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Reducing your household's impact

Reducing your household's impact

Household action on climate change and sustainability

The NSW climate has already changed, and further change is already locked in. This change is driven by past global greenhouse gas emissions and any further emissions before the world achieves net zero.  

By reducing our emissions now, we can still reduce the level of climate change that we can expect in the future, minimising the impacts on what we value.

Taking steps to reduce your household’s impact

In 2019, residential emissions accounted for 13% of NSW's total direct emissions from electricity gas and transport, and 28% of NSW's total indirect emissions (from purchased electricity).

Every individual and household can play their part in helping to reduce the impacts of climate change. The guide below provides some simple suggestions such as reducing food waste and making your home more energy efficient.

You can try one, or several of these actions. If one doesn’t work, you can try something else. It’s important to know that anything you can do will add up to make a difference. 


How we shop and what we eat can have a huge impact on the environment. In NSW, more than a third of our waste is sent to landfill. That adds up to about $10 billion worth of good food that’s being thrown away every year by NSW households. When food waste makes its way to landfill, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than Carbon Dioxide.

  • Consider meal planning and moving from the big grocery shopping day to more frequent smaller shopping days. You will naturally purchase less with a specific meal in mind.

  • Shop locally for food and walk to your store. Farmer's markets are a great way to support growers in your region but, also reduces the distance that food has to travel to get to your plate. 

  • Add more vegetables to your meals and reduce your meat consumption. Cutting down on red meat is a powerful way of reducing your carbon emissions.

  • Consider growing your own vegetables. 

The NSW Government's Love Food Hate Waste website has some great leftover recipes and a free online program to help NSW households reduce food waste.


In 2019, transport made up 20% of NSW’s emissions.


In 2019, stationary energy for electricity generation in NSW made up 37% of NSW's total emissions. There are many ways that you can make your house more energy efficient, or even carbon neutral through the use of solar and battery storage. Small changes such as insulating your home, and turning off lights when not in use can make a huge difference.   

Reducing waste

NSW households produce large amounts of waste, whether it's from food, unrecycled food packaging or things we no longer use. There are many small things that we can do such as recycling properly, buying second hand, and bringing your owns bags when you go shopping.

  • Find out what waste services your local council has. This includes if your council has Food Organics and Garden Organics (green bins), kerbside recycling and waste collection a well as other council services.
  • Learn how to recycle properly. Food packaging can create excess waste and it can be difficult to understand what can be recycled, and how to prepare it. You can also use the return and earn scheme.
  • Repair and reuse. Repair your belongings and appliances instead of buying something new. 
  • Use resource sharing initiatives, such as  car pooling and toy libraries.
  • Online forums such as Facebook marketplace, Gumtree, Ebay, and Share Waste, are great opportunities to connect with community and leverage opportunities to share resources and buy second hand. 


    Illustration of a pyramid that reads from the top down buy, make, thrift, swap, borrow, use what you have
    Buyerarchy of Needs. Photo credit: Sarah Lazarovic

    Related Information

    NSW Environmental Protection Agency

    Planet Ark

    Green Vehicle Guide

    Electric Vehicles - Transport for NSW

    NSW Energy Saver - NSW Government

    NSW Love Food Hate Waste - NSW Government

    Return and Earn - NSW Government