I know I’m jumping in late but as I’m more an introverted persona (I still like communicating with other people – just with certain types of personalities) and I feared no one knows what. Anyways, that’s gonna be my very first blog post, that I aim to write on one breath.
I will share with you XX simple and yet much efficient ways to reduce your carbon footprint, that you can start implicating on your day-to-day life, practically right after you’re done with this post. And if you manage to aspire other people from your inner circle to do so as well – the effect will be massive.
Why Should You Care About Your Own Carbon Footprint
How many times have you heard “reduce your carbon footprint”, “lowering our carbon footprint may solve the problem with climate change”, or you may have heard of “human’s carbon footprint is nothing compared to natural CO2 emissions”, but how many of you know what exactly “carbon footprint” is?
According to the Oxford dictionary “carbon footprint” is: “a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced by the activities of a person or company”.
In fact, every little decision we make on a daily basis has its carbon footprint. Let’s assume you’re a passionate coffee-drinker. You enjoy every sip you take and you can easily differentiate arabica from robusta. Chances are that first thing after you go out in the morning is stopping by for a coffee. After visiting your favorite coffee shop, you’re heading yourself to the office and before you’re stepping in you throw your coffee cup in the recycling bin. (hopefully)
Or not? Dirty items are hard to recycle. The better way to go it to generally reduce your carbon footprint and not just faking that you care about the climate. (sorry for the harsh tone, but we take this personally, for good)
XX Extremely Simple Ways to Lower Your Carbon Footprint
1. Choose to Reuse
Have you ever heard a girl saying “I ate one chocolate and now I gained 500g”? Sounds nearly impossible, right? A bar of chocolate weighs around 100g, our body is digesting it, we produce waste ourselves (I know what I mean) and yet after this whole process 100g turn into 500g body mass. No. Or not in this case.
The total carbon footprint of one 500ml plastic bottle of water is 828g, reported by Green America with 80 billion plastic bottles produced yearly. And yet, the plastic itself doesn’t weigh 500g of course. So you can imagine how numbers add up quickly. Now imagine it at scale. Seven billion people drinking one bottle of water, each day. This makes 6,4 megatons of carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere simply by this small decision we make – by drinking bottled water.
There are so many good companies, offering 100% biodegradable reusable bottles and coffee cups that you’ll just fall in love with. The vast amount of products on the market with various designs, some nature-inspired, other more minimalistic or with different characters from the film industry – there’s simply something for everybody.
The good news is that there are even companies whose company culture aligns with ours. They are not only offering a niche solution to combating the climate crisis – but they are dedicated to helping people in need. You may check out Yuhme – their reusable bottles are 100% carbon negative, made of sugarcane, and are donating at least 3 months of clean water for a person of need in the Central African Republic.
2. Bring a Fabric Bag Instead
It’s not needed to ban plastic bags, so we can actually realize how much harm they do to our planet. Every single piece of plastic still exists, that is no secret to no one. Plastic bags are no exception. Yes, they are way thinner compared to traditional plastic.
About one trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide each year, reported Earth Day. Consumption is surely not distributed equally across the globe. There are even countries that have already successfully banned plastic bags. China claimed to join the list.
However, the Chinese government appears to think that companies and consumers need time to get used to life with much less single-use plastic, and are claiming to have completely banned plastic bags in 2022. Chinese’s plan is ending the reliance on plastic in three phases, including banning disposable foam plastic cutlery by the end of the year, as part of the first phase.
Other wealthy areas realizing the problem with the massive consumption with a low recycling rate include New York, USA. The legislation voted last year will go into effect on March 1, and some are concerning that there will be even seen a shortage in paper bags. You can imagine how much non-biodegradable waste won’t pollute nature anymore. Considering the fact that only about 20% of plastic bags get recycled, the rest goes straight in nature.
You can only be inspired by such global actions and decide to do the same. Consider taking with you a fabric bag whenever you go out and start helping the planet. Going for a fabric bag and refusing the use of plastic bags brings you a step closer to joining the Zero Waste Movement. So, what are you waiting for?
3. Buy Local Produce
Have you wondered why the vegetables on the market look different compared to those in the supermarket? The short answer is because of all the pesticides and wax on them. And you can also follow-up the logic behind that. Big supermarkets want to offer you only “the best” production (if we assume the matter of how their veggies and fruits look, they look definitely much better) and the only way is by using pesticides to kill vermin and then they wax it in order to look shiny “under the projectors”.
But the quality of food is not the only reason why you should start buying from local producers and markets. Food delivery is what matters most for the environment. Food often happens to get transported thousands of kilometers before reaching its final destination – the supermarket which adds enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere due to the burning of fuel during transportation.
Buying from small local shops also happens to reward you with additional perks. Like establishing a more personal relationship with the shop owner or the one who happens to run it. We all have had a bad experience in the supermarket. The cashiers are always grumpy, they greet you but it’s more than obvious they are doing it by duty. You won’t be treated with no respect from a small business owner, believe us – they are the ones who actually are more interested than you are in building a meaningful relationship with you.
4. Apply for Amazon’s Frustration-Free Program
Amazon offers you 100 percent recycled packaging on certain products and the only thing you should do to activate this service is to log into your account and just activate it. That’s not gonna cost you anything – it’s completely FREE. Offering this to its clientele as part of its Frustration-Free Program, Amazon is aiming to reduce cost and waste through better packaging. It was also developed to cut down on trash and use fewer materials to be more efficient.
All of this resulting in lowering the carbon footprint. And you’re playing the main role in this whole process.
As we’re talking about ways to reduce your carbon footprint when you’re placing orders online, we cannot skip the issue with fast deliveries. Oftentimes fast-deliveries end up being transported by half-empty trucks, in order to satisfy your “need” of getting it tomorrow, which doubles the carbon footprint caused by the delivery process. The truth is that we, humans, are being taught, especially lately, that we can get things instantly (sometimes without even playing a specific role in the process).
The problem with that is that we’re wrong. I want you to answer the following question: Who is the reason for a product being transported from A to B? That’s you, the customer. The customer is the only reason why an item should be delivered from the warehouse (point B in our case) to your home or office (point A). So we’re generally responsible for everything that happens behind the scenes.
So, would you order your item with fast delivery next time? We hope not.
5. Pay Attention to Packaging
Have you ever bought bananas into a plastic package, or maybe peppers or even garlic? Strange is that humans prefer getting their things into bundles. Playstation console with three games and a VR set, or electronic toothbrusher with mini water jet for an even better experience. The same goes for a packet of 2 carrots, an onion, one red and one yellow paper, one clove garlic, and 2 potatoes set “for your tasty homemade soup”.
The question is: who says that the soup won’t be tasty (if not more due to the freshness of the vegetables on the market) if it wasn’t cooked exactly with this perfectly chosen proportions. It’s all called marketing, and you should know it.
Yes, fruits and vegetables will not look shiny all the time, but they are coming (most of the time) from local farmers, usually having small farms and producing a few tons of production kind each year. You know what this means. Your food on the market is fresh in the first place, hasn’t been waxed to look shiny. Do you really want to eat wax? If so honeycombs may be the better way to go. Small farmers are using fewer pesticides, meaning a healthier life for you.
If you need more reasons why you have to choose local markets in front of supermarkets, and the like. Supporting local businesses results in reducing your carbon footprint. And yes, we’re serious. Stocks produced inland don’t have to travel thousands of kilometers overseas until they reach their destination. This adds up enormous amounts of carbon dioxide to the whole process. Why do we need this? Because of you? Because you’re the final consumer of the chain. If we all change our habits, we’ll not only have a healthier life but also lower our carbon footprint saving gas emissions and plastic packaging for the most part.
6. Conserve water
Did you know that a person consumes on average 515 liters every single day? That is a report by Water Use It Wisely. And yet we’re having problems drinking 2 liters to stay hydrated. That’s confused us but is more like a public secret that humans nowadays struggle to consume just water and even need mobile applications to remind them every 2 hours that it’s time to drink a cup, lol.
Brushing your teeth alone consumes up to 15 liters with the water running. Washing your hands or face with the water running adds up another 15 liters, resulting in 30 liters drinkable water swallowed by the drainage channel. Turning the water off will save more than 25 liters on average. Now multiply this number by the days in the year. And you get the point.
According to Leo Hickman, a liter of water has a carbon footprint of 0.298 grams. It’s easy to make the calculation that turning the water off could save the planet up to 7.5 kg of greenhouse gas emissions. Every day. Multiplied by 365 and you’re getting approximately 2.74 tons per year. It’s not that bad considering the simple effort it requires. It’s practical. As a bonus, you’ll pay some 9 m less, per person. The bigger your household us, the greater your savings, and the lower is your household’s carbon footprint.
Our Own Carbon Footprint Really Matters
I don’t have to let other’s people opinions affect your own decision making. Sadly there are so many who don’t believe that climate change is real and that even if it was, it’s caused by human activity.
The truth is that since the Industrial Revolution the wast we’re producing is exponentially growing, reaching to almost 2 kg of waste per person a day. Multiply it by 7.7 billion, yes that’s the current number of the human population and then by the number of days. And that’s our individual contribution to environmental pollution. Not to mention the amounts produced by the factories.
Some will argue that human’s carbon footprint is nothing compared to nature’s. The good news are – the nature is absorbing more carbon dioxide than it actually produces. If you took a look at the picture above, you may have noticed this. Even though nature releases nearly 770 gigatons of carbon, it’s only able to absorb 17 gigatons of greenhouses gases a year. Our activity is polluting with the speed of almost 30 gigatons per year, which is nothing compared to nature but how much do we absorb – not a single gram.
Caring about our own carbon footprint is the first step to take towards a greener and more sustainable future.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint May Be Fun
Additionally to the tips to reducing your carbon footprint which we presented above, we are genuinely here to raise awareness of the simplest, most cost-effective and yet efficient long-term solution. Last year, actually around the time when our idea received its final form, was published an article citing scientists stating that planting 1.2 trillion trees will solve all of our problems with global warming.
The more we dig into the topic, the more we realize that that may not be the only way, though. Our planet has the potential to have a neutral carbon footprint, meaning that our planet is capable to compensate our activities, but we’re able to have a negative carbon footprint, which will actually mean helping our planet to restore to its previous form. A form we haven’t seen a long time ago.
For this purpose, we’ll design a unique carbon footprint calculator. Its initial function will give you the result if you start implementing these easy practical tips in your day-to-day life. With the next article on this topic, we’ll expand it further. In the end, you’ll have a fully functional calculator you can use as a reminder for your contributions to the global fight against climate change. We encourage you to share the first results with your inner circle and let’s hope we inspire a community of low-waste conscious consumers.