If you are wondering what a carbon footprint is and why it is so important, we have got you covered. "Carbon Footprint" is a term that we often hear, but what does it truly mean? In this article we explore the key words and issues surrounding climate change and include a guide on how both individuals and businesses can reduce their carbon footprint.
Let's Explore the Terms:
- Carbon footprint - A measure of the total amount of greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere because of an individual’s, organisation’s, or nation’s actions.
- Greenhouse gasses (GHG) - Any type of gas in the atmosphere that blocks heat from escaping.
- The greenhouse effect - The process through which GHGs in the Earth’s atmosphere trap heat from the sun.
- Climate change - A pattern of long-term change in the temperature and weather patterns either globally or regionally.
- Global warming - The rapid increase in average surface temperatures on Earth caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
- Fossil fuels - Natural resources that produce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses when burnt. Coal, oil and natural gas are all examples.
What Is a Carbon Footprint?
To understand what your carbon footprint is and looks like, you need to look at several key areas of your lifestyle, including:
- Your home energy use and waste production - This includes factors like how much electricity, natural gas, and other fuels you use and where they’re sourced from, as well as whether you recycle or send your waste to landfill/incineration.
- Travel - Your footprint will vary depending on whether you have car/motorbike, as well as how often you use it. Similarly, your use of public transport contributes. Any flights you take also need accounting for, as these contribute significantly.
- Your diet - The types of food you eat and where you source it from can play a significant role in your overall carbon footprint. The more energy-intensive it is to produce and ship your food, the worse for the environment it generally is.
- Your shopping habits - Another factor is how often you buy new products such as electronics, household goods and clothing. The lifespan of these items, as well as where and how they’re produced, can play a role in your carbon emissions.
The Biggest Causes of a Carbon Footprint
What efforts can we make to clean up our act? We can take small, consistent steps to cleanse our environment and make it beautiful. These steps can motivate us to play our part in creating a sustainable and pollution-free environment.
So, what is it that is driving these emissions? And how does this affect our carbon footprint?
Below are just some of the industries and industrial processes that create many of the greenhouse gasses we produce collectively. Global data from 2016 shows the main culprits:
- Energy (the burning of fossil fuels) produced 36013.52 million tonnes of CO2e.
- Agriculture produced 5795.51 million tonnes of CO2e.
- Land-use change, and forestry (altering or converting land) produced 3217.07 million tonnes of CO2e.
- Industrial processes produced 2771.08 million tonnes of CO2e.
- Waste produced 1560.85 million tonnes of CO2e.
We are no more in a consistently safe and clean environment. In today's world we are leaving an extreme carbon footprint on our planet. Many of our actions, whether we are consciously aware of them, or not - are leading to increased contamination that is harmful to our health and our Earth. Pollution has a long-term detrimental effect on our climate. An increasing number of automobiles and factories produce toxic waste, damaging our health and wellbeing. Sometimes it feels as if it is hard to breathe on this planet.
To protect and cleanse our environment, we must contribute in one way or another to keep the world clean.
It is necessary to find solutions to reduce the harm to our world and cleanse the environment from environmental problems such as water pollution and climate change. Individually and collectively, we can have positive results if we act responsibly and consistently.
How Can Your Carbon Footprint be Reduced? Effective Ways to Keep The Environment Clean.
Trees are our primary source of pure oxygen under sheer depletion by the continual and uncontrolled spreading of factories and industrial units. We need to take on planting trees for a green and clean future for our children.
Another way is to promote local agriculture as it helps to reduce the transport of products globally. Also, organic food is healthier as compared to processed food.
Here at Beautifully Nourished, we use fully compostable shipping mailers. Each time we order new mailers, a new tree is planted.
Limit the Use of Electrical Equipment
The reduction in the use of energy consumption's can help to create a clean environment. It reduces the amount of CO2 produced as a by-product by lowering the energy grid usage. We should use products that aren’t only energy efficient but also environment friendly.
Recycle Waste Materials
Many people know about recycling, but it is not clear to everybody how it can cleanse the environment. The existing item after regular use can be reused to make a new product that can again be utilised differently. Collecting the right products in the recycling bin also significantly affects the environment to improve cleanliness. Instead of putting trash, products such as bottles, plastics, aluminium, and paper can be recycled to downsize into another form. This will reduce the possible environmental pollution which might have caused by burning these materials. There are many practical ways in which we can use various materials and protect the atmosphere.
Assure a Healthy Environment
A healthy ecosystem consists of all the components, including green plants, humans, and livestock. All the units help to keep a healthy, clean and vibrant environment. The entire world is under the negative effect of severe pollution and global warming. But on the contrary, we can help each other protect the world as an entire more healthily and make it cleanse with a slight variation in our everyday life.
Clean drinking water is declining globally as companies dump waste and causes contamination into natural water reservoirs. Water waste includes flowing toilets, long baths, using dishwasher times and again. We should consider collecting and storing the rainwater and using it to water the plants, scrub the vehicles, and conserve natural resources.
Decrease the Use of Chemicals and Removing the Waste
Instead of buying disposable products, we should purchase utensils made of recycled materials that are non-plastic and re-useable.
It is highly recommended to reduce the use of domestic chemical products that pollute the environment. Try to limit distilled bleach, citrus, and baking soda as remedies for cleaning purposes. Always opt for environment-friendly cleaning products.
Paper is made from cellulose obtained from trees, causing the cutting of trees. A better way to communicate is by using the electric exchange of information as much as possible. If it is unavoidable to print, try to opt for recycled paper and print double-sided. A step further can be taking notes on a paperless journal. Many people use reusable notebook. It looks like a regular journal but is an Eco-friendly option.
An Individual Guide on How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint At Home
- Buy less! And when you do buy, make it sustainable. Buy in bulk and fill mason jars or containers with store essentials. Buy shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in bulk
- Keep reusable shopping bags on you. In your car, your purse, etc so you never need a plastic one
- Consider switching at least some of your weekly meat consumption to plant based.
- Choose cardboard over plastic products
- Use paper or reusable straws
- Stop using disposable makeup wipes - Try reusable makeup pads or a microfibre cloth like the Makeup Eraser instead
- Use reusable cotton swabs (They are not as gross as they sound, promise.)
- Use cleaning products that are zero- or low-waste. Or you could make sure own cleaning products with ingredients you already have in your cupboards, like baking soda, essential oils, and vinegar.
- Buy biodegradable dish cloths
- Save money and the planet by switching to energy-efficient bulbs. When you are not home, turn the dial down by several degrees to conserve energy, or have your thermostat on a timer
How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint at Work: The Business Guide.
Reducing emissions is something that you can do outside of the home too. Whether you make individual changes at work or company-wide policy adjustments, your activities can soon add up.
- Turn off the lights - Powering empty rooms and office space is a huge energy drain. By making sure you turn off lights and appliances when they are not in use, you can make sure you are not wasting power. You could also request to install automatic, movement-sensing lights and energy-saving LED bulbs to address the issue.
- Go digital It has never been easier to collaborate with others online. Whether through sharing documents using cloud storage or video conferencing instead of travelling, you can reduce your waste and emissions. Try moving away from printed documents where possible and encourage others to work on their digital skills for the workplace.
- Cycle to work, use public transport or car share for Business Trips - Cycling and walking are two of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel. And not only are they good for the planet, but they are also good for your health. If you can, choose to cycle or walk to work where possible. Your employer might even have a scheme that can help you buy a bike.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle - Companies of all sizes use a host of various products in their day-to-day running. Whether it is things like paper, electronic devices, packaging, or water, it all has a carbon footprint. By reducing the amount of waste, you generate, reusing IT equipment, and recycling waste, you can make a real difference.
- Cut single-use plastic Single-use plastics may be convenient, yet they are dreadful for the environment. Not only do they pollute our waterways and oceans, but they also require energy to produce and recycle. You can stop using things like disposable coffee cups and cutlery to reduce your company’s carbon footprint.
- Use Sustainable Suppliers
- Switch to Hybrid or Fully Electric Company Cars and Fleet Vehicles
- Invest in Green Energy & Green Office Equipment
- Buy used office furniture
5 Steps to Reduce Your Corporate Air Travel Footprint
- Calculate your GHG emissions and fuel use from business travel
- Decide your emission reduction target
- Select the airlines and airports you fly from
- Order your Nestle Sustainable Aviation Fuel
What Do We Do at Beautifully Nourished to Reduce Our Carbon Footprint?
Here at Beautifully Nourished it is important to us that we do all we can to reduce our carbon footprint to help the environment. We make a conscious effort to research further ways we can be more sustainable, and our aim is to be completely plastic free by 2040.
- We only ship with net carbon providers
- Conscious Production - we work with suppliers that are committed to earth restore and preservation
- Both our skincare and supplements are made in England
- All our online orders are shipped in biodegradable packaging
- Minimum materials are used within shipping and packaging
- We do not use single use plastics
- We encourage our customers to send their used bottles back to us so they can be refilled
- Our raw materials are sustainably sourced
- All of our skincare products are and will always be vegan friendly and cruelty free skincare.
How Does Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Help the Environment?
By lowering your carbon footprint, you can help contribute to the overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Whether it's cleaner air, a healthier diet, or reduced energy bills, these benefits of reducing your carbon footprint also mean you're doing your bit to combat climate change.
How Does Recycling Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?
Through effective waste prevention techniques, and responsible recycling we can use less energy, reduce GHG emissions and contribute to a healthier climate. For example, if you recycle one aluminium drink can, this saves over 95% of the energy that would be needed to produce a new can from all new materials.
- We should all avoid products with excessive packaging
- The production of the packaging uses added energy
- The extra volume and weight will have to be transported (by lorries, planes, ships etc.)
- The packaging will be thrown out and will need to be collected from your home by a large waste disposal truck
- Packaging then takes more space at land fill sites
Everyone should try and re-use products for as long as practically possible. It is amazing how often people buy certain products and use them only once or twice, even though they can be re-used many times. For instance, can you think of some items of clothing you have worn only once?
Recycling uses less energy and produces less pollution than making things from scratch. Another form of recycling is composting household and garden waste.
- It helps fertilise soil, making plants and vegetables grow better
- Reduces the number of refuse collections needed
- Reduces the strain on land fill sites
What Can You compost?
- Garden waste (fallen leaves, grass cuttings and pruning's)
- Kitchen waste (such as raw vegetables, fruit, crushed eggshells, tea leaves and tea bags)
You can minimise your carbon footprint and help the environment in many ways. Whether at home, work, or while you travel. Minor changes can make a significant difference.
To reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll want to do things like reduce the amount of energy you use, eat fewer animal products, shop locally, travel smart, and reduce your waste.
Here at Beautifully Nourished it is so important to us that we do all we can to help the to reduce our carbon footprint and our promise to you is that we will be completely plastic free by 2040! (Hopefully sooner).
Edited by Katherine Elyse, Founder, BSC Nutrition.