How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Global warming is a huge concern for everyone across the world, which is why so many people are looking to make small tweaks to their lifestyle in order to reduce their individual impact on the environment. Whilst many people are aware of the changes they can make in their home, some people are unaware of how to reduce their carbon footprint at work.
From reusable coffee cups for your morning brew, to rethinking your commute – there are a number of different ways to reduce your carbon footprint when you’re in the office. But what exactly is a carbon footprint and how can reducing yours help with global warming.
What is a Carbon Footprint?
Before you work on reducing it, you might be wondering what a carbon footprint is.
The term ‘carbon footprint’ is all related to global warming. Put simply, climate change, or ‘global warming’ as it is alternately known, occurs when greenhouse gases are released due to the production or consumption of goods and services. ‘Greenhouse gas’ is an umbrella term referring toa number of naturally occurring gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapour, as well as several synthetic, or fluorinated gases.
An overabundance of these gases causes heat to become trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, just like a greenhouse traps in heat. As a result, global temperatures rise, weather patterns change, and the associated ecology is disrupted. So where does carbon footprint fit into all of this?
The activities we do which produce greenhouse gases, such as travelling by car or plane, food and clothing manufacturing, burning coal and electricity use all contribute towards your carbon footprint.
What are the Effects of Global Warming?
According to the United Nations, the global population will be at 10.9 billion by the end of the century and more people means more emissions, therefore an increase in global warming.
There are several different effects of global warming, including rising sea levels due to polar ice caps melting, an increased risk of flooding in some areas and droughts in others. This will have a huge impact not only on people’s health, but also local, national and global economies.
The good news is that there’s a chance the effects of climate change can be managed. The Paris Agreement, which came into force in 2016, aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. However, to do this, our collective carbon footprint needs to be reduced.
The Best Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Now you know why it’s so important, you might be wondering what the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint are.
When it comes to reducing your carbon footprint at work, there are multiple different steps you can take to contribute towards reducing global carbon emissions and reaching the aforementioned target, including:
Eat Seasonally – From your lunch to your mid-morning snack, by making sure you choose seasonal produce for all of the meals you consume at work (and at home, of course) you can contribute towards reducing your carbon footprint. Foods which are out of season will have to be imported – usually by plane – which creates more greenhouse gas emissions as a result.
Switch up Your Commute –Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint at work is to switch up your commute. If you usually drive to your office, consider walking, cycling, or getting public transport. On average, one car will produce 4.06 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, so changing your transportation method can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint.
Shop Mindfully – Whether you wear suits or something more casual to the office, it might surprise you that clothing manufacturing accounts for up to 10% of the world’s carbon emissions. However, shopping sustainably for your work attire, including shopping second-hand, can help to reduce your individual carbon footprint.
Go Paperless – Another simple solution to reduce your carbon footprint at work is to try and go paperless. From using a cloud-based system, to keeping all of your emails, there really is very little need to print things these days and it can have a huge impact on the environment!
Use Reusable Coffee Cups – As tempting as it might be to stop by your favourite coffee shop on the way to the office each morning, using single-use coffee cups can really increase your carbon footprint. Instead, invest in a reusable coffee cup that you can use time and time again. The same goes for cutlery – if you’re used to getting your lunch on the go, try bringing your own travel cutlery.
Turn off Appliances After Use – From lights in meeting rooms, to desktop computers and chargers, simply ensuring that you turn off appliances after use can dramatically decrease your carbon footprint.
So, whether you simply change the way you commute, invest in a reusable coffee cup, or work from a more sustainable office, the more steps you take towards reducing your carbon footprint, the more chance we have of reducing the impact of global warming.