By taking action now, and making sustainability a fundamental consideration in everything we do, we are helping to maximise future economic growth, maintain our quality of life and protect our unique environment.
Being 'sustainable' means continually thinking and choosing ways of doing things with care for the environment that sustains us so generously. It can be fun, too.
Learn more about how to store commercial household chemicals and dispose of unwanted chemicals and hazardous wastes.
See also: Disposing of household hazardous waste
We use chemicals at home every day: from fuels and cleaners to pool chemicals and garden sprays. They can be very useful but can be harmful if not used correctly or if we store or dispose of them inappropriately.
Many of the household cleaners, detergents and pesticides used in and around your home may be classified as hazardous substances. That means they are potentially dangerous to you, your family and the environment. Chemicals need to be carefully stored and used to avoid harm.
Hazardous substances you may find around your house could include things like:
Alternatively you can create or purchase less-hazardous cleaning products which are reduce harm to the environment.
Please note: that all chemicals, however environmentally-friendly, can kill life in waterways. Do not allow them to enter any outside drains or parts of the stormwater system, which drains water straight to streams.
Information provided by the manufacturer, supplier or retailer (typically a label on the package or container) should tell you:
There may be additional information (for instance, in the package or attached in a plastic sleeve) depending on its type and degree of hazard.
For most products you use at home, you should be meeting the requirements of the law and protecting the environment and your family, providing that you follow the instructions on the label and packaging on how to use and store the products.
Here are some good storage tips:
What, when and where we buy items can make a significant difference on our environmental impact and for our community. We have a lot of power as consumers to enable change.
Businesses selling locally-produced food, products or services provide economic benefits that stay in the local communities.
These businesses are more likely to be closely connected to and support their local communities in a variety of ways, as are their employees. As consumers, we can visit their sites to help us appreciate their products even more.
Our purchasing power can also encourage more socially and environmentally friendly practices and energy efficiencies that are harder to monitor in imported goods.
Bringing goods from afar requires using more energy and produces more air-borne pollutants or carbon emissions than transporting goods locally. Sixty per cent of the carbon footprint of food comes from its long distance transport.
Purchasing sustainably resourced products, organically grown foods and GE-free foods are other ways we can support more environmentally friendly practices through our consumer choice. They are usually higher quality than cheaper imported foods, so last longer.
Locally produced product requires less packaging so there is also less waste to our landfill. Even better, grow your own food and change from food-miles to food-feet.
Eating the rotation of foods being offered each season is known to be better for our health. We can see these foods being produced locally and our bodies match adapting to the seasons at the same time. We can also be assured of GE-free food choices.
When we are unable to purchase what we need locally, we have choices. Questions to ask yourself: Is there a local alternative? Do we really need this? Can we buy second-hand? Or, is there an enterprising opportunity for this to be produced locally?
Still needing the item, then think about the social and environmental effects of the product you choose. You can support Fair Trade products where what you pay is fair for the producer in developed countries and you will know their conditions of work are also acceptable. Choose quality, and items able to be mended or repaired.
Farmers Markets have doubled in NZ in the last two years. Excellent resources to find out where your 'local' is, or help set one up in your town!
Gardening is a favourite pastime for many people, and also a significant food source. How we use our outdoor space affects our physical and mental health, and the quality of our environment.