastic artwork can look great framed. Get crafty and make toys from unwanted clothes or upcycle furniture with a coat of paint to give it a new lease of life.
- Donate good quality items to charity: Vinnies, Barnardos, Lifeline, the Salvos... There are so many fantastic charities and worthy causes to support. Someone could benefit from the good quality items that you just don’t need anymore. Also, instead of putting old towels or blankets in the bin or council clean up, give them to the RSPCA. They need them to care for the animals particularly during the colder months.
At G&C Mutual Bank we support sustainability. We provide recycling bins for our staff to use at our offices, and each new staff member also receives a reusable coffee cup as part of their welcome pack. For our members, we offer paperless solutions such as secure eStatements which are provided free of charge.