How Bad Is Your Carbon Footprint?
If you are trying to be live more sustainably then you should start by assessing your current lifestyle to figure out where you can make improvements towards greener living.
The best way to accomplish this is by studying and understanding your carbon footprint.
What is meant by 'carbon footprint'?
'Carbon footprint' is the measurement often used to track how green a household or individual is. This is calculated as the total amount of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) that are produced by our actions.
If your carbon footprint is high, this indicates that you are not living as sustainably as you should be and that there are probably many adjustments you can make in your day to day life to bring this number down.
The ultimate goal is to become carbon neutral. This is when your carbon output is effectively reduced to zero which is as eco-friendly as it gets.
How can you work out your carbon footprint?
Unfortunately, getting an exact figure for your carbon footprint is almost impossible because it would require you working out how many carbon emissions you produce when you do anything that uses energy or emits CO2.
Furthermore, your carbon footprint is likely to vary drastically day to day as seasons, life events and many other things can have a huge impact on it.
However, you can get a rough idea as to how high your carbon footprint is by looking at the activities that produce the biggest emissions and assessing your contribution on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis.
Some examples include:
- The type of car that you drive
- Miles travelled by car every week
- Miles flown for holidays and trips each year
- Level of meat intake every week
- Amount of food thrown away every week
- Hours of heating and electricity used every day
- Amount of money spent on new clothes and electrical goods every month
If you find that you are getting large numbers for most of the above, then the chances are your carbon footprint is pretty high too.
But if you want to start getting to the nitty gritty and breaking down the numbers, there are mathematical methods that can be used to work it all out. For example, multiplying your monthly electric bill and gas bill by 105 will give you a figure for the energy usage in your home.
There are several good online calculators available for free, including this one by Cool Climate.
How do you reduce your carbon footprint?
If you have identified that your carbon footprint is too high, or at least higher than you would like, then there is plenty that you can do about it.
You can reduce your carbon footprint as quickly as today by making some small tweaks and changes to the way that you are living.
Some of the easiest things you can do include:
- Turning off lights when you leave a room
- Cutting down the amount of time spent in the shower
- Switching off electrical appliances instead of leaving them on standby
- Walking when you take short journeys rather than driving
- Going meat-free for two days out of the week
- Spending less money on new clothes and shopping at charity shops or pre-loved retailers
There are also many big changes that you can make which might be more of an investment and sacrifice on your part, such as:
- Reducing the number of holidays you take every year
- Buying an electric car
- Installing solar panels in your home
- Reducing your loads of weekly washing
What about carbon offsetting?
If your goal is to become carbon neutral then the changes listed above will get you closer but will not help you reach it.
The only way to truly become carbon neutral is to balance out your remaining emissions through carbon offsetting. This is where you compensate for your output by contributing to schemes designed to make equivalent reductions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; for example, by giving money or time to projects that decrease greenhouse gases levels.
It's quite easy to do and goes a long way towards getting you to that carbon neutral status.
You can even get started on improving your carbon footprint today by replacing your single-use plastic bags with our reusable alternatives. From gift bags and bottles bags, to shoppers and totes, we have a wide range of sustainable bags made from organic cotton, jute and other eco-friendly materials.
All our bags are ethically-sourced from one of our accredited factories in the Far East and can be custom-printed with bespoke artwork for businesses who need promotional or retail bags.