When it comes to sustainability and our environmental footprint in Big Little Life – we are far from perfect. Although we are constantly improving and growing as we go. We also believe that in order to save the planet we should stop arguing, competing who’s better and not, instead we should unite and try do the best we can daily. Little by little we all can make difference, but we need to be tolerant and compassionate to one another.
Some are doing the best they can by going plastic free, some chooses plant based diet. Others might not be 100% vegan, but they might be more conscious in other parts such as renewable energy, fast fashion, water usage, recycling, composting and so on.
We surely have improved as soon as we moved into our motorhome. Below we have listed our environmental credentials, which we are 100% honest about. We hope this might inspire others and give them some ideas.
If you ever have any questions or suggestions, feel free to reach out by filling our contact form.
We use about 70 litres of water per day for our entire household. That includes showers every day, washing clothes, dish washing and drinking. That’s an annual total of 25,550 litres per year. In Perth, Western Australia (2017-18), the average person uses 123,000 litres per annum (Water Corporation, 2019). Doing the maths tell us we use 10 times less water than two average adults in Perth. If you included a baby in those calculations we would possibly use close to 15 times less water.
We achieve this by having a composting toilet, a washing machine that uses as little as 26 litres per wash and taking short showers. Sometimes we double use water, like using Ollies bath water for hand washing some clothes or watering plants.
Our waste water is generally quite clean. We use organic, low phosphorus and nitrate detergents, shampoos, soaps and washing powder. Our cleaning products are natural and organic – you can find them all here.
We have no toilet water, as we use a composting toilet.
We live in a small mobile space, with the bus totalling approximately 25 sqm. The average Australian house is close to 10 times this size totalling 231 sqm (2017/18) (Commsec. 2019).
We generally eat meat twice a week. A dinner of fish and then a dinner of red meat. We eat mostly organic and local products. But we have improvements to make here.
We use natural gas for cooking and water heating. We use approximately 8 refills of our 9kg BBQ style gas bottles. That equates to about 3.528 Gj of gas per year. The average Australian household uses about 13 to 17 Gj for cooking and water heating (Australian Gas Networks, 2019). Taking the median of the average usage means that we use close to 5 times less gas than comparative households.
We run our household entirely off solar power. We operate with 800-watts of solar panels that charge a 520 AH battery bank. We run some equipment off 12 volts and we a have a 2,000-watt power inverter to supply 240 volts alternating current. We use all the same appliances we would in a “normal house”. Like coffee machine, washing machine, blender, toaster, waffle iron (to name the power thirsty equipment) etc. In summer we generate more power than we can use. In winter, in Margaret River, several cloudy days in a row would make us be conscious about our power, but we never run out or draw our batteries too low.
We have a wood fire that provides our heat in winter. The sustainability of using a woodfire is a contentious one, but here is our estimation of the situation.
Using wood as a fuel can be considered renewable as long as you obtain it from a responsible source. For the most part, we collect our wood from the forests in designated areas or on private land. These areas are generally subject to prescribed burns every few years and as such the fuel load that we take would be burned anyway.
When we have to purchase wood, we get it from a sustainable source.
We acknowledge that our fire puts particulate matter into the atmosphere, but we reduce this by making sure our fire burns hot and clean.
We think the wood fire is better than fossil fuel alternatives such as gas, diesel or coal which are non-renewable.
We painted the roof of our bus in heat reflective paint which can reduce the solar radiation by 87%. It really makes a huge difference. We then use fans to circulate air which are run off our solar panels.
We try and shop our food in farmers markets or shops that sell local produce. We always bring our own bag, and carry keep cups for takeaway coffees, other hot drinks. We also have at least 2reusable water bottles that we carry with us everywhere. Some of our favourite items you can find in here.
Most of our furniture is bought second hand, or we crafted it ourselves. Obviously we had to buy new things such as paint, other materials for the bus build, but we did our best to be conscious about it.
We mainly buy vintage, second hand fashion. We try and recycle, fix whatever we can. Obviously we don’t go into extremes and if we can’t find a particular item, we buy it new. But we always try and make sure we give local, sustainable, environmentally friendly brands a priority whenever it comes to that. We rather invest in a quality than quantity.
99% of Olivers clothing we got as hand-me-downs. Him having other 5 older cousins have made things easier for us, but we also try and buy second-hand if we have to.
Our bus is quite thirsty. It uses between 25 – 30 litres of diesel fuel per 100km that we travel. We also have a Suzuki sierra which uses about 10 litres per 100 km of petrol.
Our goal will be to convert the bus to Bio-diesel in the near future which will significantly reduce our carbon footprint.
Our goal is to source more local and organically produced food, and grow some ourselves. When we lived in a house we had a garden, now it’s bit tricky to have something mobile that would provide enough food for our family, but we are getting there!
We really want to eliminate all single use plastics in our lives.