This blog post was contributed by Elissa, our Tweedy Clothing Brand Ambassador
What does ‘Carbon Footprint’ mean?
The first step in knowing how to reduce your carbon footprint, is knowing what it is and what it relates to. We have all heard of ‘green house gasses’ - a carbon footprint, is a way of measuring these gasses when they are released into the atmosphere, directly or indirectly by us in our daily lives. The carbon footprint is applied to people, groups of people (family for example), products, services, companies and countries and usually expressed as ‘tons’ per year.
Some of the broad categories where we could reduce our carbon footprint fall into; what we eat, what we buy, how we travel and our general waste generated day to day – there are way more though! This blog is meant to highlight some of the more accessible ways to reduce, rather than preach a complete lifestyle change - potential source of inspiration.
What we eat:
The agriculture industry is one of the biggest sources for producing green house gasses, the higher the demand for animal products, then the higher the level of gasses emitted. There are numerous resources going into vast amounts of detail on the subject, and with that comes controversy. However, ideas like ‘Meat Free Monday’, or a nominated meal per week where plant-based foods are on the menu, is a good way to make a small change. There are so many delicious cooking suggestions, so you don’t have to resort to the vegan sausage and that’s it, make a point to cook with new ingredients – which you might be surprised at!
We live in a World now where there is an abundance of substitutes easily accessible across all supermarkets. This is a really great shift in societal attitudes towards product consumption. There used to be a negative stigma that vegan/vegetarian foods were extortionate in price, however it is important to recognise that most ‘organic’ foods manufacturing companies pay their workers a fair living wage, and comply to high levels of hygiene when producing. It’s so valuable to research and see what’s out there that may interest you the next time you go food shopping.
We would love to hear any delicious recipes you come across, so we can share them across our social media platforms!
Some great substitutes recommendations -
Sheese (Dairy free cheese)
Vego (Vegan chocolate)
THIS (Plant based meat alternatives)
Plant Pioneers (Sainsbury’s own brand of meat alternatives)
White rabbit (Delicious Italian food everyone can enjoy)
GRO (Co-op own brand of vegan meals and snacks)
Plant Menu (Aldi own brand of affordable plant based meals)
What we buy:
I wrote a blog a while back on fast fashion, this category falls into that. There are clothing brands who are much more sustainable and environmentally aware (Tweedy Clothing is a great example of this), making their clothes far less harmful to the environment. Materials such as organic cotton, linen, hemp and bamboo are far better choices than synthetic material such as polyester – you only have to briefly look on the internet about the long-term damage synthetic materials cause – being a plastic derivative non-biodegradable for example.
Its not all about buying new stuff though, second-hand clothes, recycling clothes, and upcycling clothes are also great ways of reusing what is already in circulation. There are a good few sites recently which have sprung up such as Depop, were clothes which are seconds in some way are sold cheaper, rather than landfill them. To be honest, I have picked up some seriously good bargains on there – give it a go!
How we travel:
We may not always have as much choice over this as one would like, but as a positive by-product of the pandemic, I have had the opportunity to work at home more – saving a ton of money petrol and use of my car getting to work. We can think about alternative ways to travel, cycling, walking and shared lifts. Most workplaces operate a lift share scheme, which makes a huge difference…if there isn’t one, why not suggest setting one up?
Our general waste:
Reusing and repurposing is probably the biggest saver here in our house. I wrote a blog a short time ago on increasing your recycling with kids, and I stand by this in that rightly or wrongly convenience is a compelling factor when leading a busy life.
Using reusable water bottles, reusing tupperware containers, and reusing shopping bags are 3 daily events for us. Making a small change and reusing rather than fuelling the demand for additional plastics will make a big difference to the green house gasses produced as an individual and/or family over the course of the year.
The subject is complicated, and this blog has not even come close to scratching the surface, it affects everyone, and attracts a huge amount of emotion and controversy. This blog is to try and convey small changes on an individual level that can impact towards an overall huge difference, therefore making the quest to reduce not seem as daunting.
We would love to hear your ideas on this, tips to share for others online and perhaps some useful websites / resources to look at.
Thanks, Elissa 😊