How to live a low-carbon lifestyle

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Our communities are feeling the impacts of climate change in many ways, both large and small. As our collective impact on the environment becomes more and more apparent, people are looking at how they can make a difference.

Climate change is not something that can be addressed by one person, business or government alone. True change requires action on all levels and through a concerted, collaborative approach.

Let’s explore how you can make a positive impact by living a low-carbon lifestyle.

Why does a low-carbon lifestyle matter?

First, let’s unpack some key concepts that are crucial to this discussion. When carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, it contributes to the greenhouse effect, trapping the sun’s radiation and warming the earth. This effect leads to climate change.

Carbon dioxide emissions come from a number of sources that burn fossil fuels, including energy production, transportation, manufacturing, food production and more.

A low-carbon circular economy is another key concept that has gained prominence in response to climate change. This approach takes the entire life cycle of a product into consideration — from sourcing raw materials to renewable energy and sustainable manufacturing processes to end-of-life uses for products or materials.

Companies that participate in a low-carbon circular economy design their products to minimize waste and environmental impact by ensuring materials are reusable, recyclable and renewable.

For food packaging and processing company Tetra Pak, embracing a low-carbon circular economy means taking a holistic approach to its products.

“At Tetra Pak, we’re rethinking food packaging from the ground up. While recycling minimizes packaging’s impact, we know we can’t stop there,” says Jeff Fielkow, President & CEO, Tetra Pak U.S. and Canada. “For example, our shelf-stable carton packaging reduces food waste by keeping it safe from spoiling for months without the need for refrigeration or preservatives. Cartons are also mainly made from renewable materials, are recyclable and have a low carbon footprint.”

Tips for living a low-carbon lifestyle

The actions companies take play a significant role in the low-carbon circular economy. There are also some simple ways you can reduce your impact. Here are a few examples:

Traveling and on-the-go

  • Reduce car trips when you can by biking, taking public transit or carpooling.
  • Reduce air travel and fly direct when you can.
  • When staying at a hotel, keep the “do not disturb” sign on your door to skip unnecessary cleanings and extra towels.

On your plate

  • Reduce food waste by purchasing shelf-stable items that will last for months without refrigeration when unopened. Shelf-stable Tetra Pak® cartons are a great option because they’re recyclable and mainly made from renewable materials.
  • Incorporate more plants into your diet. A great way to start is with a Meatless Monday!
  • Compost your food waste! Many cities make it easy by offering composting pickup or drop-off locations.

At home

  • Refrain from excessive heating and air conditioning use.
  • Check with your energy provider to see if they offer renewable energy from sources like wind or the sun. Many offer this option for a small fee.
  • Reduce water use by taking shorter showers, only running the dishwasher when it’s full and turning off the tap while brushing your teeth.

Shopping

  • Avoid fast fashion by shopping consignment or secondhand shops. And revive those old tees and sweaters with a fabric shaver to remove fuzz.
  • Carry reusable shopping bags to use at the market.
  • Look for brands that talk about sustainability on their website and directly address what they’re doing to mitigate carbon and their future goals.

These are just some ideas to get you started as you explore new ways to reduce your carbon footprint. But don’t stop here! Take a closer look at your daily routine to discover more opportunities to reduce your impact. Remember, small changes can add up to make a big difference!

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