YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT AND YOU: WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR HIDDEN EMISSIONS
From transport to travel to trash, greenhouse gas emissions are embedded in the choices we make in our day-to-day lives. To tackle the carbon footprint you may unknowingly produce, it is essential to know where it is coming from. Ecological footprint calculators such as The Global Footprint Network’s quiz can provide a great illustration of your individual carbon footprint – but how can we reduce it? Here are some of the simple changes you can make in your daily life.
An increasingly discussed issue in recent years is the investments by super funds made with your contributions that you may not be aware of. While your funds stack up in the background, there is a high chance the investment fund you have been dealt does not align with your values, and could be investing in the growth of companies you’d rather not support. Often, we are attributed superannuation accounts by our first employers, however it’s not too late to change to one of the many environmentally conscious and ethical super funds that exist in Australia.
Ethical superfunds such as Australian Ethical Super and Future Super exclusively choose companies to invest in that meet a predetermined set of ethical criteria, while other larger funds like Australian Super and Sunsuper offer ethical investment options that customers can opt into.
If you are wondering whether you’re already with an ethical super fund, a great place to start is by checking if it’s certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), before looking further into the specific ethical actions your fund is taking through the company’s website.
With an increasing reliance on technology, we’re bound to have a few forgotten phones lying around and collecting dust. Between 2018 and 2019, approximately 539,000 tonnes of e-waste was generated in Australia, however only half of it was recycled.
The simplest way you can contribute to reducing e-waste and use your rubbish for good is by taking old phones to recycling facilities like MobileMuster, a government accredited recycling program specialising in the repurposing of phone materials, with facilities in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. Dropping your pre-loved phones of at partnering retailers to be recycled is a sure way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions required to create new products from scratch, conserve natural materials and resources, and clear out that tech-graveyard hiding at the back of your drawers.
Recycling the Right Way
While most recycling is as simple as popping waste in the council recycling bin, our packaging provides more information on how to correctly recycle than we may realise at first glance.
Interpreting this information can be confusing, however a number between one and seven found inside the recycling symbol will correlate to the type of material that packaging is made of. Most of the time, codes 1, 2, and 5 can be conventionally recycled through council bins, however numbers 3, 4, 6, and 7 must be double-checked before throwing it in the recycle. There is a comprehensive guide to materials and what that means for their disposal on the ecobin website.
To make recycling easier, some soft-plastic packaging from Coles and Woolworths will indicate that items can be brought back to the store, where they will be responsibly recycled by REDcycle to make into new products. Spending that extra minute to interpret the material number and consciously dispose of your waste will not only clear up any recycling ambiguity you may harbour, but bring to light how much of your weekly shop really is recyclable.
TIP: Make sure your recyclables are completely empty, washed, and dried before chucking them in your recycle bin.
Australia is a vast country, with incredibly scenic natural and man-made destinations scattered across all of our states and territories. However, destinations that are distanced and sparse make slow travel a particularly difficult task for those wanting to be environmentally conscious. While some places can’t be travelled to without a large use of emissions, for most destinations, there is a better way to travel.
Travelling by car rather than flying will usually produce less greenhouse gas emissions per person, however travelling by train or bus is much more likely to be a greener way to see the sights.
It’s not just greener – slow travel provides holidaymakers with opportunities to appreciate our natural landscapes between destinations, creating relaxing holidays that bring people closer to our natural wonders and provide more chances to connect with locals in each destination.
Where have you noticed your hidden carbon footprint?