5 Practical Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Make small changes throughout the semester.

When looking for ways to combat climate change and decrease our carbon footprint, limiting the amount of travel we do by plane is often a recommendation.

But considering the vastness of our country, and our mid-year desire for sunshine only found north of the equator, substituting a plane for a train is near impossible.

Don’t feel guilty about contributing to global warming by sinking Jager Bombs in Belgium, get creative instead! By changing your habits throughout the semester, you can offset the carbon emitted during your long haul.

Figure Out The Numbers

The first step of your carbon offset journey is to figure out how much carbon you actually produced during your travels. Head to NoCo2, input your flight details (you can add your accommodation and car hire too) and the algorithm will pop out the tonnes of CO2 produced during your trip, giving you your reduction goal.

Donate Some Dollars 

If you’d prefer to buy your way to being carbon natural, the NoCo2 also provides you with an option to pay for the carbon offset. A round trip from Brisbane to Helsinki will set you back $192AUD.

Shake Up Your Transport Routine

On average, Australians travel 15,530 kilometres by car per year, with each kilometre generating 188 grams of CO2. Public transport uses at most 22 grams of C02 per kilometre.

If you substitute half of your car travel with public transport, you’ll be able to prevent around 2919 kilograms of CO2 rocketing into the atmosphere. That’s a carbon saving of a one-way ticket from Melbourne to Honolulu.

Consider Cutting Out Meat

If longer travel time isn’t your jam, vegetarianism is an arrow straight into the heart of global warming. Meatless Mondays save 188 kilograms of CO2 per year and removing red meat altogether would save 8 kilograms per day, equalling 2920 kilograms of CO2 per year.

By cutting red meat out of your diet for 12 months, you’ve covered your return trip from Adelaide to Auckland.

Fashion, Baby!

If you’re looking to start small, then start with one of the worst. Even if we don’t consider the landfill overflowing with barely worn clothing, the textile industry—the second biggest polluter after the oil industry—is a heavyweight in the consumption game.

The average Australian buys 27kg of brand new clothing each year totalling an average omission of 750 kilograms of carbon dioxide. Most of this comes from getting the clothing from third world countries to your doorstep. If you buy your clothing second-hand, you’ll make up for a third of your flight from Perth to Bali.

Water, Water Everywhere

Despite the fact we can’t tell the difference, we’re still paying at least 250 times the amount of tap water for bottled water. So, if you want to make a small but immediate change, buy yourself a reusable water bottle.

With each 500ml bottle of water, we consume 82 grams of carbon dioxide, consuming one bottle of water per day equates to a third of your one-way flight from Sydney to Newcastle.

Some of these measures may seem near impossible, some insignificant, but if anything, these lifestyle changes will show you the grand scale in which planes cause havoc on our environment. Scary? Yes. Hard? Yes.

But vegetarians exist, and so do people who don’t buy new clothing, so if you want to take your carbon offset seriously, follow these tips. Even if you can only commit to one, you’ll offset your travel in no time!

Kelly Walker is a creative writer and recovering bagel addict based in Melbourne. When she’s not writing or playing roller derby, she’s searching for the best smashed avo ever. She’s on Twitter at @kellywalker89 and promises to start tweeting, one day.

(Lead image: Forgetting Sarah Marshall/Universal)