7 surprising ways of reducing Co2, every day
We all know that we need to find ways of reducing Co2 emissions. We often think about air flights, and car driving as the big Co2 emitters of our lives. However, Co2 has many indirect links to our everyday lives as well. Here are a few ways to reduce your everyday carbon footprint in ways you might not have thought about before.
The average person's carbon footprint is about 10 tonnes, which is equivalent to filling 24 million balloons with carbon (Carbon Calculator).
Did you know that the internet alone is responsible for 2% of carbon emission on the earth?
More than 12 billion emails are sent across the planet in just one hour, and that alone leads to the use of 4000 ton of petroleum. Cooling servers uses huge amounts of energy, and the more digital content, the more servers are needed. Quoting a study by Welcome to Jungle, “Sending 33 emails of 1mb to two recipients daily produces 180 kg of Co2 every year, the same as driving 1000 km by car”. Sending email might be unavoidable in our everyday lives, however, it's not only sending emails that create Co2 emissions, but also the unwanted emails sitting in your email server that are eating up space in data centre servers.
It might surprise you, but going through your email and deleting unnecessary emails is an easy way to reduce Co2 emissions by a considerable amount. Storing 1 GB of data for one year results in about 2 kg of Co2 emissions ( Medium.com ) . In this digital era, maybe we should make it a routine to do a digital cleaning once in a while, just like we clean our homes. While you do a digital cleaning, we’re sure you’ll find some lost treasures.
Second hand fashion
Did you know that the fashion industry is responsible for more carbon emissions than the whole aviation industry?
The World Resources Institute estimates that the fast fashion industry annually releases about 1.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide. And to make it even more unbelievable, according to The World Bank, 40% of clothing purchased in some countries is never used. A polyester shirt produces the equivalent of 5.5kg of carbon dioxide (BBC). Considering that clothing has in many places become non-durable goods this is an industry that we all have to take on - and change!
By getting second hand clothing, both avoid the Co2 emissions from new clothing and the Co2 emitted from the clothing waste process. When you do need to buy new, buy quality that lasts, avoid synthetic materials like polyester, which releases large amounts of carbon emissions in addition to microplastics, and opt for sustainable fabrics such as hemp, linen, jute, e.g. Reuse, repair, sell.
And BTW: “Africa” doesn't need our clothing to make us feel better. Let us know if you want us to elaborate on why.
Food waste and Composting
Did you know food is one of the biggest contributors to the Carbon emissions?
Food production is responsible for one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. On top of it, food waste is another big contributor of Co2. In all, food accounts for over 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions. 20% of all the food that is produced in Europe becomes waste ( Our World in Data ). This is a lot!!
Plan well so you don’t buy too much food, reuse those plastic boxes, or glass jars for your leftovers, and start a routine where you always finish up what you stored. What cannot be made into leftovers still has value! Composting helps to transfer the carbon from food waste into the soil instead of the air. It also gives nutrition to the soil and plants, which helps growth and thus contributes to capturing more Co2.
Reduce food waste, save money, pack delicious leftover lunches and help those plants prosper, and while considerably reducing your carbon footprint.
Wash and Dry the right way
Did you know that doing two loads of laundry weekly in cold water instead of hot or warm water can save up to 225 kg of carbon dioxide each year?
Washing your clothing in cold water can reduce co2 emission substantially. 90% of the energy used by washing machines during laundry goes towards heating the water ( Cold water saves) . The enzymes in many detergents are actually designed to clean better in cold water. Another way of using energy responsibly is by hanging your clothes to dry. According to Guardian.com, a household running a dryer 200 times a year could save nearly half a ton of CO2e by switching to a clothes rack or washing line.
If you use the laundry machine at night when less energy is used in general you help evening out the overall energy use, which can help reduce the toll on the grid, thus making it easier to depend on renewable sources like wind energy.
Did you know that 14.5% of the global carbon footprint comes from the production of meat and livestock farming?
Meat. Yea, we had to include it. Most people know that reducing meat has a large effect on reducing Co2 and other greenhouse gasses. But many don't know the extent of this effect. The production of 1 kg beef causes about 13.3 kg of CO2. That the same quantity of CO2 released as when you burn about 6 litres of petrol (Time for change) !
There are 15 times more farm animals on earth than wildlife. Let that sink in. For every person on earth, there are approximately 3 chickens (Greenpeace) . This requires huge land areas, resulting in deforestation, which again results in reduced Co2 capturing and wildlife habitats. According to the Science study, on an average, Co2 emissions from plant-based foods are 10 to 50 times smaller than from animal products (Interactive Carbonbrief). Every mouthful counts, so do what you can to reduce your meat consumption.
Reduce plastic waste
Did you know the carbon footprint of plastic is about 6 kg CO2 per kg of plastic?
Most of the plastic is made with virgin petroleum, and it's a long and polluting process from pumping up the raw oil, refining it and transporting it around before melting it into packaging or product. After it's wasted, there's yet another Co2 emitting process of transporting it around to waste facilities, sorting it, and so on. The waste pollution of plastic leaking into nature and the oceans is in itself yet another reason to reduce any plastic that quickly becomes waste.
While recycled plastic can be a good solution for plastic that we do need for various long term things. It still requires processing and emits both Co2 and plastic waste into nature. Reduction is the only main solution if we look at the larger picture. (Time for change)
Unplugging- By using energy responsibly
Were you aware that unplugging allows you to save around 10% of total energy consumption?
Powering off your devices or unplugging your chargers, isn't only good for your devices but also for the planet. A small action simply as unplugging the charger out of the electric socket can help reduce around 10% of your everyday energy consumption and hence considerably reduce Co2 emissions.
If you're that person who always let your phone charger dangling from the power socket on the wall, does not switch off your cable box and the one who forgets to put your laptop on sleep mode, then there is a big possibility for you to work on your carbon footprints. Adapting to these new habits and behavior can save not only money but a lot of energy. (News Climate)
*Co2 from energy use depends on the energy mix of your location. However, power grids are often connected between borders, meaning that reduced energy use in a place where there is mostly renewable energy can still reduce fossil energy and thus Co2 emissions when looking at the whole picture.
Vandana Rawat, marketing team at Indo Naturals
Vandana is a designer from India currently based in Norway with previous experience working with several rural and marginalized groups before. Vandana is passionate about using design as a tool to help rural groups reach their potential, and this way enable them to develop their skills and see healthy economic growth.