Blog

Sustainable Living - setting personal goals that make a difference to your carbon footprint

Jane Bennett

Marketing Manager
23/01/2019

Our first sustainability blog focused on setting sustainability goals within your business. Our second blog looks at some ideas for personal goals you may like to set yourself to reduce your carbon footprint. There are so many ways! We’re focusing on some ideas for sustainable clothes, travel and lifestyle.

Did you know?

A huge 91% of plastic isn’t recycled with National Geographic quoting that even scientists who set out to conduct the world’s first tally of how much plastic has been produced, discarded, burned or put in landfills, were horrified by the sheer size of the numbers! As we know a huge quantity of this ends up in our oceans! Therefore, today's solution might be less about recycling and more about minimising plastic consumption and supporting brands that have innovative solutions to plastic production and waste as well as other sustainable materials.

Travel

  • Try to cycle or walk whenever you can or travel by public transport where possible. Perhaps set a goal to do this once a week to start with.
  • With a smartphone there’s no need to print boarding passes.
  • Carry your own reusable cup rather than buying take-away drinks at home and abroad.

Sustainable clothes

Search for brands that use recyclable or surplus fabrics and insulation. Polyester (used from renewed plastic bottles) and organic cotton etc. Brands that ensure their products are more environmentally friendly. Try to avoid using resources that are increasingly scarce and products that use toxic processes in their production. You may have to dig a little deeper to find these - here’s just a few ideas:

  • hemp, bamboo, sustainably-harvested wood, up-cycled cotton & recycled rubber
  • cleaner production like low impact dyes, energy efficient, sustainable manufacturing, handmade & BPA Free (BPA is an industrial chemical)
  • a lower carbon footprint such as offsetting carbon by finding ways to negate the carbon that’s being emitted, recycled/recyclable packaging, compostable packing and products made in the UK, (both individuals and businesses can join organisations that implement energy efficiency, reforestation, and renewable energy programs to offset a portion (or all) of the carbon emissions created).
  • high quality recycled stainless steel, wool, sustainably-harvested rubber and recycled cotton
  • and less waste such as compostable and recyclable

Phew what a huge list, which shows how much choice there is if we take time to look. There are sites that list multiple brands offering sustainable clothing that have done all the work for us. Also consider vintage clothing and look for clothing swap sites which are emerging.

Lifestyle

  • Buy from sellers who sell bulk unpackaged foods e.g. markets, health care shops, co-operatives etc.
  • Carry cloth bag/s which can be used for purchases like fruit & vegetables, bread etc. to avoid using plastic or paper bags.
  • Buy natural and organic bedding, certified organic cotton which is grown without pesticides and using sustainable farming practices
  • Swap single use products for re-useable. There are many options available for bowl covers instead of foil and plastic wrap, homemade sponges, stainless steel straws, re-usable make-up pads and mop covers.
  • Try making your own products. Did you know how easy and fun it is to make toothpaste? Think of all those tubes you regularly throw away.
  • Consider all-natural products e.g. bamboo toothbrush and travel case that is recyclable and compostable. There are many sustainable alternatives to plastic for our everyday products.

Refusing things that you don’t need will all help e.g. free giveaways, samples & flyers

Why is bamboo a popular alternative to plastic?

There are many plastic alternatives that we use every day. Bamboo for example, is becoming more and more popular for replacing everyday plastic products.

  • Bamboo absorbs carbon dioxide and release 35% more oxygen into the atmosphere than an equivalent stand of hardwood trees.
  • It can be harvested in 3-5 years depending on the species. When harvested it will grow a new shoot from the same root system leaving no need for replanting.
  • Bamboo is a grass not a tree. It is naturally organic and does not require pesticides, fertilizers or irrigation to enhance growth. It instead grows like a weed.
  • It is antibacterial & hypoallergenic.

This blog only touches on a few ideas, as with everything it is always best to do your own research and come to your own conclusions, but we hope this helps you start your voyage of discovery.

“When you purchase sustainable goods, you are directly investing in your wellbeing, the health of all living things, and the mission of environmental preservation!”

Sources: National Geographic article 20th December 2018; Earthhero; Sustainably-chic; Melanin and sustainable style blog 9th September 2018; Mindfulmomma.com

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