Tips for improving on your green living habits

Living a more eco-friendly lifestyle isn't always as intuitive as it may seem. There are many common-sense ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but we sometimes forget that it's possible to go even further in our quest to protect the planet. Going the extra mile can really add up in terms of reducing your carbon footprint and living in harmony with the planet. If you're ready to take your green living up a notch, consider these great ways to enhance your earth-friendly habits.

Good: Recycling containers

Plastic water bottles, takeaway cups and any other form of recyclable packaging can clog up landfills, make its way into the ocean and cause pollution in Australian cities and towns. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Sciences states that it can take up to 450 years for plastic water bottles to biodegrade. Since we can recycle most of these disposable products, it's beneficial to do so whenever possible.

Better: Using reusable containers

An even better solution to this problem is to buy reusable coffee cups and water bottles to take with you on a daily basis. Most coffee shops will be happy to fill your mug up rather than use their own cup, and clean water is usually available at a variety of taps and bubblers. Because there is extensive energy put into the creation of disposable packaging, it's much more eco-friendly to use a product again and again than it is to buy a one-use container and recycle it.

Good: Showering instead of bathing

The American Environmental Protection Agency states that a full bath can use up to 264 litres of water – compare that to quick shower, which uses about 95 lires at most. As long as you aren't a particularly long shower-taker, you're doing the environment a favour by saving baths for special occasions.

Better: Turning off the shower while you shave and condition

This one is primarily for the ladies, but guys who shave in the shower or use conditioner might want to consider this as well. In 2011, a British study revealed that women in the UK wasted 50 billion litres of water per year simply by not turning the water off while they were shaving their legs. And that's just one country! Imagine the water savings Australia would enjoy if more ladies (and guys) were to turn off the water during non-essential parts of their shower. If you're looking to conserve water, it's best to turn off the tap when shaving your legs, conditioning your hair or doing any other tasks that don't involve direct water use.

Good: Eating less meat

Did you know that according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Australia comes in second behind the United States in terms of meat supply per capita? Aussies consume more than 100 kg of meat per person each year. The greenhouse gases emitted due to livestock farming, methane gas and meat transportation make meat production one of the most carbon-intensive industries on the planet.

Better: Choosing all local food

Although eating less meat is good for the environment, eating only meats raised on small-scale local farms is even better. Furthermore, many mainstream vegetarian products are highly processed and have large carbon footprints of their own. Meat, fruit and vegetables that are produced locally don't have to travel as far before reaching your table, which keeps these products' carbon footprint low. Furthermore, if you can find a local farm that raises its crops free from toxic pesticides, all the better! The more local and organically grown the product, the better it is for the environment.