Nine savvy sustainability tips for World Consumer Rights Day

World Consumer Rights Day is always observed on 15 March, and this year the theme is The Sustainable Consumer. The focus is on consumer rights and protection, and the need for sustainable consumption.

Research shows that we certainly don’t make the most of our precious resources.  About nine million tonnes ‒ or 30% ‒ of local agricultural production is wasted each year, according to the Consumer Goods Council.  Also, the top10% of wealthiest households in South Africa emit more than 20 tonnes of CO2 per capita. The least resourced 50% emit less than 2,5 tonnes per capita, says Oxfam in a 2015 report.

Personal finance website Justmoney offers nine handy tips to make your household more sustainable – saving you money to invest elsewhere, such as on your child’s education, or for your retirement.

  • Mix it up: Make your own household products using vinegar, baking soda, salt and lemon juice. Find online recipes for safe, affordable cleaning solutions, scourers, and deodorisers.
  • Packaging-free: Select fruit and veggies that aren’t wrapped in layers of plastic.
  • Go local: Support local producers, rather than buying products that have been transported over long distances.
  • Heartfelt handmade: Make your own gifts, cards, and wrapping paper, which are more fun, cheaper, and memorable.
  • Separate waste: Start a compost heap or worm farm for organic waste such as fruit and vegetable peels. Drop off items like paper, glass, and tin at your local recycling depot.
  • Shed light: LED bulbs initially cost more than incandescent bulbs, but in the long run are cheaper, have a far longer lifespan, and are better for the environment.
  • Short cycle: Cut cleaning cycles and save electricity by taking advantage of special features on your washing machine, dishwasher, and other appliances.  Unplug electrical gadgets when not in use
  • Save water: Install a rainwater tank, fix drips and leaks.
  • Long life: Avoid using disposable products such as paper plates and razors. Choose reusable water bottles and coffee mugs.

“World Consumer Rights Day is the ideal time to make some shifts on your sustainability journey,” says Justmoney Commercial Manager Sarah Nicholson. “Small changes can have a big impact by making your home healthier, helping to protect the environment, and enabling you to put aside some cash.”

There are numerous ways to invest your savings, such as a bank account or a unit trust. Justmoney offers plenty of informative articles, tools, calculators and access to financial products on its one stop site here. To find out the best returns on your savings, click here for the savings calculator.

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