By Vanessa B
As sustainability and conversations around becoming eco-friendly are dominating the news, many people have been reflecting on ways in which they can do their bit to help protect our planet.
Making small and sustainable lifestyle changes within their everyday routines is key to making a difference, and whilst carbon emissions in the UK have dropped significantly by 29% in the past decade, there’s still many ways in which we can act to continue helping the environment.
What is your carbon footprint?
According to the World Health Organisation, your carbon footprint is the official measure of how much your activity impacts the level of carbon dioxide in the air.
Activities including the likes of flying in an airplane can emit a large amount of carbon dioxide adding significantly to your carbon footprint. However, it’s important to note that everyday actions, like buying from fast fashion brands and using single-use plastic, can have more of an impact on your carbon footprint than you think.
Switch out your plastic products
Single-use plastic has become a staple in many people’s lives due to its durability and affordability, yet it’s having an extensive impact on the environment.
Only 6% of thrown away plastic ends up in recycling, according to a recent survey by Everyday Plastic, meaning much of it will go straight to landfill.
Switching out your plastic products can make a huge difference and can be a simple process. Nowadays, there are many innovative plastic-free products, such as eco-friendly cleaning products like compostable bin liners and coconut fiber scourers, or sustainable food storage, such as glass or rice husk Tupperware.
Shop local when you can
Despite its convenience, online shopping has earnt itself a bad name within the eco-industry due to its ties with unethical and unsustainable sources.
Many products bought online, or even in stores, tend to be sourced internationally, meaning they’ve been flown over by plane or shipped by boat over long distances, both of which emit tonnes of carbon emissions.
The less the product has had to travel, the better when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint, so taking the time to source locally made items can help dramatically reduce your impact on the environment.
Quality over quantity
Choosing higher-quality products that give increased usage in the long-run is not only better for your bank account but will also lower your carbon footprint.
The mass-production of clothing for example can have a huge impact on the environment, as 5.5kg of carbon is produced when making just one polyester shirt.
Alternatively, you can choose clothing made from recycled or non-synthetic materials, which naturally have a much lower carbon footprint. There are many great recycled and ethical options available, making it easier to make a sustainable choice.
Recycle as much as possible
It’s said that as much as 80% of products we throw away can be recycled, yet only 6% actually end up being correctly recycled. Producing products from scratch uses more energy and emits more carbon than creating something using recycled materials.
When you can, always try and think before throwing away your packaging, and read thoroughly to see what can and cannot be recycled.
Minimising your carbon footprint won’t happen overnight, but trying out just a couple of these small, easy to follow lifestyle changes will have a huge positive impact on the environment, without causing too much hassle.