How to Go Carbon Neutral?
Balancing a footprint
An increasing number of businesses as well as individuals are doing the right thing for the Earth by making moves towards a carbon neutral economy. We can all make a positive impact on the environment by living more sustainably and offsetting the majority of our personal GHG emissions from home energy use, driving, flying and household waste. We've created a simple step-by-step guideline to help your journey towards a carbon neutrality.
Where to start?
There are many different ways how to reduce your carbon footprint every day. The first thing what you should do is create a plan for yourself - understand how much can you do from your side by analysing your own lifestyle and climate impact caused by carbon emissions.
Analyse and make a plan for yourself how far are you willing to go to reach a carbon neutral lifestyle.
1. Conservation begins at home
Design and operate your home in a way that it generates as much power as it uses. This is becoming a reality because cities around the country have made zero waste a goal, what supports the transition towards a net-zero economy. As well as, make sure your home is well insulated, use more energy efficient LED bulbs, replace an inefficient gas boiler, switch to a clean or renewable energy provider, block the edges of doors and windows, etc. How we prepare food and drinks also adds to the carbon footprint - by boiling water for long, that can double the carbon footprint of the tea.
2. Minimize travelling
One of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to reconsider how much and how often you travel. Emissions from transportation are one of the top source of greenhouse gases and can account for a huge proportion of your annual carbon footprint. If you travel a lot then your emissions will be much higher. Fly less or pick the economy class ticket. Take train instead of flying (in most cases). For example, from London to Budapest, the train journey produces the least carbon emissions at 55.9kg of CO2. This is exceeded by both car (181.2kg) and plane (225.3kg), according to EcoPassenger.
3. Walk if possible
Drive less. It's good for your health and for the planet if you walk or ride a bike. It's also better if you choose to ride a scooter, use public transportation, share a ride (carpool), rent a car instead of owning it, etc. Driving efficiently, keeping your car efficient, using cruise control, using less air conditioning and not weighing your car down with extra things you don’t need can also help to reduce emissions related with travelling.
4. Don't buy a car or ...
If you need to buy a car then consider that powerful cars require more energy to move them around, require more energy to produce and are more expensive. Switching to an electric car is the greener option - However, the CO2 produced in manufacturing the car might be higher than the lifetime emissions of the vehicle depending on how often you use it. We would recommend to do your research and read this latest study.
5. Eat less or no meat and dairies
We have to reduce our red meat and dairies intake. Consider plant based diet as vegan’s diet is the most carbon light (read a study here). It’s generally agreed that you could cut your carbon footprint by around 20% by switching to a vegan diet. Research from Oxford University found that if every family in the UK swapped out a red meat based meal for a plant-based alternative just once a week, the environmental impact would be equivalent to taking 16 million cars off the road.
6. Prefer local, eat seasonal
By eating local and seasonal food you can mostly save carbon footprint from transportation. But also carbon intensity of the production process should be taken into account - foods from nearby countries might be grown in artificially creating temperature conditions where they don’t naturally exist and are produced using an energy intensive production methods, which have higher carbon footprint than shipping in seasonal products from more far-flung locales. Therefore plays a seasonality also an important part (for example, some vegetables might be better to buy in summer and prefer imported goods in winter).
7. Reduce, reuse, recycle
Buy less, rent and swap more. Extent the life of your product by reusing, rewearing, repairing things. Upcycle, donate or recycle the item after you can not use it anymore, so, the item could stay in the circularity for as long as possible. According to the New Textile Economy Report, the horrifying truth is that 87% of the total fibre input used for manufacturing clothing is landfilled or incinerated.
8. Prefer sustainable products
If you buy then prefer second hand and quality sustainable products that are made to last and have reduced ecological impact on the planet. Research from WRAP found that extending the average life of clothes by just 3 months up to 2 years and 5 months would result in a 5 to 10% reduction in carbon, water and waste footprints of the items. So, don't buy fast fashion as it is hugely harmful to the planet - fast fashion accounts more carbon emissions than the aviation and shipping industries combined, is the 2nd largest consumer of the world's water supply and pollutes the oceans with microplastics.
9. Reduce waste
Waste accounts a huge portion of greenhouse gas emissions. For example, if food wastage were a country, it would be the third largest emitting country in the world (see the research). The contribution of food wastage emissions to global warming is almost equivalent (87%) to global road transport emissions.
10. Foster change
Support moving towards a carbon neutral economy by speaking out or joining an activist group to foster change for the benefit of people and the environment.
Reduce what you can and offset the rest
There are many carbon reduction projects that contribute to eliminating or decreasing the GHS emissions. Read further by choosing the next topic below.