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Household consumption

Did you know?

  • Production of goods and the delivery of services can use energy and create waste products. The goods we buy have also usually been packaged and transported from one place to another.
  • Households play a large role in consumption. For example, households are the largest energy user in New Zealand, when vehicle fuels are included.
  • As in other developed countries, consumption of goods and services is growing in New Zealand as our population and economy grow.
  • Household consumption increased 39 per cent over the last decade, compared to a population increase of 11 per cent and GDP growth of 30 per cent.
  • Consumption has also increased per person – on average, each New Zealander spent 26 per cent more in 2006 than they did a decade before.
  • Housing, transport, and food and beverages are the top three consumption categories in New Zealand.

For more information about the impacts of household consumption on the environment see Environment New Zealand 2007 at

What can you do?

  • Fix any water leaks around the home – a leaky tap that drips every second can waste up to 10,000 litres of water a year.
  • Inflate your tyres correctly and you'll use up to 5 per cent less fuel.
  • Look out for products with ‘eco-friendly’ labelling, such as the Environmental Choice label.
  • Recycle at home – one recycled aluminium can saves enough electricity to run a TV for three hours.
  • Switch off appliances at the wall – the average household could save around 10 per cent on its power bill if appliances on standby were switched off.
  • Reuse your food waste through composting or a worm farm – both are great for the garden.
  • Walking and cycling are ideally suited to short trips. It is good exercise and can save you money.