We all know how important it is for the planet to reduce our carbon footprint, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming knowing where to start. The good news is that there are loads of small changes we can do that make a big difference. Here are my top ten tips to help reduce your carbon footprint in the mornings, from the moment you get out of bed.
Guest written by Lynda D’Aboh of @wonderlustinglynda
There’s nothing like a hot shower to get you going in the morning, making it very tempting to stay in there for as long as possible, especially as the weather gets colder.
However, long showers use up vast amounts of energy which means a high carbon footprint. Pawprint estimates that 10 minutes in the shower causes about 600g CO2e to be released into the atmosphere. That’s 220 kg CO2e per year, just on showering (if you shower once a day).
Have a more eco-friendly shower by limiting yourself to five minutes or less. If you’re not sure you’ll know when time is up, stick on a tune and challenge yourself to be out of the shower by the time it’s finished. I love singing in the shower… Not sure my neighbours agree.
Our bathroom shelves are often stacked with plastic. Plastic which, typically, is less likely to be recycled than kitchen plastic (for example).
An easy swap for a more environmentally-friendly bathroom is to stop buying plastic bottles of soap, shower gel and hair products. Instead, try zero waste, packaging-free bars of soap, deodorant, solid shampoo and conditioner. Packaging aside, their compact size also means less carbon is used for transportation.
There are now lots of great options made with all natural ingredients that don’t bioaccumulate. I also find that they’re much more concentrated, so last longer which is great for my purse. Having to buy and use less is always a win.
Beauty Kubes have handy littles cubes of shampoo, conditioner and bodywash that are great for travel too.
Elsa’s Organics award-winning natural deodorant is available in a zero waste tin, smells amazing and does the job brilliantly.
That plastic toothbrush that you used for three months will be lurking in landfill for hundreds of years, or break down causing damage to the environment.
Swapping to a bamboo toothbrush, made from ethically sourced, biodegradable bamboo is so much kinder to the earth.Used bamboo brushes can be composted with garden waste and decompose within months.
Organically Epic offers a range of eco-friendly dental products.For toothpaste I like to use a powder, paste or tablets in zero-waste packaging which avoids the use of toothpaste tubes.
Brushd have a fab range of toothpaste and mouthwash tablets, especially handy for the handbag.
Ben & Anna offer toothpaste in glass jars.Alternatively, if these products are out of your price range (or you need something specific that hasn’t got an eco-friendly option yet) then going a bit out of your way to recycle what you do use is the best way to lower your carbon footprint in the morning.
Colgate and Terracyle offer a recycling scheme for oral care products that enables you to drop off your tubes at a local deposit.
Check out Pawprint’s ‘How to live a sustainable lifestyle at home’ guide for more information on recycling miscellaneous items. Aside from swapping out the plastic, be sure to not leave the tap running while you brush as that wastes water. I fill a cup and then rinse and swill using that water.
We can all reduce our use of single-use, disposable items in the bathroom by swapping them out for more sustainable choices.
Reusable options are available for everything from cotton pads, to razors, to ear buds and period products.
Metal safety razors—with changeable razor blades—can last a lifetime. Disposable blades are thrown away after a few uses.
Friction Free Shaving offers blades on subscription, with a metal handle that you will only need to buy once. Bamboo cotton pads can be washed and used repeatedly, rather than a cotton ball or makeup wipe which you use once. Tabitha Eve or Bambaw have great reusable options.
For periods, there is an array of reusable options including menstrual cups, reusable pads, period pants and even the world’s first reusable tampon applicators from Dame.
In the past, finding low or zero waste makeup was a challenge.
Thankfully there are now a number of eco-friendly makeup brands available; Lush and Zao offer some great, affordable options.If you’re a luxury lover then Kjaer Weis is your best bet.
Remember that the most environmentally friendly makeup option is to use up what you already have before buying anything new!
Multitasking/multi-use products are great as they save on the number of items you use.
Look out for reusable glass/metal packaging, as that can be upcycled when you’ve finished the product.
Mascara wands can’t be recycled but can be used by animal shelters for taking care of rescues, so check your local shelter to see if they need it before you chuck it.
Traditionally manufactured toilet roll (made from virgin paper) can be very wasteful.The good news is that there are now plenty of eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives available.
You can pick up Cheeky Panda in most supermarkets.
Ecoleaf offers toilet rolls made with 100% recycled fibres, sourced from the UK.Bumboo use 100% bamboo and have a “buy one, plant one” partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects.
Who Gives a Crap lets you order loo roll on subscription and they donate 50% of their profits to building toilets in areas that need them. Plus, their copywriting/packaging is excellent. Everyone needs a loo chuckle every once in a while.
These are just a few options. Basically, look out for tree-free toilet rolls made from rapidly growing bamboo, biodegradable fibres such as corn starch, or recycled paper.
That first mug of coffee or cuppa is a morning must!But if you’re boiling the kettle, only fill it with the amount of water you need. Otherwise it’s a waste of electricity, plus you have to wait longer for your caffeine fix (which nobody wants).
Pawprint estimates that if every adult in the UK only boiled what they need, collectively we’d save around 300,000 tonnes CO2e per year. The same as making over 1000 return trips to the moon in the average car. Loose tea and reusable, refillable tea bags and coffee pods will reduce waste and cut down on packaging. If you add milk, studies show that oat milk is the most environmentally-friendly, dairy-free option, as it requires the least amount of water to produce. Plus, it has a lovely creamy, neutral taste.
Plant-based diets will benefit the environment by significantly reducing carbon emissions from food production.If going completely plant-based isn’t an option for you, going pescatarian or cutting down on red meat can have a big impact.
Going meat and dairy-free for even just one day a week (like Meatless Mondays) is a great way to start to reduce your carbon footprint; according to Pawprint, you’d save around 3kg CO2e per meal by cutting out red meat and 2kg CO2e by cutting out dairy.There are now lots of vegan options available in supermarkets and you can even try making facon from banana peel.
One of the easiest but most powerful ways to help the environment is to reduce your food waste.Billions of meals are thrown away each year in the UK, going straight to landfill where they generate greenhouse gases (as well as waste all of the resources that went into their production).
Smoothies are a quick and healthy, sustainable breakfast. By whizzing up leftover produce (including bits of vegetables that you might normally throw away, like beetroot leaves or coriander stalks) you’ll create a delicious smoothie, load up on vitamins, and reduce your food waste. Win-win-win. If you’ve got a morning workout planned, fuel up by adding plant-based pea protein powder, one of the most environmentally-friendly sources of protein.
I love shopping at our local farmers’ market. It’s full of locally produced, seasonal and sustainable foods, including breakfast items.They also make it easier to just buy what I need, which allows me to avoid plastic and excessive packaging.
Of course, farmer’s markets can be expensive so if that’s not in budget then an alternative is to be ‘in the know’ about what is/isn’t in season. Continue shopping at your usual supermarket, but only buy items that are grown in the UK (or nearby) and are in-season.
Right now seasonal produce available includes apples, beetroot, blackberries, chestnuts, elderberries, pumpkin, plums, and wild mushrooms. Which sounds like perfect ingredients to brunch in style!
For more information on what’s in season right now, check out Pawprint’s article: ‘Autumn vegetables UK: my favourite low carbon recipes’ which was guest written by Becca Heyes of @EasyCheesyVeg.
We hope it’s sparked some ideas for how to reduce the carbon footprint of your actions. To better understand your carbon footprint, and learn how to reduce it through your everyday activities, try Pawprint. It’s fun, it’s free and it’s for everyone—for the vegetarians, the vegans and the meat-eaters; the travellers, the shopaholics, and the homebodies. We’re for anyone and everyone who wants to do their bit. Because fighting climate change isn’t about what you can’t do. It’s about what you can do.