Climate change is overwhelming. The science is complex, and when it comes to future impacts, there are still a lot of unknowns. While real solutions will require action on a global scale, there are choices you can make in your day-to-day life to lessen your personal impact on the environment.
Carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that come from the production, use, and end-of-life of a product or service. It includes carbon dioxide; the gas most commonly emitted by humans; and others, including methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming. Usually, the bulk of an individual’s carbon footprint will come from transportation, housing, and food.
"The impact of plastic bags in terms of their carbon footprint potential is very high. When the carbon footprint values from different disposal options were compared, the carbon footprint values were lower in the case where a higher percentage of reuse and usage of compostable products is preferred to recycling and disposing to landfill. A higher percentage of reuse can significantly scale down the carbon footprint. Similarly using biodegradable and compostable bags and products e.g. Green Ocean Group products can also reduce the carbon footprint on a large scale"
Checklist to help you Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Use Real Eco-friendly Packaging
Just like our sustainable bags, do your best to find and inform yourself about sustainable packaging avoiding greenwashing. For example, Green Ocean Group products
are not plastic
and are made up of non-toxic material. These are certified compostable products from Europe, the United States, and Japan. Our bags are harmless to marine life even if they get to the ocean. You can reuse them for at least 2 years in good storage conditions.
These products will replace single-use plastics bags and some plastic packaging films not only in Australia but all over the world and are available to buy from our website
or customize your own!
One of the most effective ways to begin thinking about how to reduce your carbon footprint is to reconsider how much, and how often, you travel.
In November 2017, carbon dioxide emissions from transportation surpassed emissions from electricity generation as the top source of greenhouse gases. Because electricity generation is shifting away from the use of coal to more renewable sources and natural gas.
Going carless for a year could save about 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide, according to a 2017 study from researchers at Lund University and the University of British Columbia; that’s a little more than a roundtrip transatlantic flight. How can you stop using a car? Try taking a train, bus or better yet, ride a bike.
Fly often? Taking one fewer long round-trip flight could shrink your personal carbon footprint significantly. Think about it this way: If you use public transportation often, and fly home to visit family just occasionally, your carbon footprint might still be relatively sustainable, but if you drive and fly a lot, your emissions will be higher.
Eat Less Meat
The single most effective action you can take to combat climate change is to stop eating meat. Just limiting your meat consumption can make a huge difference. Cows and sheep emit large quantities of methane, a powerful global warming gas. A vegan diet might make as much as a 20% difference to your overall carbon impact but simply cutting out beef will deliver a significant benefit on its own.
Also, greenhouse gas emissions from agribusiness are an even bigger problem than fossil fuels. So, while we often talk about cutting our reliance on fossil fuels – and this is still critically important – we rarely discuss the worst culprit. Red meat is particularly to blame, consuming 11 times more water and producing 5 times more emissions than its poultry counterparts.
You don’t have to become a vegetarian, but eating meat less frequently will significantly help the environment.
Eat Local and Organic
Whenever possible, try to eat local, in-season produce. Sticking to foods that are grown locally, in your own city or surrounding area, helps to reduce the carbon footprint created by shipping foods from elsewhere. A general rule for where something is grown? The closer to you, the better. When a fruit or vegetable can be grown in your own backyard or a local farm, the environmental cost is significantly reduced. Just imagine the journey that food from a distant country has to take – by plane, ship, train, or truck, the produce must stay cooled, so it doesn’t spoil and has usually been picked way too early.
Small farms are more likely to adopt beneficial soil-care practices and maintain borders for local wildlife, and eating locally-grown food supports your local economy and promotes food security. It’s equally important to eat organic produce, which hasn’t been sprayed with toxic pesticides and other environmentally detrimental chemicals.
Also, when you go for grocery always take your biodegradable Green Ocean Group bags with yourself, this helps a lot in decreasing your carbon footprint.
Unplug Your Devices
You might be surprised to learn that all electronics suck energy when they’re plugged in, EVEN IF they’re powered down. Anytime a cord is plugged into a socket, it’s drawing energy – so although your device isn’t charging, you’re still contributing to your carbon footprint. Simple solution? Leave your electronics unplugged at all times, unless you’re actually using them.
Buy Less Clothing
Many major clothing retailers’ practice what is known as “fast fashion” – selling an endless cycle of must-have trends at extremely low prices. Heaps and heaps of clothing ends up in the landfill, often to justify buying the latest styles. We’re talking over 15 million tons of textile waste – with quantity over quality, fast-fashion retailers can charge next to nothing for items that are mass-produced. In which plastic bags are also included, so it's preferable to take your own compostable bags especially water-soluble Green Ocean Group bags.
There’s also the issue of contamination: almost half of our clothing is made with cotton, and unless it’s labeled as “organic” cotton, there’s a high chance that its genetically modified cotton sprayed with lots of pesticides (including known carcinogens). This can be damaging to neighboring non-GMO crops, cause water contamination, reduce biodiversity, and have negative impacts on human health. Try alternatives like re-purposing old clothing, choosing locally handmade garments, buying vintage, or participating in clothing swaps with family and friends.
Plant a Garden
Whether you live in a house or an apartment, planting some greens is a quick and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. We all know plants absorb carbon dioxide – a beneficial relationship for humans, that we should all be seeking to nurture. Plant some bee-friendly flowers, a few trees, or a vegetable garden. Balcony gardens are great for urban dwellings. Creating more spaces for plants, grasses, and trees can mitigate this effect and lead to better cooling, which will be a necessity with worsening climate change. Help avoid the “heat island” effect by planting trees for shade, or maybe try a green roof or community garden.
Dry Your Clothes Naturally
New is not always better; the traditional method of line-drying your clothing is much better for the environment. One dryer load uses 5 times more electricity than washing; by simply line-drying your clothes, you can save 1/3 of their carbon footprint. Running a clothes dryer is equivalent to turning on 225 light bulbs for an hour. Europeans, on the other hand, are excellent at this– it might be time to follow their lead, especially considering the tumble dryer is one of the top energy-consuming appliances.
In addition to changing your day-to-day habits, exercising your rights as a citizen is one of the most significant things you can do to help the planet. Anyone can make these simple changes: they’re easy to implement and are immediately effective in reducing your carbon footprint. Our actions and choices and converting from plastic products to Green Ocean Group products can ultimately make a difference, and we all share the responsibility to do whatever we can to address climate change, big or small.
Let us know if you have more and better tips to share with everyone else!