Many of you will be going away this summer and whether it’s going abroad to sunny Spain or to the lush green hills in the Lake District, you should always be thinking about reducing your carbon footprint… well maybe not at the end of the day when you’re sat back with a glass of red wine, but you know what I mean.
Although it can be difficult at times to stay committed to ‘being green’ when relaxing on your jollies, there are a number of things that can easily be done to make a big difference and go a long way in reducing your carbon footprint.
The first thing you can do if you are going abroad is book your flight with an eco-friendly airline such as RyanAir, EasyJet or British Airways on one of their newer, greener planes that have been specifically designed to reduce carbon emissions. Although this might not be the absolute cheapest option, it probably won’t be a lot more and can have a large positive impact.
As well as being good with your flight, try to find a hotel that focuses on their recycling accessibility. There’s plenty of them about in all different countries that have effective waste treatment systems in place and that use friendly energy sources.
The next step is not to pack so many clothes! Plan out what clothes you’re wearing on each day/night and don’t pack any extras. The lighter the plane, the less fuel it uses and although it might not seem much if you take out a couple of shirts and a pair of jeans, if everyone does it then it can make a big difference. It won’t be the end of the world if you have to wear the same t-shirt on 2 separate nights, I promise.
So now that you’ve booked your flight, packed your bags and are ready to go, you’ll need to sort out your tickets, itineraries, maps and any other required documents. Try to save paper by finding and using apps that will let you take all of these digitally on your phone which is arguably quicker and easier. Just make sure your phone is charged sufficiently, or you could have a slight problem.
After handing in your slightly lighter than usual luggage and then gliding through the boarding queue with your digital documents, you’re now on the plane. Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to shut the window shades to keep the aircraft cooler which puts less strain on the air conditioning systems. This ultimately saves on energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Even if you’re on the aisle seat, you can let the person sat next to the window know that they would be doing a good thing for the environment.
Now that you’re at your destination and getting ready for an exciting/relaxing holiday, depending on whether you plan to sit around the pool or go on some long adventurous walks, you’re probably going to need to do a bit of food shopping to set you up for the days ahead. Make sure you only buy what you know you’re going to eat. You aren’t going to be taking home fridge/freezer stored items so make sure not to buy copious amounts as it will most likely go to waste.
Walking or cycling is usually a very viable option for most places at a popular holiday destination because everything is usually so close to each other. Instead of getting a taxi or hiring a car to get to where you want to go, walking or cycling might allow you to discover new and interesting places that you would otherwise never have heard of.
Try to use your towels more than once, I bet you do at home? This reduces the amount of detergent, water and electric used.
At the end of your holiday, you’ll probably be looking to bring some souvenirs back for your friends and family – how nice of you! However, be wary of any items that involve using parts of endangered animals such as their hides, body parts, tortoise shells, ivory or coral as it could be illegal. Although it might look unique and a good gift to take back, you would be damaging the environment severely.
So by following these small tips, you can have a great holiday and help out the environment at the same time!
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