How to Make Your Share House Environmentally Friendly

by Claudia

We all know we should reduce, reuse and recycle. But when you live in a share house, it can be hard to maintain your best eco warrior ways.

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Living with someone who orders takeaway every night (in nasty polystyrene boxes), washes their clothes with hot water and leaves the heater on with the door open, is enough to give even the slightest eco warrior a plastic headache.

If you think your share house is at a fairly high level of eco-friendliness (note: you use your Keep Cup and separate your recycling), then these tips below will take your environmental footprint to the next clean-and-green-loving level.

Note: these are all cheap and easy hacks for the average share house. We’re not talking installing solar panels or a grey-water system.

Life In Plastic, Not So Fantastic

Ok so you’re taking your canvas bags to the supermarket BUT what are you putting your veggies in? Those little plastic bags for your beans are NASTY. Take a few extra canvas or material bags for your broccoli and tomatoes etc. Or if you forget, use the provided brown-paper mushroom bags, which are much kinder on our planet.

Did you know you can also line your bins with newspaper? Ditch the plastic bin bags and make a nice little recycled paper bag for your bin. You’re feeding two birds with one scone here – getting your news fix from the paper and then re-using this for your bin liner.

Compost Cuties

Over 5 million tonnes of food waste get thrown into landfill every year in Australia. Re-connect with your primary school roots and give composting a go. There are plenty of great apartment-style compost bins that can help even the biggest germaphobe achieve a green conscience. Plus, with the renaissance of plant lovers taking over share houses, composting is super important to feed your plants that good ground juice. Our favourite is Bokashi.

Clean Without The Mean

You like a clean house but all that bleach is hurting the waterways, your lungs and your skin. Move on to some environmentally friendly cleaning products and your body and the earth will thank you. Whilst these products cost more upfront, you will save more money over time as they come in bulk. To make some small changes, you can also combine water with tea tree oil to make a nifty bench spray. Call up your granny and have a chat to her about using Bi-Carb soda and vinegar as natural cleaning products. Cheap, clean and effective.

Ditch The Car

Live you best hipster Dutch life by ditching your car and swapping it for a bike. Cycling is the best mode of transport on so many levels. Its free, you get fit and sh*t hot legs, you don’t get caught in traffic jams and it’s often faster than public transport. If you want a car for those long weekends away down the coast, check out a car sharing community.

It’s Bulking Szn

Get your bulk on, ditch the Woolies and Coles and head to your local bulk source foods, farmers’ market or community bulk centre. There you can take your OWN CONTAINERS (sing it with me) and get as much as you need, all plastic free. You’re also supporting local communities by not giving your dough to the big guys.

If you’ve only just started on your environmental journey and this all seems a little overwhelming, don’t fret. We’re all in this together. Share this with your flatmates to encourage them to go green together as a house. Working and shopping together will make it all a bit easier for you to organise.

One last little tip. If you don’t have a Keep Cup and can’t afford the $30 for a new one, try reusing your next jam jar. You’re reducing, reusing and recycling and the jar is sealable – so no coffee dregs in your bag!

  • Claudia
  • claudia@flatmates.com.au
  • Claudia is Flatmate's Community Manager. She has been share housing for the majority of her adult life and still can't assemble IKEA furniture.