Our staff have gone neutral – but we haven’t stopped there.
We talk a lot about car carbon emissions and their impact on the climate crisis – but the fact is, offsetting carbon alone isn’t going to slow global warming. We also have to reduce emissions anywhere and everywhere that we can. There are a range of day-to-day changes that you can make to contribute to a healthier planet. Here are some of our staff’s favourite eco-actions:
Switch to renewables
A renewable energy source is an energy that is produced using resources that replenish quicker than the rate at which humankind consumes it. And one of the most popular types of renewable energy sources is solar power.
Some of our staff have installed solar panels on their property to cover most of their electricity use and minimise carbon emissions. “We usually generate more than we use and paid off our system within a couple years…it’s so satisfying”
Don’t have a property that you can install solar panels on? We get it, we can’t all live in a house (especially at the prices they’re fetching these days!). Another way you can use renewable energy is to switch to a greener electricity provider. This allows people living in apartments to choose 100 per cent renewable energy, while sending a clear message to electricity companies that it’s time to get serious about tackling climate change.
Make changes to your meals
Changing eating and shopping habits is an excellent way our staff have made an environmentally-considerate change in their life. While some staff have cut down on the amount of meat they eat, opting for meat-free Mondays or switching to an entirely plant-based diet, others have taken action by making informed choices about the types of meat they buy, and the producers they purchase from.
Purchasing meat and seafood that is sustainably produced by local farms, or producers that use low impact farming methods are the next best option. Some of the questions our staff ask when purchasing meat include:
- Is the meat free range or organic?
- Is it relatively local to me?
Did you know that in Australia, up to 25% of all vegetables produced never leave the farm? Often it’s just because they are too oddly shaped for the grocery store. Purchasing your fresh produce from businesses that offer imperfect fruit and vegetables is a great way to help cut down food wastage of rejected fruits and vegetables that are perfectly good to eat. “We always buy imperfect fruit and veggies when we can- they’re so much cheaper than regular produce and the imperfections are often barely noticeable. It’s incredible to think farmers and grocers have to throw food away that’s perfectly fine to eat.”
Buy clothes second hand
The global fashion industry is responsible for a staggering amount of carbon emissions – more than the annual carbon emissions of all international flights and maritime shipping combined! Purchasing clothing second hand through online marketplaces has helped our staff avoid contributing to the significant landfill that fast fashion is responsible for.
“I’d say about 60% of my wardrobe is second hand. There’s so much good quality clothing that people sell on Facebook and eBay, it’s incredibly easy to pick up big brand clothes that are well made, stylish and have heaps of wear left in them - for the same price as ‘fast fashion’ clothes which don’t last nearly as long.”
Try to cut out plastic
It’s no surprise that single use plastic is a huge environmental concern. Up to 130,000 tonnes of plastic finds its way into our waterways and into the ocean – and that’s just in Australia! And while a few plastic wrappers in the bin each day may not seem like a lot, it adds up to a surprising amount over the course of a year. The average Australian uses 130kg of plastic per person each year - that’s about the same weight as a three-seater couch!.
Our staff have made small and manageable changes to their daily lives to reduce the amount of single use plastic they use. From reusable wraps, food storage containers and coffee cups, to returning soft plastics to the supermarket for recycling, taking reusable bags to the shops, and even opting for biodegradable dog poop bags. These are just some of the simple ways single use plastic can be replaced with eco-friendly options that won’t leave a lasting impact on the environment.
Choose your mode of transport wisely
It’s a no-brainer that our staff seriously consider their modes of transport when out and about. The average Australian car emits 3.2T of CO2 into the atmosphere every year – so we try to avoid adding to this any way we can. Not everyone can afford to own an electric vehicle, so our staff opt for alternative transport methods which include walking, riding a bicycle, or taking public transport - all of which help reduce the amount of cars on the road and emissions in the air.
And if you can’t make changes to your mode of transport, you can still offset the emissions from your car by purchasing a Go Neutral sticker, which funds bush regeneration projects here in Australia that capture emissions from the atmosphere and retain them in the soil.
Purchase from climate conscious brands
It’s fairly clear by now that the Go Neutral team put their money where their mouth is. Not just in the actions we take on a day to day basis, but the businesses we buy from and the services we support. Subscribing to companies like Who Gives a Crap, who provide ethical and sustainably produced toilet paper, is one of the most popular choices among our staff. “There’s no plastic, no crazy panic buyers, it supports WASH activities – and even their Christmas edition as wrapping paper for unsuspecting family members!”.
Migrating to climate conscious brands doesn’t just have to be for physical products. We’ve had staff members switch their bank and superannuation companies to ones that are actively addressing and reducing environmental impact. Some banks are even refusing to lend money to fossil fuel companies, or companies that operate in other damaging industries like live animal export, gambling and tobacco. Ask your bank about their Environmental, Social and Governance financing and products.