5 Ways to reduce your carbon footprint in 24 hours
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Compared to big corporations we do make a small difference on a personal level but we do know that if more people are taking responsibility for their own footprint then we can make a bigger difference on a large scale and we can do that in just 24 hours.
Forget Recycling, reuse
We would all like to say that we are doing our part recycling, but is it really having the impact that we think it is? A study from National Geographic says not so much.
They said that 79% of our so-called recycling is ending up in landfills & environment slowly making its way into our water ( Parker, 2018). 12% is incinerated and only 9% is actually being recycled or reused (Parker, 2018).
From this point of view, it makes it really hard to find confidence in our current recycling systems.
If you do want to really make a difference you should start reusing those little things you overlook like plastic cups.
If you find yourself gathering too many reusable things, make the effort to stay away from products that are over-packaged and limit how many individually wrapped product you buy. You can always find ways to reuse so become creative!
Reduce your meat intake
Look, we like our meat just as much as others, but the impact on our climate and resources just for a juicy hamburger is staggering.
A study made by Business Insider & The Guardian says that to produce a kg of beef uses 13.6 liters of water(Harvey, 2015) and releases 36.4kg of CO2 into our atmosphere equivalent to “driving 3 hours while leaving all your lights on at home”(Sample, 2007).
We're not saying that you have to get rid of meat altogether (even if that is the best route) but try to make a conscious effort to eat a more plant-based diet, you don’t only help the environment, but you are also getting a nutrient-dense diet that has plenty of health benefits.
Choose to have fewer children
As much as this a personal decision, we never think of how much of an impact we make by just having a child. This may be the best impact you can have on your footprint. Why? By just having one fewer child, you can save a huge 58.6 Metric Tons of CO2 from being released into the air per year(Perkins, 2017).
Now like we said this is a personal decision, but keep this in mind, because much of your child's footprint will be on your hands for 18 years if not more.
Pay attention to your water use
“On average we use 60 Gallons of water per day,” says The Conservation(Li, 2019). We don’t think of how much water we are using when we’re in the moment. But much of our water is being wasted. Each minute in the shower alone uses 2.5 gallons of water & on average our showers last 8 minutes(Mooney, 2015). Which is 16 gallons of water alone. Not to mention the time we waste waiting for the water to heat up. Here are a few recommendations:
1. Limit your shower times or get a shower head that reserves water or has a timer on it.
2. Only do full loads when you’re doing laundry
3. Reuse any water you can for other uses like dishwater for dirty dishes to soak in
4. Put a water bottle with sand into the back of the toilet, this prevents you from using too much water on each flush
Leave the “Fast Fashion” at the door
Fast fashion may be of the most underrated polluters on the planet. Fast fashion is basically mass-produced clothing and the effects of these products are something we need to pay attention to.
A study made by the University of Queensland says “We now consume 80 billion new pieces of clothing a year, 400% more than two decades ago” ("Fast fashion quick to cause environmental havoc”,n.d).
We also use more synthetic materials like polyester in mass-produced clothing. Every time you wash your clothes made with these type of fibers, you are releasing 1000’s of microplastic fibers into our water systems that eventually make their way to lakes and oceans("Fast fashion quick to cause environmental havoc”,n.d).
The fashion industry is now second-biggest polluter behind oil ("Fast fashion quick to cause environmental havoc”,n.d). Also responsible for 20% of our water waste(Dory, 2018).
As much as we can respect the price for these items of clothing, they are also costing us more than a shirt every could.
Don’t become demotivated when you know that the biggest contributors to our overall carbon footprint are from corporations. When we take personal responsibility and become more aware. We become resistant to these ways of living making corporations think more green. Your choice to live with a small carbon footprint can make more of an impact than you’d think so lead by example!
Parker, Laura. “A Whopping 91% of Plastic Isn't Recycled.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 20 Dec. 2018, news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/.
Sample, Ian. “Meat Production 'Beefs up Emissions'.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 19 July 2007, www.theguardian.com/environment/2007/jul/19/climatechange.climatechange.
Harvey, Chelsea. “We Are Killing the Environment One Hamburger at a Time.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 5 Mar. 2015, www.businessinsider.com/one-hamburger-environment-resources-2015-2.
Carrington, Damian. “Want to Fight Climate Change? Have Fewer Children.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 July 2017, www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/12/want-to-fight-climate-change-have-fewer-children.
Perkins, Sid. “The Best Way to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Is One the Government Isn't Telling You About.” Sciencemag, 8 Dec. 2017, www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/07/best-way-reduce-your-carbon-footprint-one-government-isn-t-telling-you-about.
Li, Yalin. “Wastewater Is an Asset – It Contains Nutrients, Energy and Precious Metals, and Scientists Are Learning How to Recover Them.” The Conversation, 19 Mar. 2019, theconversation.com/wastewater-is-an-asset-it-contains-nutrients-energy-and-precious-metals-and-scientists-are-learning-how-to-recover-them-113264.
Mooney, Chris. “Your Shower Is Wasting Huge Amounts of Energy and Water. Here's What You Can Do about It.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 4 Mar. 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/03/04/your-shower-is-wasting-huge-amounts-of-energy-and-water-heres-what-to-do-about-it/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7c18dafc2f79.
("Fast fashion quick to cause environmental havoc,"n.d). Retrieved from sustainability.uq.edu.au
Dory, Kaya. “Why Fast Fashion Needs to Slow Down.” UN Environment, 2018, www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/blog-post/why-fast-fashion-needs-slow-down.