Finder Green

Doing the right thing is easier than you think. Explore sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly products.

We all want to do the right thing, but it can be hard to know where to start. While you could go out and buy a Tesla, switch to solar power or live completely off the grid, there are other ways to make a change. And even one small step can make a huge difference.

For some people, this means parking the car and walking, biking or catching public transport. For others, it could mean reducing the amount of plastic they use. Then there are the people who go all-in with their lifestyle changes, like adopting a vegan diet and building a carbon-zero or carbon-positive home. There isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to conscious living – it's more about making the changes that you can to help create a greener world.

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Green Household

There is an abundance of small changes that you can make around your home to live a greener life. You could start with looking at chemical-free cleaning products, plastic-free storage containers and beeswax wraps. Or maybe you want to flex your green thumb and start growing some veggies?

If you want to invest a bit more time and money, you could make a few renovations to help insulate your home (and save on energy and heating costs in the process), upgrade your taps and shower heads to water-wise options, or invest in more water- and energy-efficient appliances. Of course, you could also look at solar power and green energy plans – there are now so many options on the market that we've dedicated a whole section to them down below.

5 easy ways to make your household greener

  1. Recycle. Check with your local council to find out what you can put in your recycling bin, as this can vary between locations. And if you're wondering what to do with soft plastics (which definitely can't go in there), check out REDcycle to find your nearest soft plastics drop-off point, such as Coles or Woolworths.
  2. Donate unwanted goods to charity. If you're on a Marie Kondo-style mission, it might be tempting to just throw everything that doesn't bring you joy into the bin. But from there, it's likely that it will end up in landfill. So if you think it's possible that someone else might get "joy" from some of your items, find out if your nearest op shop would like them, or check when the next council cleanup is happening in your area.
  3. Optimise your heating and cooling. Closing your curtains or blinds can help keep your place cool in summer and warm in winter. You can also block up gaps in your doors and windows to make your heating and cooling systems that little bit more energy-efficient. As an added bonus, this could help you save on your electricity or gas bills too.
  4. Repurpose containers. Jam jars and other glass containers are great for storing sugar, spices and other cooking staples, which means that you can buy these products in bulk and reduce waste around the home. Depending on the size of your containers, you could even use some to store salads, bircher muesli and other yummy snacks.
  5. Be waterwise. Drought is a massive issue in Australia, so every drop of water counts. Even if your area doesn't have any water restrictions in place, it's still important to ensure that you are taking shorter showers, putting the plug in the sink while washing dishes and turning off the tap when you're brushing your teeth. If you want to go all-out, you could even put a bucket in your shower and use it to water your garden.

Make your home greener with these clever ideas

Need more inspo? We've popped together a list of furniture, towels, items for bubs, and other household items that are sustainable and good for the environment. See more below.

Green Shopping

Doing the right thing doesn't have to be hard. Whether it's ethical makeup, a recyclable mobile phone or sustainable clothing, you can do your bit for Mother Nature without breaking a sweat.

As well as finding ethical products and brands for you to shop, we've got a range of coupon codes on offer so that you can save money while you go green.

Other simple ways to shop green

  1. Embrace imperfect picks. Did you know that some farms throw away as much as 25% of their perfectly good fruit and veg just because it isn't pretty? This is because supermarkets have strict aesthetic requirements. But showing that we care more about quality food than visual appearance helps change this trend. So search your local supermarket for odd-looking food or markdown produce – it's usually cheaper, plus you'll save some yummy fruit and veggies from going to landfill.
  2. Bring your own shopping bag. Buy a couple of cool totes and keep them handy when you head to the shops, or find a foldable option that fits in your everyday bag. There are so many companies that now make reusable bags that you'll have plenty of stylish options to choose from.
  3. Invest in BYO coffee cups and drink bottles. Australians go through around 1 billion take-away coffee cups each year. If you buy a coffee every day of the work week, investing in a reusable cup would mean that around 250 fewer cups would end up in landfill in the next 12 months. Switching to a reusable drink bottle also helps reduce the number of plastic water bottles being thrown out too.
  4. Buy from cruelty-free brands. This one is for the bunnies. Cruelty-free brands do not test on animals and don't harm or kill animals in production. You'll see this label on many beauty products, particularly makeup, moisturiser and other personal grooming products.
  5. Give fast fashion the finger. Cheap, on-trend fashion can seem like a fun way to try out new styles, but it comes at a cost to the environment, the livelihood of many overseas workers and your wallet. Australians send 85% of the clothes and other textiles that they buy to landfill each year. Popular TV show The War on Waste puts it another way, explaining that we throw out 6,000kg of fashion and textile waste every 10 minutes. In addition, the cheaper your clothes are, the less the workers who make the garments get paid, which means poorer living conditions for many people in third-world countries. Stepping away from fast fashion and choosing longer-lasting clothing is an easy way to be more sustainable, more ethical and kinder to your wallet.

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The latest in Green Shopping

Other green shopping ideas that you might like

We've popped together a list of green and eco-friendly brands and products that you might be interested in. From wrist watches to beauty products to home essentials, you can treat yourself while still maintaining an ethical and environmental lifestyle. Plus we've got coupon codes and discounts so that you can save yourself some cash while you're at it.

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Green Finance

Helping the environment is more than just reducing, reusing and recycling. Did you know that there are green home loans, bank accounts and super funds? There are also green car loans that offer benefits if you're searching for a vehicle that doesn't put as much pressure on the environment.

How to make sure your money is going to the right places

  1. Swap to a carbon-neutral car insurer. Our pick is Huddle Car Insurance, which offers policies that come with carbon credits to offset your car's CO2 emmissions. Plus, Huddle gives its surplus profits back to the community, so it's double the win!
  2. Get ethical with your super. Superannuation funds invest your money in a variety of markets. Often that means big businesses such as fossil fuels, tobacco or munitions (a.k.a. guns). Moving your super to an ethical super fund means that your money will be invested in companies and industries that have an environmental, social or other ethical focus. Or, if you're happy with your current fund, get in touch and see if you can choose how your super is invested to help avoid putting money into industries that you don't support.
  3. Go green with your car loan. Dreaming of that Tesla or hybrid car? There is now a range of green car loans that can help you make the switch to a more energy-efficient vehicle. These loans typically offer discounts, waived fees or other benefits that can help you save money on your finance when you choose a greener car.
  4. Swap over to an ethical bank. Like superannuation funds, banks make money by investing in different industries. Often these include fossil fuels, tobacco, munitions and other types of businesses that may be ethically questionable. If you don't want to support these industries, consider switching to a member-owned bank, credit union or other financial institution that puts a focus on ethical investments and trading.

Put your money where your ethics are: Compare green finance options

If you need a loan, you might as well make sure that you're supporting a good cause. We've put together a list of green loans to help make your finances a little more ethical.

The latest in Green Finance

Green car loans

Green car loans

Some lenders offer a better deal if you get a loan for an eco-friendly car. See how they work and compare car loans here. Read more…

Green Energy

There are lots of energy providers that can help you reduce your impact on the environment. It could be as easy as switching to a green energy provider (even if you're renting) or as hands-on as installing solar panels to power some or all of your home.

Fast facts on solar power

  • You can install solar panels and use solar power without investing in a battery. While this might limit your usage at night or in winter, it does give you an option if you can't afford both solar panels and a battery at one time.
  • Just switching to solar hot water can make a difference. Going from electric to solar hot water can lead to a 50% saving in energy costs, with estimated savings of between $178.43 and $356.87 per year.
  • There are rebates for getting solar panels. These vary by state or territory but can help offset the cost of buying and installing panels to help make it more affordable when you're just getting started.
  • You can get solar panel finance or a green loan. There are several solar panel finance options designed to help you cover the upfront costs. If you want to make other green changes around your home, you can also look at a green personal loan for everything from energy storage to more efficient heating and cooling or basic home improvements like switching to LED lighting.

Wind turbine Image: Getty Images

Don't have solar panels? You can still make your power greener

Even if you don't have solar panels, there's still a pretty easy way to make your power greener: just change to a green electricity provider! Some providers offer to offset 100% of your carbon emissions, while others give some profits back to the community. We've broken down how green some energy providers are below so that you can make a clearer decision.

Read more on how to turn your energy green

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