I started this blog with a goal to write about reducing your carbon footprint. Since then I have discovered that the term "carbon footprint" was invented by BP as a marketing ploy to put the blame on us.
BP is the second largest, non-state owned oil company in the world, with 18,700 gas stations, and in the early aughts, they employed public relations professionals, Ogilvy and Mather to make us believe that climate change is not the faulty of oil firms, but the fault of the us individuals. Mashable, has wrote a very informative blog on BP which I recommend you read to learn more.
While I do believe we each have our own carbon footprint in a sense, the reason we have high carbon footprints as individuals is due to the fossil fuels that oil companies produce. Its time we start looking at the term "carbon footprint" in a new way and instead call them, fossil fuel footprint.
Anyway, back to the original post!
Thinking about reducing your footprint can be overwhelming. We wonder what difference one persons choices can actually make to this huge world in which we live.
I now know through research and learning, that conscious steps to do better, do make a difference. One of my favourite examples of this is the following quote:
"It's only 1 straw. Said 8 million people".
So, how can you reduce your fossil fuel footprint"
Firstly, always think about the 3 R's - Reduce, reuse and recycle.
1 - REDUCE
The first step is to reduce your product consumption. Before you make a purchase, its always best to ask yourself whether its something you really need. Think about what you already have, and whether you can repurpose an item instead.
Next, look at the quality of the product. Choosing a higher quality product that will last longer is a better option for the environment. It's worth spending more on an item that will last 10 years, over an item that will last 2.
2 - REUSE
There are so many ways to reuse everyday items which helps save you money and save impact on our planet. Reusing items can also be enjoyed by the whole family as you get creative turning one item into another!
Old clothing can be turned into new items of clothing, or why not cut them up and use them on a weaving loom, the kids would love this! You could make a dog rope toy, or simply reuse them as cloths for the house.
Broken crayons could be melted down into a muffin tin to make new ones! Or add a candle wick and turn them into a colourful candle!
There really are so many items that can be turned into something else at least once. It helps get your creative flow going and it makes you think the next time before you put an item into the bin. Impact right there!
3 - RECYCLE
Recycling is so important and waste has such a huge, negative impact on our planet. Harmful chemicals and gases are released from rubbish in landfill so recycling is a huge part of reducing your carbon footprint.
Each local authority unfortunately has different rules about what can and can't be recycled, if you want to check your area, you can enter your postcode on the recycle now website and it will give you information about your bins.
The most important thing about recycling is to always remember to rinse your recyclables. One unwashed item can contaminate the recycling bin and make the whole van load be rejected from the recycling centre.
Also, check out your local supermarket. Large supermarkets have recycling points which include bread bags, cereal bags and more. As a general rule, if you can stretch the film, it can be recycled.
The best option obviously is zero waste. So the first step is always avoid buying packaged items if possible and reuse the item if you can first.
4 - SAY NO TO SINGLE USE ITEMS
Saying no to single use plastics reduces so many items sitting in landfill. Try shopping at the local market or a zero waste shop if you're lucky enough to have one near you. You'll be supporting local, and helping your planet. Win win.
5 - CHOOSE RESUABLES
Water bottles, coffee cups, bags, straws, even food wraps. There really are so many good quality, plastic free alternatives that will help you stop using single use plastics, whilst minimising your carbon footprint hugely overtime.
6 - DITCH THE CAR
Walk, bike, run. Getting those endorphins flowing whilst getting fresh air is so much more beneficial to you, and to the planet.
7 - SWITCH TO ENERGY BULBS AND APPLIANCES
Energy efficient light bulbs can last up to 12 times longer than traditional bulbs. And energy star appliances are more energy efficient, which means lower utility bills and maintenance costs. Both saving money and impact.
8 - THINK ABOUT WATER USAGE
Turn off the water when brushing your teeth and use a rainwater butt to water your plants. Rainwater is actually more kinder to plants as it has no added chemicals or minerals.
Choose a shower instead of a bath. Showering for 5 minutes typically uses 10 - 15 gallons of water compared to a bath which can use up to 70 gallons. That's some saving!
9 - UNSUBSCRIBE TO UNWANTED EMAILS
Sending one email is estimated to use 0.000001 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. That doesn't seem like much but when you think about how many emails we receive a week that are actually of no interest to us, this adds up on a national scale. A 2019 study commissioned by energy company OVO reckons brits send 64m unnecessary emails every day, and that if we sent one less a day, we could save more than 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year - equivalent to 81,152 flights to Madrid or taking 3,334 Diesel cars off the road!
Deleting emails also helps. Those emails are stored on a computer somewhere, adding to your carbon footprint.
This proves to you, that one persons small actions CAN make a difference to your carbon footprint and help our beautiful planet.
Imagine the changes to your whole carbon footprint for taking all of these steps! You can then inspire family members or friends to think more consciously about there's actions. So the next time you think to yourself "how can one person really make a difference? You now know, they actually can!