Top 5 hacks on how to cut down on your carbon footprint
In partnership with HP Inc.
Lowering your carbon footprint can often seem daunting, so JOE sat down with Video Creator Immy Lucas to find out her top hacks for keeping that pesky CO2 low
Immy promotes the importance of living sustainably on her popular instagram page @sustainably_vegan, which now has almost 90,000 followers.
Do you have any tips on reducing your carbon footprint in the way that you travel?
Immy: I think first and foremost it’s important to be inclusive. I’d obviously say walking places is great sustainability wise, but it’s not always the safest option, especially at night. If you live in a city, cycling is another low carbon option, but that’s obviously dependent on your ability.
Sometimes it’s okay to get a taxi, but I’d be mindful to choose ethical providers when you do.
Buses and public transport are such a good route, especially as the UK is moving more towards using less gas-fuelled buses.
When we're looking at carbon footprint, I think we need to take a much more well-rounded approach. So, let's not just look at carbon emissions, let's look at whether there are any ethical issues and social justice issues in this circumstance as well.
JOE: What are your tips for avoiding food wastage and how important is it that we reduce the amount of food we waste?
Immy: Food waste is actually such a huge thing that we don't really realise has an impact. If food waste were a country, it would be the third biggest polluter in the world, which is wild.
Things like buying vegetables that are oddly shaped is always a good choice as we can create a new demand for supermarket standards to change. Storing food correctly is also really important so that it doesn't go off, so that you actually eat your leftovers.
A lot of food wastage happens within the home, as well as in supermarkets.
I’d recommend doing a monthly or weekly sweep of your fridge and your cupboards to reduce food wastage at home. We all have those weird spices that sit in the back of your cupboard that you don't try!
You can also do really basic things, like if you buy organic fruit and vegetables, for example, there's no need to peel them, so you don't need to get rid of that skin and they're actually really healthy for you.
Another huge thing that helps cut down your carbon footprint is eating seasonal foods and locally sourced produce which will cut down on air miles.
Apps are really good as they help incentivise us to reduce waste. I love 'Too Good to Go' as it allows people to eat out for more affordable pricing. I did a challenge last year where I spent a whole week only eating food from Too Good to Go!
JOE: Do you think people should be aware that some tech is made more sustainably than others?
Immy: I think tech is one of the most controversial things that we have because it does take a huge amount of resources and energy to create. So, I think thoughtful buying is really important, including only buying new tech when you actually need it and not just because a new model has come out.
I think it's crucial to research the brand before making a rash tech purchase.
One thing I liked about HP is their closed loop recycling scheme for their HP supplies, which helps prevents waste ending up in landfill or oceans. Through their recycling programme in Haiti, HP has already diverted more than 60 million bottles for recycling and reuse that would have otherwise ended up in waterway and oceans.
The sustainably sourced packaging that your laptop comes in is WAY better than a lot of other tech companies that I have seen too, and they’ve even started incorporating natural materials such as beetroot pulp, eggshells and fruit peels in their new HP Spectre 14 model which is pretty cool.
JOE: What are your tips for making fashion sustainable?
Immy: Fast fashion companies are, in my personal opinion, completely unsustainable and encourage over-consumption, but it's an ethical and women’s rights issue as well. I think around 94% of all garment workers are women.
I’d also be aware of fast fashion brands greenwashing, which is something some high street retailers have done a lot of recently. You have to think, "Do I really want to buy into that?”
I think second hand-retailers are really great, as long as you don’t go overboard and do these massive 'thrift hauls' which takes away clothing that is needed by people who actually need to shop at thrift stores and charity shops.
More sustainable brands can be pretty expensive which isn’t an option for many people. But, buying clothes from digital second-hand retailers like Depop and eBay is a sustainable way to shop your favourite brands. It's often far more affordable and you're giving that garment a new life whilst also not paying for unethical workers' treatment.
There's also an amazing fashion company called Bird Song in London who employ highly skilled women makers in the UK that face barriers to employment, which is a great thing to support whilst shopping.
JOE: What do you think is most important when choosing where to shop?
Immy: You want to put your money into a company that’s clearly showing that they care about people. It's really important when we're looking at companies that we don't just look at the product, but we look at the brand as a whole and what their values are and to see if they give back in any way.
We can do things as individuals, but if the brands we're purchasing from aren't willing to make those huge changes, it makes it very difficult for the consumer to know what to do.
For example, before I decided to work with HP, I read HP's 2019 sustainability report... in full. I also looked them up on Ethical Consumer which is a great website that lists brands and rates them in terms of how ethical they are, including for resources and labour. HP came out on top compared to other tech brands through their work promoting a circular economy within their products, counteracting deforestation with their Sustainable Forests Collaborative, and prioritising creating a work environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive amongst other things.
By HP taking on such a purpose-driven role within the tech industry and showing what we can do with sustainably sourced, recyclable consumer goods, we can then emulate, because we've been shown what can be done and what is possible.
JOE: Is there anything else we should know or should be doing?
Immy: Put simply, we should aim to buy more thoughtfully, spend with those that share the same values as us, vote in local and major elections so we’re represented by people who want the same change, buy second-hand and reduce your travel if you can, but enjoy yourself. Everyone needs to assess what’s accessible to them.