How you can buy better to cut your carbon footprint this Earth Day

Earth Day is one of the world’s largest environmental movements, and there are lots of ways you can make a difference this April 22nd to protect our planet.

Graphic of the world hugging itself with hearts and trees with money on a light blue background

The theme for Earth Day 2023 is ‘Invest in our planet’ and this month, we’re giving you ways you can Buy Better and Invest Greener. It’s estimated that one billion people will be taking action this Earth Day to vote earth, end plastics and take part in the global clean up. Will you be one of them?

Protect the planet with better purchases

Reduce your plastic consumption

There’s an old saying to ‘put your money where your mouth is’. We all have buying power and influence through our spending decisions and if we all try to think a little greener and make a change, together we can have a huge impact.

Did you know bottled water has a carbon footprint 300 times that of tap water? Committing to buy no plastic water bottles and recycling plastic bags at the supermarket will reduce the plastic waste, which end up in landfills and in our oceans, impacting millions of animals and habitats. It can also help save you money.

Shop more sustainably

Fast fashion is also a growing problem and one that more and more people are becoming aware of. If you are on the lookout for a new wardrobe for next season, why not consider buying second hand from retailers like eBay, Vinted, Depop or the charity shop.

You can also teach yourself to repair your clothes or if you want to go even further, commit to buy no new clothes for three months.

Reduce chemical pollution

Another way you can help is by switching to greener cleaning products. Many cleaning products are harmful to animals that live in the rivers and seas (which is where they end up when you flush or put them down the sink!).

Some products also contain chemicals which “bioaccumluate” which means they build up in animals faster than they can get rid of them leading to long term poisoning. By switching to more sustainable products, with low or no chemicals you can make a difference to protect oceanic habitats.

Check out the low chemical bathroom step for more ideas. And one of the most widely used ingredients in food and non food products is palm oil. You can find it in most supermarket aisles and avoiding it, or buying sustainable palm oil only helps avoid mass deforestation driven over recent decades to clear virgin rainforests to grow it. It’s sold in many of our favourite products like peanut butter, chocolate and even cosmetics. You can find out more about palm oil and it’s impact right here.

Save your wages and savings more sustainably

One area of our lives where we can also make a difference is considering how we save our money. Many banks lend the money you put into your account to other people and companies. A part of those funds often go to fossil fuel companies if your bank lends to them.

This money may then help fund exploration and extraction by fossil fuel companies. As just 100 fossil fuel companies account for over half of global carbon emissions since the Industrial Revolution, you can see what a major role this sector plays in causing climate change. By switching to a fossil fuel free bank, you make it harder for fossil fuel companies to find finance, meaning less exploration and exploitation of our planet.

You can also try switching your pension and any ISAs to a fossil fuel free provider to have an even bigger impact.

In the UK, the Current Account Switch Guarantee means your new bank will switch your payments and transfer your balance. Your old bank will then close your account. This should take no longer than seven days to complete.

If you are interested in investing, try our fossil fuel free investments step for some great tips to get you started.

And lastly, we all love to give gifts and presents to our loved ones. But next time someone’s birthday comes along, you might want to consider more thoughtful giving and avoid giving unwanted presents. 50% of people receive a gift each year that they don’t want or cannot use. As a result 1 in 20 gifts go straight in the bin and the rest are given away, sold or sit in the cupboard.

If this has inspired you to get started, take action and buy better this Earth Day, you can sign up now to Giki Zero for free, measure your impact and try some steps to help cut a tonne from your carbon footprint this year.