Small Steps to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 10, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:06 AM, September 10, 2020

Small Steps to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Believe me when I say that reducing your carbon footprint is not as daunting as it's made to sound. With the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon, people continue to scramble to the nearest stores to stock up on disposable masks, gloves and other plastic-packaged goods, rapidly increasing the amount of waste that has been arriving in dumps over the past couple of months.

Though we understand that climate change is a very real threat, there are many of us that seldom go the extra mile to ensure we're doing everything we can to slow it's progress. Despite the fact that the richest 10 percent are to blame for approximately 40 percent of global environmental damage, there are a few easy things we can do to ensure we don't contribute to global warming and one of them includes paying attention to our carbon footprint. Here are a few ways you can start reducing it.

THE FIVE R'S

When you're looking into reducing how much waste you produce, it's very important to remember the five r's: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot. That is, refuse the unnecessary, reduce the necessary, reuse what you have, recycle what you can, and rot the rest (set up a composting system)!

AVOID SINGLE USE PLASTIC

Start by making a resolution to start cooking more at home to avoid getting plastic-packaged takeaway. If there's a reason you want to order in instead of going out (like a deadly pandemic), make it a pact to reuse the plastic packaging. When you go grocery shopping, take a reusable bag with you (or old plastic from ghosts of grocery trips past). While we're on the topic of shopping, try to limit the amount of products you buy that come with plastic packaging. Opt for refills instead of buying new plastic bottles, go for soap bars instead of liquid bottles. Carry around a bottle of water, refuse plastic straws with drinks and invest in a bamboo or steel straw instead; the same can be done with utensils. And yes, your toothbrush too. Over 4.7 billion plastic non-biodegradable toothbrushes are wasted yearly. Instead, opt for a bamboo toothbrush!

KNOW THY GARBAGE

Keep track of what you put in your garbage bins. If you can muster the strength, sort through your garbage and look at what kind of products you buy most and think about whether you can recycle or reuse them. This increases accountability as you will be more aware of what you're buying, the quantities you're buying in and whether you can downsize purchases in the near future.

DRIVE LESS

Sometimes it can truly be an advantage living in a small city. This makes travelling less time consuming, which is why opting for walking, cycling or taking a rickshaw is much more feasible. Though it has been moderate the past couple of months because people are going out less, under normal circumstances, Dhaka has one of the worst air quality in the world. If your destination is too far away for any of the above mentioned methods of commuting, consider whether you can use public transportation before deciding to drive. Not using a car for a year can save up to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide!

When it comes to living waste-free there are thousands of resources that make it easier for you to care about the environment, starting from turning off the tap when you wash your hands to using a search engine like Ecosia instead of Google. A quick search can enable you to lead a lifestyle better suited for the planet we so dearly love.

Fariha enjoys binge-watching movies in the dark vicinity of her bedroom. Strike up a conversation with her at fariha.safa@gmail.com

 

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