Sustainable living helping save money as well as the planet

Now the Government has officially declared a climate emergency, the spotlight turns on everyone to play a part.

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Individuals are being challenged to step up and help reduce New Zealand's carbon footprint. Source: 1 NEWS

While businesses and farmers will play a big role, individuals are also being challenged to step up and help reduce New Zealand's carbon footprint. 

Rachel Rogan and Scott Morrison are two of those trying to live as sustainably as they can.

"We try to put all the scraps in the compost bin, we try to have a full load of washing, we've got an electric car and solar panels on the roof," Rogan told 1 NEWS.

They're finding it's saving money as well as the planet.

"I bought the electric car not necessarily because I wanted an electric car, it was more because I could use it, in conjunction with the solar panels, in order to save money," Rogan says.

It seems they're not alone.

Experts say individuals can make a difference - for example, avoiding landfills. 

"Typically a landfill is anaerobic, that means oxygen isn't getting into it and that produces methane, and methane is a very strong greenhouse gas," Victoria University's Ralph Chapman says.

After that, it's reuse, reduce and recycle. 

"It's the manufacture and production of objects, whether that's from clothing, cars or whatever that produces greenhouse gases," Chapman says.

"If you can extend the life [of the object], you're reducing the overall greenhouse gases that go into the atmosphere."

Borrowing or renting items such as books, toys, or even high-end clothing for special occasions, will reduce the impact an individual household will have on the environment.

But some emissions are hidden. Streaming films and songs requires an international network of computers, which currently use around 5 per cent of the world's electricity.

"We need to get on top of this one so we don't have another big source of emissions or electricity use creating a big problem in the future," Chapman says.