Everyone is becoming more conscious of the damage we are doing to the environment with each passing year. While once upon a time global warming was classed as a ‘myth’, there is so much evidence to prove that it is actively happening right now.
So what can you do to help reduce your carbon footprint that little bit more?
After all, every little helps! Here’s a small list of easy things you can do to help the problem. It may not solve it, but if everybody pulls their weight then maybe we can make a step towards saving our planet.
Get a reusable coffee cup
Did you know that every day we throw away 7 million coffee cups in the U.K alone?
A pretty shocking statistic isn’t it! You might assume that your coffee cups can be recycled but the truth is that most of them cannot be. Most are lined with a material that can’t be processed.
Also, how often can you say that when you have a coffee cup, you throw it in a specific recycling bin? Probably not that often when you come to think of it; you probably toss it in the nearest bin.
So eliminate the problem. Buy yourself a reusable coffee cup to have all your future takeout drinks poured into. They aren’t expensive and they pay for themselves eventually. Some coffee shops will give you a discount if you present a reusable cup and the likes of Cafe Nero will give you TWO stamps on your loyalty card per drink if you use one.
Plus they look pretty!
I love my reusable ecoffee cup. While there is the odd occasion when I forget to bring it with me, I usually know if I’m going out that day and probably will want a takeout drink. So I carry it in my handbag or my shopping bag, rinse it out when I’m done or just seal the lid, and I’m on my way as normal.
Ditch the plastic cutlery
Alongside one-use coffee cups, plastic cutlery has to be up there in the plastic waste stakes. The situation is getting so dire that many establishments have started completely banning them and adopting wooden alternatives.
If you regularly buy your lunch out and use plastic cutlery I’d highly recommend carrying a reusable version with you. It will reduce your carbon footprint drastically. No, you don’t have to carry the metal version… but a cooler alternative won’t feel too drastic.
Bright Zine’s ethical lifestyle toolkits are only £6 and they have everything you could ever need for eating out. The kit is made up of a knife, fork, spoon, and chopsticks all made of wheat straw and a stainless steel straw.
They come in a little carry case that you can easily slip in your bag so you’ll never need to use plastic versions again.
Eat less meat
If you’ve watched half of the documentaries on Netflix then you’ll know why. The meat production industry is responsible for a bigger carbon footprint than anything else. Even cars.
The most carbon emissions come from beef production through a mixture of the land used, the water and chemicals, and the gases cows release. But chicken and other livestock aren’t too far behind.
So a simple way you could help is by reducing your intake of meat. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you go vegetarian; it’s hard when you’ve eaten meat all your life. But little changes can make a difference by changing your attitudes towards meat.
You don’t have to eat meat with every meal. There are so many foods you can eat as substitutes and so many recipes that don’t need it. Check out the Meat-Free Mondays cookbook for inspiration. Just changing your habits one day a week is a step forward.
Ditch your plastic straws
Come on people! We’ve been told this for years and yet, we still use them. Plastic straws are needless and harmful to the environment. It takes 500 years for a plastic straw to decompose.
You don’t need to drink with one. Some people do, yes, such as young children or people with conditions such as cerebral palsy. But if you are a healthy, functioning adult then you don’t need it. Ditching straws is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Washing off a bit of your lipstick isn’t worth the ocean. Sorry bout it!
If you really feel the need to drink with one, buy a reusable straw to carry in your handbag. You’ll barely even notice they’re there.
Think more when you’re out shopping
It’s the little things that we take for granted where you can make a small difference to reduce your carbon footprint.
When the self-service checkout asks if you would like a receipt, do you actually need one? Are you really going to need to return that 60p pack of Quavers you just bought for a snack? Probably not, so click ‘no’.
Palm Oil is a massive cause of deforestation and destroying the homes of thousands of species of wildlife. It’s hard to completely avoid because it’s in so many products (because it’s cheap) but start checking the back of food packaging. If there are alternatives you could buy that don’t contain palm oil then go for them instead. Try not to support the industry. You’d be surprised how much stuff palm oil is in!
Did you know that if fruit and vegetables don’t grow and look the same shapes and colours then they get thrown away? 20-40% of food produce is thrown away before it even reaches the shops. There is so much food waste happening, so try to counteract the problem.
Why not try out companies that provide ‘wonky’ vegetables? Aka vegetables that would get thrown away even though they are exactly the same product and taste. If you live in London, try out Oddbox, if you’re around Leicester area take a look at Wonky Veg Boxes, or for other areas check out Riverford.
So there’s 5 easy ways you can reduce your carbon footprint…
It may seem like a lot but it’s really not. Just making tiny changes here and there are for the greater good. The world is an incredible place and we are lucky to live in it. Let’s not mess it up for future generations any more than we already have…