Author: Sean Flannigan
As we all become increasingly aware of the toll humans are taking on the planet, interest in becoming more environmentally friendly has gone way up. And, it’s becoming easier and easier to do your part.
While it’s true that the biggest companies in the world account for the lion’s share of carbon emissions, individual actions by small businesses and consumers can still have a big impact.
As we all strive to do better ourselves, we can also encourage our governments to regulate the bad behavior of big business. And, they are being incentivized to do better since consumers are shifting more sustainable shopping habits.
Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start on the journey toward sustainability, both at home and at the office. That’s probably because there are so many ways to go about it and not one silver bullet.
I’ve assembled a list of things you can do to shrink your impact and make all of nature’s flora and fauna happier.
Donate to environmental orgs
With all the great causes out there, knowing where to put your money isn’t easy. Directing your attention to the environment is a place to start though.
These are great initiatives since they scale with the size of your business (or household). 1% of sales isn’t a terrible pill to swallow, no matter who you are.
There are so many other great environmental organizations too! Choose your own eco-friendly adventure for saving the planet.
Fly less often
Taking to the sky in a big metal tube is a choice way to get to some of your favorite places, sure. It’s fun and it’s fast! But, it’s also a powerful polluter. Flying from NYC to LA is equal to 1 metric ton of CO2.
So, a simple way to avoid those emissions is to fly less. COVID has made that easy but as we all begin to spread our wings again, the urge to fly will be real.
You don’t have to stop flying altogether to make an impact though. When you do fly, go with economy class for the smaller plane footprint and choose nonstop flights to avoid the extra emissions of takeoffs and landings.
Finally, you can always offset your trips. We’ll talk more about that later.
Secondhand over new
Making brand new stuff doesn’t come without its share of environmental impact, especially when so much unused stuff is already out there.
While outfitting your office or home with brand new pieces of furniture could be fun, going secondhand with amazing vintage furniture is way more enjoyable and environmentally friendly. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the off-gassing of dangerous chemicals (AKA, the new furniture smell).
On top of creating a more eclectic vibe in your space, you are also saving material from being needlessly tossed out to decompose in a landfill.
Use sustainable packaging
With the rise of eCommerce in the last year has come a troubling increase in packaging overloading our trash cans and recycling bins.
The rightful demonization of single-use plastics has many reconsidering what they use to package their products and shipments. And with that change of heart has come a sustainable packaging industry waiting to fulfill the new demand.
From fully compostable mailers and bioplastics to reusable solutions and recyclable packaging, many brands are changing the way they package and send their products. There are so many sustainable packaging options these days that make this eco-friendly switch so easy.
Ship carbon neutrally
Shipping is a fact of life. You have to get your goods to your customers or those care packages to your loved ones and gift teleportation isn’t coming anytime soon.
It’s no secret that the millions of trucks conveying packages across the country are a big contributor to our carbon footprint. Logistics companies need to do better to reduce their impact.
But, Sendle is here to bring your shipping carbon emissions down to zero. Every shipment is entirely carbon neutral and the offsets go to environmental projects all over the world.
Repair your stuff
Things get old and worn, their usefulness decreasing with each passing day. Eventually, those old shoes or that ratty jacket gets shoved into the trash can.
But, it doesn’t have to be so! Sure, there’s an end of life for everything but so many wares can be brought back to life with a little TLC. While you may not be the best person to take on these mending duties, there are plenty of experts out there who want to help.
For example, Patagonia has a section of their site dedicated to repair, with tutorials for DIY jobs, a repair service, and the option to trade in old Patagonia clothing and gear for new pieces.
There are repair services for many of your favorite things that have fallen into disrepair—from clothing and shoe mending to the refurbishment of old electronics.
Offset your emissions
While there are services out there that already offset their services (like Sendle), you can also offset some of your own energy consumption, both in the office and at home.
There are so many services that help you do this and they make it simple with calculators to measure exactly how much carbon you should offset based on your activities.
Here are some great organizations to offset your greenhouse gas emissions:
And, don’t worry about offsetting your shipping. Sendle has you covered.
Humans have failed to create a carbon capture machine that does anywhere near as much as a tree. You can’t find a better comrade in the fight against climate change than trees.
A young tree can absorb 13 pounds of CO2 per year and, when it reaches maturity (around 10 years), up to 48 pounds per year.
And, it isn’t just trees. Planting a garden can also help capture some carbon with the added benefits of free veggies.
Too many compostable items end up thrown in the trash.
Instead of enjoying the natural aerobic process of decomposing into healthy soil, these scraps decay anaerobically in the landfill, resulting in the harmful emission of methane and carbon dioxide.
But, the trash is no place for any of that.
It should be allowed to decompose amongst its peers, decaying into soil and water and gas. Many municipal programs can not only take vegetable scraps, but also anything marked commercially compostable.
Every scrap of food waste that’s diverted from the landfill is one less thing contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and one more thing contributing to rich black soil.