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My carbon footprint & why I can’t do nearly enough

The truth of it is that, for Joe Bloggs and I, aiming for zero waste is truly difficult – alone the fact that I have not managed to source all the items I need for MY everyday life without plastic is both frustrating and deeply saddening. Some issues arise due to my disability / health and others due to low/reduced income (2020 was difficult for most businesses thanks to COVID-19), and yet more because I ordered something which is eco / zero waste / compositable etc., but it turns out it has travelled the world in order to arrive at my doorstep. I am also not in a position to change some things at this time, e.g. gas usage due to cost and feasibility. Even without a car, without taking a bus, without buying products wrapped in plastic, I managed to STILL leave a significant footprint on this planet.

To be honest, I would like to move away to the middle of nowhere and live in an eco house, where my footprint is genuinely zero because I grow all my own food, and power my own home etc. etc. …. sigh, THAT is the dream. In the meantime, however, here are some of the ways in which I have tried to reduce my carbon footprint further during the past few years by:

  • changing my energy (electricity / gas) supplier/tariff
  • changing my domain hosting (numerous websites) supplier/tariff
  • calculating & offsetting as much of my carbon footprint as possible

Energy at home / at work

Octopus Energy

It took me a matter of minutes to switch to green energy online two years ago, and I have not looked back. I chose the Super Green Tariff with Octopus Energy, which offers 100% renewable electricity and full carbon offsets for gas. This means that, in terms of the energy I use, my home is carbon neutral – leaving no footprint on the planet. The excellent customer service (Which? Recommended 2021 – 5 Star Customer Service) and transparent pricing (much cheaper than I expected – I saved money !) are just a bonus!

But remember, TAKE SMALL STEPS! If you can’t afford the greenest tariff there is, do what you can! Every tiny thing you CAN do, helps! Other super green energy suppliers include Ecotricity, Bulb and Ovo Energy.

Hosting

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Krystal-1024x576.jpg

I have numerous websites, blogs and even business sites – all of which require hosting services.

I searched for the green hosting companies online, and found Krystal Hosting, a UK hosting company who work hard to not only achieve carbon neutrality of their electrical energy usage, but make sustainability a core part of their business by running on 100% renewable energy – even their datacentres run on 100% renewable energy and have achieved a PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) rating of 1.12. Additionally, they work with Trees For Life and Ecologi to plant trees in the Scottish Highlands and their staff are incentivised to switch to 100% renewable energy at home. Enter the referral code ZEROWASTELLAMA at checkout, £20 will be credited to your account!

Other green hosting companies include Guru, Kualo, Eco Hosting and Green Hosting.

“Offsetting” my Carbon Footprint

There are many organisations who offer to plant trees on our behalf, provide energy-efficient solutions to communities in developing countries etc, and this is all wonderful news! But it is also the subject of much discussion… “Offsetting” provides us with for an “easy way out” by paying others to reduce THEIR emissions and/or planting trees to absorb CO2 to compensate for our own emissions. It can take up to as much as 20 years for a newly planted tree to capture the amount of CO2 that such calculations show that we should be offsetting for one year…. Basically, “Carbon Offsetting” is wonderful marketing for any business: it means they can continue to e.g. extract/burn fossil fuels as usual, without feeling bad, or making their customers feel bad by using them. (Cheat Neutral offers a similar service for infidelity: “When you cheat on your partner you add to the heartbreak, pain and jealousy in the atmosphere, CheatNeutral offsets your cheating by funding someone else to be faithful and not cheat. This neutralises the pain and unhappy emotion and leaves you with a clear conscience.”)

BUT if we can plant trees, support developing countries etc. IN ADDITION TO reducing our own carbon footprint, we are making small additional steps towards a better way of living!

Reflection of trees & pink clouds in a blue sky in a lake. Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I am not currently in the position to live off-grid self-sufficiently and plant 100 trees a day to soak up the emissions of others (I truly wish I was!), so I approached a few organisations who offer Carbon Offsetting (for individuals and/or businesses), and asked a few questions based on my own personal circumstances. I also used a variety of the carbon footprint calculating tools to estimate what I needed to offset on behalf of my business and myself as an individual. What I was not considering was water, and any physical purchases I make (even just a pen!) – these do have emissions in their delivery to me.

Offsetting 43 years of my own footprints is presently not feasible for me, but I CAN try and offset more carbon than I currently use. As and when I am in a position to increase this any (lets face it, I might not make 86 years old!), I will.

I chose Carbon Neutral BritainTM – mainly because they took the time to respond to me and discuss my circumstances and efforts in detail, but also because they offered a range of carbon-neutral packages to suit both businesses and individuals. For as little as the cost of a coffee and a slice of cake, you can “become carbon neutral” – OR, the way I view it: offset more carbon than you currently use.

Carbon Neutral Britain

Plant Trees Each Month
Plant 20 trees in sustainable projects in Britain and around the world e.g. to prevent deforestation in the amazon rainforest, plant mangrove and coastal forest species in Kenya, and many more. Over 1 year you will plant 240 trees – the equivalent to 1 acre of Amazon Rainforest

Carbon Neutral Britain

Offset Your Carbon Footprint
Offset 1.25 Tonnes of CO²e through United Nations Certified Emission Reduction Projects: fund wind farms, solar farms and many other projects. 1.25 Tonnes of CO²e equates to the average British carbon emissions per person, per month – so you will offset all your climate impact each month.

Carbon Neutral Britain

Make a difference
Offset your climate impact: Increased Carbon Dioxide (CO²) emissions in the atmosphere are the biggest cause of Global Warming on our Planet. Everything you do – what you buy, eat and where you go, adds to the amount of CO²e produced, adding to Global Warming.

There are many other organisations out there who offer this service including Ecologi, Earthly, Carbon Footprint, The Woodland Trust, Trees For Life and Forest Carbon.

This is an ongoing process….

I live, I learn. So I am putting the majority of this post as a page, with the view of adding to it in the future!