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How to calculate and reduce your carbon footprint now

Updated: Dec 3, 2018


Our mission at Form is to inspire sustainable change in the fitness industry. As part of this, we want to help our customers to reduce their environmental impact as much as possible; that's why all our products are carbon-negative, meaning that they take more carbon out of the atmosphere than they put in.


What contributes to my carbon-footprint?


Calculating your exact carbon-footprint can be difficult and complex - but it's a great place to start if you are trying to be more sustainable. There are a few major factors to keep in mind when calculating how much carbon you contribute to the atmosphere, so by focusing on these, you can estimate carbon footprint fairly accurately and easily. The WWF highlights 4 major contributors to an individual's carbon footprint:


Travel

Travel is by far the largest contributor to an individual's carbon footprint - tourism alone is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions alone. The size of your travel carbon is a factor of how far you travel and by what form of transport.


When looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint, it can help to be aware of the carbon released per km of travel for different modes:

  • Air travel: 175g / km

  • Petrol / diesel Car: 118g / km

  • Bus / coach: 89g / km

  • Rail: 63g / km

These are averages and individual cases are likely to be different but it demonstrates that public ground transportation emits far less carbon that private cars or air travel. To lower your travel carbon footprint:

  • Try to take the bus or train

  • Even better, walk or cycle where possible

  • If driving, try to share lifts: if two people travel in a car (instead of separate vehicles) it almost halves the carbon emitted per passenger km

  • Try to reduce air travel as much as possible

'Stuff'

WWF's 'stuff' category covers our lifestyle choices including our spending habits and what we do with our waste at the end of life:

  • Buy carefully: look for things with minimal packaging and prioritise purchasing products & packaging that can be recycled or composted, avoiding landfill. Buying items that are locally produced can also be effective as it reduces the miles travelled by your products

  • Buy second-hand and upcycle old products into new items - check out Pinterest for some 'P-inspiration'

  • Take the time to recycle properly, avoiding landfill waste as much as possible. If you haven't already, start a compost bin to dispose of everything biodegradable

Food

Food, perhaps surprisingly, contributes a quarter of our individual emissions. To reduce this:

  • Buy locally-produced food to reduce food-miles (the distance it has traveled to get to you); a lot of food will say on the packaging where it's from. This may mean buying more seasonal food so no more strawberries in winter!

  • Change your diet: the agricultural (meat and dairy) industry is the main emitter of global greenhouse gas emissions, try switching to a plant-based diet. If that's too difficult then just try to eat less meat and processed food.

  • Throw away less food - plan your meals carefully, it will save you money too!

  • Be aware of products linked to illegal deforestation: beef, soy, palm oil, cocoa, coffee. I know what you're thinking: "don't take my coffee away from me" and we are too; you can still buy these products but take the time to read where the food is from and look for ethically-sourced labels when buying


Home

Aside from the classic 'switch off lights and appliances when not-using them' and 'have shorter showers' there are a few changes that can have a big impact on the carbon emissions of your home:

  • Buy your energy from a green provider who supplies renewably-generated energy

  • Even better: invest in renewable generation at home such as solar panels, mini-wind turbines or heat pumps

  • Insulate your house properly: not only will it help the environment and save you money in the long-run, but it will keep you at a more comfortable temperature all-year round

  • Buy efficient appliances: look for A (or even better A+ / A++) ratings on the items you buy, particularly those which run 24/7 like fridge / freezer


So how do I calculate my carbon-footprint?

The easiest way to estimate your carbon-footprint is with an online tool which does a lot of the hard work for you. Some of our favourite calculators include:


  • WWF calculator: a very simple (and fun!) questionnaire of 24 questions on your lifestyle choices. This calculator not only estimates your carbon footprint but compares you to UK and world average and provides a breakdown by the 4 categories above so you know where the biggest areas for improvement are!

  • Carbonfootprint.com: a lot more detailed than the WWF calculator, this lets you workout the carbon emitted by your house, by specific flights, by your car annually and by the products you buy.


How to offset your carbon footprint

We recommend using a fantastic charity called SolarAid to offset part or all of your carbon. SolarAid are a fantastic charity who provide solar-powered lamps to families in Africa, allowing them to ditch their highly polluting kerosene lamps currently used to light their homes at night. Not only does each solar-lamp prevent 370kg per year CO2 being emitted each year, but it also helps save 15% of the families' income and prevents them from breathing the highly toxic smoke released when burning kerosene.


Check out SolarAid's Impact Calculator to workout how much you'd like to offset and how much impact this will have.



>> Read next: what does carbon-negative really mean?

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