Reducing Carbon Emissions from the Stuff we buy

An often overlooked aspect of our carbon footprint are the things we buy. However, the way we consume can have a bigger impact than we think. For example, according to the World Bank (2019) the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions per year.

The key principle to remember is that everything we do that reduces our overall consumption and waste is going to reduce our carbon footprint. This will in turn benefit the environment in a multiple ways.  When thinking about reducing emissions from the things we buy, we often think about recycling. However below are four points that are far more important if we want to reduce our consumption footprint:

  1. Buy and consume less things
  2. When we have to buy things, make sure they are as sustainable and as long lasting as possible.
  3. Look after our items and repair them rather than replacing them.
  4. If we don’t want it anymore, give it a second life by selling it, donating it or upcycling it .

Please watch at least one of the videos below to explore this topic further. One you have watched the video, please scroll down to access  “Action Audit: Stuff”  and complete that quiz before moving on to the next topic.

If you have got 20 minutes  to spare, we strongly recommend that you watch The Story of Stuff. While it is slightly dated (note the iPod at the beginning of the clip…) it still gives an excellent introduction to issues associated with over consumption.

If you’re short of time, please watch either of the videos below focusing on impact of cotton (2 min) and electronics (8 min).