The majority of people in the UK have enjoyed cleaner air since lockdown says a recent YouGov survey for the RSA. There are also lots of changes, such as cooking more from scratch, local deliveries and exercise outside that people report enjoying. Some of the changes have also had a positive impact on the environment, as well as our health.
So we’ve picked 5 more positive changes you can try out during lockdown, to improve your carbon footprint.
In the UK, most of us recycle in some way, but there are lots of bits, like bathroom bottles, toilet roll insides and scrap paper which somehow wheedle their way into the regular rubbish. The average household in the UK sends half a tonne of waste to landfill every year. But if everyone recycled everything they could, this can cut over 100 kilos off each personal carbon footprint every year.
Not only a great money saver, but also good for the planet. If you stop throwing out all edible food, (not including peelings, skins etc), this can cut a big chunk off your footprint. Food waste generates methane as it breaks down, but also the production of food, in particular meat, generates a lot of carbon emissions too.
So if you currently throw out quite a lot of edible food, and cut that to zero food waste, this reduces your footprint by 250 kilos! Particularly good at the moment when it’s not always easy to get to the shops.
This is an all-time favourite! One of the biggest and easiest wins is to change your electricity provider to a 100% renewable company. That means instead of electricity being made from burning coal or gas, it is made from wind and solar. People in the Giki community have decided to make the change recently and they tell us it takes 15 minutes on the phone and doesn’t cost anymore.
Many of us have been tempted to indulge in some online retail therapy to alleviate lockdown boredom! In the UK, we buy an average of well over 30 items of clothing or footwear each per year.
Clothing has a high water usage, often in regions where there is water scarcity, chemicals and processing can be highly polluting and anything made of polyester comes from oil, a fossil fuel. So here are a couple of ways to reduce your impact.
- Checking cupboards before buying is a good first step – how often do you find a nice forgotten item buried in the back of the drawers? If people cut new clothes purchases from over 30, to around 10, this can cut each personal footprint by nearly 250 kilos of carbon emissions.
- Or try second hand. There are lots of great sites like Depop, or posh, expensive ones like Rebelle where you can pick up lots of second hand goodies.
Reduce red meat
Red meat has one of the biggest carbon footprints of everything we eat. While we’re all cooking more at home, it’s a great time to try swapping red meat with other options. There are lots of meat substitutes, like Quorn, or beans and lentils. These can make a very tasty alternative, packed with protein and most of the time, a lot cheaper too. Swapping out red meat in our diet can cut your food footprint by 25%.
These are just a few of the steps that can make a real difference. If you want to find more steps to cut your impact, sign up here, to be the first to hear when Giki Zero launches. It’s a step by step guide to a sustainable life, with over 100 ways to live more sustainably…Coming very soon.