Have you already made your list of resolutions for 2021? You know what we mean: this year I’m going to learn another language, I’m going to go to the gym every single day, I’m going to call my family more often…
Perhaps you have already thought it over, or maybe not. What we are sure about is that any list of resolutions would benefit from a few goals for the good of the planet.
Therefore, to give the year a big send-off, we have decided to tell you about the tricks we, the Sinplástico Team, use everyday to reduce our carbon footprint.
Who knows, maybe we will inspire you to add one of them to your list for 2021, so that we can all make the coming year less damaging for the earth.
Our advice to help you reduce your carbon footprint this year
Join a clean energy cooperative:
To start the year off on a good note, one of the best things you can do is get together with a network of renewable energy users.
You don’t know of any? Well, I’ll let you know which ones we use. The energy for our warehouse comes from GoiEner, a Basque cooperative that we are part of. But there are also other options depending on where you live: SomEnergía (in different parts of Spain), La Corriente (Madrid), AstuEnerxía (Asturias), Solabria (Cantabria), NosaEnerxia (Galicia)… Find the one that works for you and make the switch.
Make your diet more plant-based:
According to Greenpeace, 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from intensive farming. However, if that figure seems high to you, check out this other one: Spain is one of the countries that consumes the most meat. In fact, within Europe, Spain is in second place for meat consumption.
To help fight this, you can base your diet on legumes, vegetables (leafy and root varieties), fruit and grains. But if switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet is all too much for you, you can start by decreasing the amount on meat you eat to just one meal a week. It’s also a good option to substitute beef and pork with meat from birds, such as chicken. As mentioned in this article by National Geographic, the simple act of eating chicken instead of beef reduces your diet’s carbon footprint by half.
Make your own yoghurt at home:
When you start living plastic-free it seems that yoghurt containers are one of the harder waste items to kick, right? If this has happened to you and you are still buying yoghurt from the supermarket, you will be happy to know that you can make it at home without much complication and thereby avoid these unnecessary plastic containers. Not just yoghurt, custard and flans too….and there is no need for a yoghurt maker.
In this article we give you Sinplástico’s recipe for making yoghurt at home, here you can discover how to make custards the easy way, and via this third link you can learn to make flans for special occasions.
Use public transport:
Did you know that the fear of COVID when using public transport has caused pollution levels to sky rocket? More and more people have been taking their car out of the garage or have got themselves a second hand vehicle due to fear of sharing space with others on the train, bus or underground. This has resulted in an increase in the level of emissions coming from private vehicles.
Despite this, according to the experts from various countries, travelling by public transport whilst following the recommended safety measures (face mask and washing your hands before and after) presents less risk than eating in a restaurant.
Therefore, one of the steps you can take in 2021 to reduce your carbon footprint is to go back to taking public transport (and to convince other people to do so also).
Make your own compost:
Homemade compost is an excellent way to keep your plants healthy and happy, whilst taking advantage of your organic waste and avoiding the emissions associated with its transport and management. If you have a garden or a vegetable patch you can make compost by burying your vegetable waste or by using a compost bin.
However, if you have limited space (only a balcony or terrace) or if you want to make compost inside your house, you can use a worm farm composting system, as explained in this article from Plantea en verde. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you get hooked once you see all the goodness that comes out of your organic waste.
Keep a few chickens:
If you have a little more space in your garden, you can create a happy home for some chickens and reduce your footprint by being more self-sufficient. As well as keeping you company, they will give you eggs, produce organic manure for the garden and you can supplement their food with your kitchen scaps (vegetable waste, grains…). Could you ask for anything more?
Switch to sustainable period products:
That’s because sustainable period products are good for you (they are made from gentle, healthy materials like organic cotton or high quality medical-grade silicone – that comes from silica), they are good for your pocket (you save a heap of money not having to buy disposable tampons, pads and panty liners) and above all, they are good for the planet (you stop the emissions that come from the production, transport and marketing of disposable menstrual products and avoid sending kilos of non-recyclable toxic waste out into the environment).
Reduce the amount of new clothes you buy:
As explained by Carro de Combate in their book “Consumir es un acto politico” (Buying is a political act – in English), the fashion industry is one of the most polluting. Therefore, one of the simplest ways to reduce your footprint is to avoid buying new clothes. Above all, if you don’t need to.
But, if you have to buy an item of clothing, choose second hand options made from natural materials like cotton, linen or wool. As we mentioned in this post, synthetic microfibres are also a big problem when it comes to stopping the plastic pollution of our oceans.
Go back to cooking at home:
Now is the time. After not having touched the pots and pans for years and often eating out, now is the right moment to start cooking at home.
Cooking your own dishes helps you to avoid using disposable plastics when eating at work or ordering takeaway dishes, it also allows you to make the most of your food (as you don’t throw away the leftovers) and in addition you can choose organic, locally grown ingredients that have a lower environmental footprint.
If you have to take your lunch to the office, you can always do so with the help of these water tight stainless steel and silicone containers (mineral silicone comes from silica). They are light-weight, they don’t break and they don’t leak!
Use up the water used for cooking:
Now that you have started cooking at home again, take advantage of the water you use to boil the veggies or to cook the pasta, you can use it to make your own express homemade compost (in this post we tell you how), or to water your plants directly or use it to flush your loo.
You would be surprised at the number of litres of water we throw away without realising it.
Plant a small veggie patch on your balcony.
You don’t need a lot of space to be able to create a small vegetable patch on your balcony. You can start with a few aromatic herbs (like parsley or rosemary) and slowly introduce easy-to-grow vegetables such as lettuce, from which you can pick a few leaves each day to make your favourite salad.
Your balcony will turn into a green oasis, a mini carbon store, and a natural pantry at your fingertips.
Head to work on foot or by bike.
If distances allow, heading to work on foot or by bike is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Not only that, a brisk walk or a quick bike ride first thing will help you to kickstart your day on a positive note: more relaxed, awake and connected to your surroundings.
Make your own Christmas decorations or Halloween outfits
This Christmas you can decorate your house with decorations like these that are biodegradable and can be customised to your personal taste or make your own decorations with paper from magazines or the paper in your recycling bin.
In fact, one of the best decorations with the biggest impact but that is easy to make are these northern paper stars (the post is in Swedish, but the pictures speak for themselves): you can make them in 5 minutes with a few pages from an old magazine or newspaper and you will turn your house into a Christmas wonderland.
At Halloween, more of the same: cardboard bats, spiders made from a ball of newspaper and strands of wool… Let your imagination run wild.
Shop with your own containers
If you are still using plastic bags and buying disposable containers when you do your regular weekly shop at the supermarket or market, 2021 is the year to change that.
You can reduce waste and the emissions generated by the production and distribution of plastic bags (big and small) by using extra-durable fabric bags, ultra-light muslin bags or organic cotton string bags. In addition, you can also take your own stainless steel containers for buying cheese, quince paste, fish or meat.
These are our tips for reducing your carbon footprint in 2021.
Now, please let us know in the comments:
Did we manage to give you some new ideas? Are you going to get motivated and put them into practice?