When you think of climate change mitigation and reducing your carbon footprint, you probably think of driving less and turning out the lights; but did you know that organic and inorganic waste that you produce is also a huge contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions? A zero waste lifestyle not only keeps material out of our landfills, but it reduces your carbon footprint.
Did you know?
- When organic waste decomposes, carbon dioxide and methane gas is created. Methane is created when there is no air present, while carbon dioxide is the natural product when anything rots in air.
- The production and incineration of inorganic waste uses natural resources such as water, fuel, metal, timber and this results in the emission of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
- Plastic waste produces greenhouse gas emissions during every stage of its lifecycle.
- The extraction and transportation of plastic is dependent on oil, gas, and coal. The production and disposal of plastics also release tons of carbon emissions.
- Globally, in 2019 alone, researchers estimate that the production and incineration of plastic will pump more than 850 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. By 2050, those emissions could rise to 2.8 billion tonnes.
There are several ways you can help to cut consumption and waste
- Refuse to purchase what you don’t need, this prevents the production and disposal of waste
- Buy in bulk rather than buying individually packaged goods
- Reuse things rather than throw them away
- Reuse plastic waste and eliminate the need for new plastic products to be made!
- Keep waste out of the landfill and allow it to become new material
- Avoid single-use items and fast fashion, and try not to buy more than you need.
- Shop around for second-hand or quality items that last a long time.
- Give unwanted items a new life by donating them to charity or selling them on.
- Avoid wasting food.