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Wherever you are in your zero waste journey, whether you’re just now starting or you transitioned a while ago, it’s always a good idea to find more ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Before we get into all that, let’s talk about what a carbon footprint is and why it’s so important to keep it low.
We all have an individual footprint made up of the total amount of greenhouse gases generated from our everyday actions. These actions can be the day to day activities that typically don't require too much thought, like how often we drive or what kinds of food we eat. Our footprints can vary so much because there are not many restrictions on our daily choices; it’s essentially up to us! So, we have a few ideas to make your daily actions more loving towards our planet!
1. Opt For Low-Waste Packaging
As convenient as online shopping is, it’s essential to pay attention to how the company packages your order. Do they use recyclable packaging? Or does it come in plastic wrapping and bubble wrap? Packaging like this takes up one-third of all domestic waste.So, if it’s the latter, it’s a great idea to start making your purchases from companies who only use low-waste packaging. Either way, think of ways you can reuse any packaging an item may come in. For example;
Of course it's all about reducing but don't forget if something does arrive in loads of packaging, think about writing to the company and then exploring ways to reuse.
Beyond online shopping, you can even opt for zero-waste packaging when you visit stores in-person. Food shopping? Find a bulk store and bring your own container or jar to refill for your weekly shop! If you’re just picking up a few pieces, bring your reusable bag so that you can say no to the single-use plastic bag that most stores offer.
2. Offsetting Carbon Emissions
What is a carbon offset? Basically, it’s a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to compensate for the emissions made somewhere else. Figuring out your own carbon footprint by using an online calculator is a great place to start!
Individuals can offset their carbon emissions, but so can businesses! For example, we’re working towards being climate positive through our partnership with Ecologi. This organization helps individuals and businesses offset their carbon emissions, plant trees, and invest in climate projects.
Offsetting your carbon emissions with organisations like Ecologi can reduce your footprint by at least 22 tonnes of CO2 per year! It’s the perfect way to learn more about how we each impact the environment and what we can do to combat climate change - It can cost as much as a coffee and cake per month!
3. Consider Your E-Waste
It’s nearly impossible to tell anyone to remove themselves from the internet or get rid of their phone just to lower their carbon footprint. Don’t get us wrong; some people go completely off the grid! But for the average person, our livelihoods require us to have both of these things in our everyday lives. While we don’t think it’s necessary to forbid all electronics, we do have a few tips on how you can reduce your e-waste!
The most efficient way to go about e-waste is to apply the reduce, reuse, and recycle method. Let’s start with reduce. Essentially, if we take proper care of our electronics, we won’t need to repurchase as many in our lifetime, producing less waste. We can reuse electronics by donating our own and by buying second hand when we need something new. Giffgaff, a brand here in the UK, sells refurbished phones and will buy your old phone from you! Just like that, you’ll reduce your e-waste and have some extra cash in your wallet!
What can you do with electronics that no longer work? Recycle them! Never throw a device in the garbage because they contain toxic chemicals that are hazardous to ecosystems. Use recyclenow to find electronic recycling locations near you!
This last e-waste tip is simple and requires minimal effort, and that’s to start using an eco-friendly search browser like Ecosia, also known as the search engine that plants trees! Every time you use Ecosia, you are working against deforestation. Every 45 searches, they plant one tree. Beyond that, they use solar energy to power their servers. With how many searches we conduct on a typical day, it just makes sense to plant trees while we’re at it!
4. Eat Less Meat
Certain studies say that avoiding meat and even dairy products is actually the most significant way to reduce your environmental impact. Here’s why.
More than 80% of farmland is used for livestock, which produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. Even the lowest impact of meat and dairy products causes more damage to the environment than the least sustainable method of growing vegetables.
So, hear us out. You can certainly adopt a vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based diet, but you also don’t have to make such a drastic change. Remember, sustainability is all about practices that we can continue for years! Consider doing a few meat-free days out of each week. The less meat that you order at restaurants and purchase at the grocery store, the less you’re supporting an unsustainable industry!
5. Eco-Friendly Travelling
How can we travel in an “eco-friendly” way? We have two tips; walk instead of drive and opt for local holidays! Of course, these tips only apply whenever they’re possible, and we can't always avoid driving or flying.
For future getaways, consider spending more time walking instead of taking taxis or Ubers to get around. It’s not only grounding but also can be a great form of exercise! The exhaust from vehicles releases carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, which threatens human health and contributes to global warming. Even on the weekends, think of activities that you're either able to get to by foot or by bike, like a local park!
Beyond driving, flying is also a significant threat to our environment and accelerates global warming and ocean acidification. Taking local holidays just a few hours away is much easier on the environment than taking a flight. Especially at a time like now, with COVID-19, local holidays are the perfect way to enjoy a new location while continuing to keep the planet in mind.
The UK’s average carbon footprint is about 10 tonnes per person. Lowering our individual footprint is one way to fight against climate change, pollution, and the depletion of our resources. Even as a business, we’re working towards reducing Acala’s footprint as much as we can. So with all that being said, we encourage you to take small steps in your journey towards conscious living and apply some of these tips whenever it’s possible!