It’s more than likely that reducing your carbon footprint is higher up your agenda in 2019 than in previous years, and for good reason. We’ve had some serious food for thought recently, there was the resultant after-shock from the BBC series ‘Blue Planet’, we’ve had Greta Thunberg with her rousing call to action and most recently, the opinion-dividing Extinction Rebellion are driving environmental issues on to our headlines.
Almost every conceivable industry is feeling the pressure, whether from governmental tariffs or public scrutiny, and we’re beginning to feel the winds of change shake the long grass ever so lightly. But, if we’re to make the impact our planet needs then there needs to be a shift in everyone’s approach to waste and consumption, down to the last man, woman and child.
Five simple steps to reducing your carbon footprint
Sometimes, we know what we want, but we might not know quite how to get there. Reducing your household waste and cutting the energy you use are broad strokes, they can leave you feeling unsure on how to really reduce your carbon footprint and make an actual difference. Well, as zero-waste cook and proponent Anne-Marie Bonneau put it, ‘We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly’.
With this in mind, we’ve thought of twenty five simple ways to make a difference and listed them below. If you choose just five from our list, you will be making that difference. If every person on the planet were to live by five of these ideas, think of the impact that would make.
- Eat 1 less red meat dinner per week, try tasty vegetarian
- Turn off your car whilst waiting to collect someone, whilst waiting for a takeaway or at the traffic lights
- Buy local produce locally
- Reuse or refill a water bottle
- Use an ecoegg for clothes washing, that’s c70 washes and no plastic bottles!
- Don’t buy products that use black plastic packaging, it can’t currently be recycled
- Pizza Fridays – use up that leftover food from the week as pizza toppings!
- Switch to a truly green energy supplier (Tearfund’s Big Clean Switch platform)
- Buy pasta and rice in bulk, reducing plastic packaging
- Use refill shops for detergent, washing up liquid and hand wash
- Switch to soap and shampoo bars instead of liquids in plastic bottles
- Switch to reusable cloths and stop using disposable wipes!
- Use a local milkman and reusable glass milk bottles
- Clean the plastic you put in the recycling, this prevents it going to landfill or incineration
- Buy used online or at charity shops, not new
- Leave an area in your garden to grow & plant wild flowers
- Opt out of junk mail*
- Don’t accept receipts at checkouts, they are generally plastic & paper based & hence not recyclable
And for those of you who have the time to try some things that are a little more involved:
- Bake your own bread – no plastic bread bag and who doesn’t like the smell of freshly baked bread?
- Fly less, bike & walk more (you’ll get fitter and feel happier too)
- Compost kitchen waste, not cooked or raw meats though! (linked article)
- Grow your own veg – it doesn’t come out of the ground wrapped in plastic!
- Explore what type of organisations your pension and investments are supporting (many pensions have an eco option)
- There are also greener banks too; https://www.triodos.co.uk/
- Consider buying an electric vehicle, it’s becoming easier than you might think
*download this form from the royal mail website , email the Direct Marketing Association’s ‘Your Choice’ scheme requesting to opt out (firstname.lastname@example.org), register online at the MPS website, register on the Fundraising Preference Service website