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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

More with Less - Initiatives to promote sustainable consumption

Environmental Economics Research Paper No.3
Prepared by Deni Greene Consulting Services,
Australian Consumers Association and National Key Centre for Design, RMIT for the
Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories

Commonwealth of Australia, 1996
ISBN 0 642 24869 9

Australian Initiatives to Change Consumption Patterns

Areas of Consumption Activity

Domestic consumption spans many different areas of activity. This study attempted to identify initiatives that have been taken across the full range of these activities. Areas examined are shown in Table 2.

 


Survey of Initiatives

A broad survey was conducted to identify Australian initiatives to change consumption patterns so as to reduce environmental impact. This survey identified more than 350 such initiatives. These are shown in Appendix 1.

The list of initiatives identified is meant to be indicative, not comprehensive. Within the scope of this study, it would have been impossible, for example, to identify every recycling initiative being taken by local governments around Australia. For the same reason, no examination was made of all the products available in supermarkets and other retail outlets that purport to reduce environmental impact. Another area excluded from the survey was product advertisements appearing in the popular media. Nevertheless, the range of initiatives identified touches virtually every area of household consumption activities.

 


Analysis of Initiatives

From the original survey, a group of initiatives was selected for more detailed analysis. These initiatives cannot be considered to be representative of the initiatives as a whole, because an important criterion for selection was the ability to assess the effectiveness of the initiative. (The majority of the initiatives identified in the broad survey consisted of little more than an information booklet or brochure on which no follow-up analysis of effectiveness was performed.) The initiatives chosen for detailed analysis cover most consumption activities and many types of measures available for changing consumption patterns.

The analyses are shown on the following pages.


Table 2. Areas of Consumption Activity Surveyed

Transport

urban design
mode of travel

public
private car
bicycles
walking

vehicle design and size
vehicle maintenance
petrol additives
travel to work
local travel
recreational travel

Household energy use

building/community design

orientation
insulation
shading
house size

equipment/appliances (size, efficiency, use)

food storage
lighting
heating/cooling
water heating
dishwashing
clothes washing/drying
cooking
communications
entertainment
sources of energy (solar, gas, electric, wood)

Housing/building materials

choice of materials
disposal of construction/demolition waste

Food

categories of food (meat, etc.)
growing method (organic, etc.)
source of food and seasonality
food state (frozen, tinned, fresh, pre-prepared)
food preparation
food packaging

Clothing

fabric used
nappies
packaging

Cosmetics and pharmaceuticals

products chosen
packaging
disposal

House/clothing cleaning

equipment
detergents and other chemicals

Product and material purchase, use disposal

materials (recycled, unbleached etc. )
recycling
composting
other disposal

Water use/disposal

water source (municipal, rainwater)
equipment/fixtures
disposal (municipal/septic tank)

Gardens, vegetation and pets

vegetation clearance
choice of plants
watering method/use
chemicals
pets

Recreation

travel
motorised recreation
golf/skiing
newspapers, magazines
other forms of recreation

Population control (family size)

Investment


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