10 Ways To Slow Down Your Carbon Footprint
Climate change can be overwhelming, complex and unpredictable. The future holds a lot of unknowns and needs global action to slow down the impact. Global change starts with you and the choices you make day-to-day. Your own personal impact can reflect on the whole planet. It’s a chain effect and it’s the problem of absolutely everyone. Let’s prepare this earth for our children/grandchildren to come. These steps will reduce your Carbon emissions and build a more sustainable lifestyle.
1. Smarter Cooking Habits
The quicker the cooking time, the more energy you save. Microwaves followed by hobs are the most energy efficient appliances. The oven is well known for its production of Carbon Monoxide but there are a couple of things you can do to use the oven more efficiently. Parboiling before roasting to cut oven time, making sure to use a lid as about 60% more energy is needed without a lid and always use the kettle to boil water instead of a hob. Only fill the kettle with the water you need for speedy cup of tea.
2. Less Time in the Laundry Room
Use a cold wash as much as you can. With the cold settings you cut the energy used by 90% when washing one load. Try to avoid the tumble dryer and be opportunistic with the weather when planning your laundry time and use the clothes rack or line instead. The average household generates about 200kg of carbon dioxide a year from tumble drying alone!
3. Standby Mode
Devices left on standby mode use a high amount of unnecessary energy. The devices left on standby in your home account for between 5 -10%. Many appliances such as computers use up to 90% of their normal power despite being on standby mode.
Chargers are one the most energy draining accessories. When a mobile charger is left plugged in, only 5% of the energy it draws will be used to charge the phone – the other 95% is simply wasted when the charger is not in use. The most efficient energy option is to eliminate the idea of standby in your household or alternatively use smart meters or bye bye standby appliances which can be switched off completely.
4.Turn Up Your Recycling Game
Recycling our plastics helps our planet and aids in slowing down environmental catastrophes. Just one tonne of recycled plastic will save 23 cubic metres of landfill space, 3,114L of oil, and 20,786MJ of electricity.
Wash those dirty food containers. All jars, cartons and bottles should be clean before put in the recycling bin – otherwise they won’t be processed. Make sure that the containers have no food or oil permeated in the surface as it cannot be recycled and lids are removed as they are made of different materials and need to be recycled separately.
Before recycling paper make sure it is not wet or shredded. The fibres that make up the paper need to be intact and dry to be recycled into new paper.
5. Buy Local
Visit a farmers market close by and top up on fresh vegetables. This is a sure way to reduce emissions. The transport of food accounts for 20% of green house emissions and buying ‘local’ from a supermarket can be deceiving when the food is transported to a central processing and packaging plant. Try to eat locally from a responsible source and opt for fruit and veg that are in season.
6. Veggie Monday
Livestock farming is reaching around 20% of world’s greenhouse emissions. Our hunger for meat is causing huge deforestation to make room for more pastures. Livestock farming is responsible for 70% of the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. Ease into cutting meat from your diet slowly starting with one vegetarian meal a week. Change doesn’t have to be drastic, just small steps in the right direction, you will notice how this reflects on your health too along with making a positive impact on carbon emissions.
7. Save Some Trees & Use the Hand Dryer
Small change, big impact. Every time you use a public bathroom – use the hand dryer not paper towels! You might think that paper towels can be recycled, but it’s quite the opposite. When paper gets wet, some of the fibres break down and this means it cannot be processed into new paper.
8. Mindful Fashion
With a very influential fast fashion scene, it’s easy to get drawn into buying cheap trends that only live in your closet for a couple months. Our shopping habits have environmental consequences. The production of non-natural material found in many of our clothes, take a very long time to decompose and release incredibly damaging greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.
There are things that you can do to help with slowing down this impact such as: shopping less from fast fashion brands, invest in good quality items that will give longevity to your closet options. Organise a fun clothes swap with your friends and see what you come across in second hand shops. There are amazing styles you just have to go out and find it.
9. Cut the Car
A person’s personal carbon dioxide emissions reaches roughly 10% due to the everyday commute to work by car. But by making a simply switch to public transport – where the carbon output is shared by more people, the emissions decrease by half.
Furthermore, of all the car journeys we make, 25% are less than 2 miles in length. So next time you’re about to make a short journey, think about getting some fresh air by walking or cycling instead.
10. Reduce your Air Miles
Air travel is responsible for emitting more than 750 million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere every year. On a more individual level, if you take 5 long haul flights a year, this is likely to account for over three quarters of your annual carbon emissions. So if you are a loyal jet setter it’s time to do some things differently.
Make a promise to reduce your air miles. If you travel for work consider doing more by video call instead. In case you are travelling for work to a country you have on your holiday list, why not extend your work trip into holiday mode for an extra couple days. This way you could combine work and pleasure minus the extra emissions. Whenever you do fly, do your research and fly with the most carbon efficient airline, opting for economy class is not only easier on the budget but also on the green house effect.