Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the everyday activities and decisions you make. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most dominant man-made greenhouse gas; this is emitted when we burn fossil fuels in our homes, factories or power stations.
The carbon footprint, is a climate change metric worth looking at. However, the dilemma is that it is impossible to pin down an accurate number. Many online carbon footprint calculators can estimate what your footprint is based on your home energy and personal travel habits, but they fail to address all of the goods and services you purchase. Here are some practical ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint from home.
HOLD ORGANISATIONS ACCOUNTABLE
Research the companies you buy from (especially ongoing purchases). If they aren’t taking action to reduce their own production of greenhouse gases switch to a company that is! Here are some of the things to look out for in your research:
- Look at the label. “Eco-friendly” doesn’t carry as much weight “Made with 100% organic and fair-trade ingredients”.
- Visit their website. Often companies that are taking their carbon footprint seriously will have a page dedicated to showing the steps they’re taking.
- Ask customer service. Don’t be afraid to ask what commitments they have to reducing their environmental impact. If you receive a dismissive response look elsewhere.
- Study the packaging. If product packagIng is made from recycled materials, that’s a sign that the company is headed in the right direction.
SWITCH TO GREEN ENERGY
Green energy comes from natural sources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, plants, algae and geothermal heat. Most energy providers now offer a green alternative but if you haven’t switched provider for a while you’re likely to get great deal by doing so.
I recently switched to Bulb and I can’t recommend them enough. Bulb is 100% renewable when it comes to electricity. 74% of its renewable energy is supplied by five hydropower plants, which generate electricity using water. The other 26% of Bulb’s renewable energy comes from anaerobic digestion – which is where organic farm waste is used to generate gas.
CHANGE YOUR EATINH HABITS
Livestock (meat and dairy) is responsible for 14.5% of manmade global greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing the amount of meat and dairy in your diet you’ll reduce your carbon footprint. You could start by joining Meatless Mondays.
Choosing to by locally sourced food is another sustainable change you can make. Transporting food from far away uses fossil fuels. Consider how you’ll be transporting the food too, could you make one big trip instead of several small trips? Is there a more local shop you could visit? Could you walk for a small shop instead of driving?
Reduce your food waste by planning meals ahead of time, freezing the excess and reusing leftovers.
REUSABLE OVER DISPOSABLE
Most single use plastic and disposable hygiene products end up in landfills, oceans and waterways. Plastics are not biodegrade. Instead they slowly break down into smaller pieces of plastic called microplastics. It can take up to thousands of years for plastic bags and Styrofoam containers to decompose. The world’s global plastic disaster sounds downright scary, but we can still make a difference.
Our efforts include moving away from bottled shower gel to bar soap, picking loose fruit over pre-packaged, and reusing grocery bags. I always carry a fabric tote bag with me when I go shopping!
In 2015 the Ocean Conservancy collected 27,938 used tampons and applicators on beaches in a single day. Menstrual cups are much more environmentally friendly than disposable pads and tampons, because they can be cleaned and reused. Other sustainable options include period underpants and reusable/washable pads.
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
The environmental cost of an item is a reflection of what it needs to make it. It also reflects the energy used in the item’s production, distribution and the impact it will have when we use it and throw it away.
Try to reduce the number of purchases you make, reuse where possible and recycle when you no longer want an item! I regularly sell my old clothes (and buy second-hand). Find your local recycling centre…
Carbon offset schemes allow you to invest in environmental projects around the world in order to balance out your carbon footprints. I’ve partnered with the Almond App to allow you an easy way to offset your carbon emissions.
The Almond App estimates your carbon footprint via a lifestyle quiz and lets work towards planting the trees needed to offset your carbon production. You plant a new tree every time you shop at one of their recognised ethical retailers.
MORE WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
Ways to Live a More Sustainable Life
5 Ways to Effortlessly Raise Money For Good Causes
Easy To Understand Guide To Ethical Investments
Sustainable Swaps – Reduce Your Impact on The Environment
If like me, your best life includes being a good human and not ruining the planet, I hope that you’ve found some sustainable inspiration from this post.