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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
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.
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.
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.
mode of travel
vehicle design and size
travel to work
equipment/appliances (size, efficiency, use)
sources of energy (solar, gas, electric, wood)
choice of materials
disposal of construction/demolition waste
categories of food (meat, etc.)
growing method (organic, etc.)
source of food and seasonality
food state (frozen, tinned, fresh, pre-prepared)
detergents and other chemicals
materials (recycled, unbleached etc. )
water source (municipal, rainwater)
disposal (municipal/septic tank)
choice of plants
other forms of recreation