Today, many of us have access to a large variety of food and other products. Yet everything we buy, from a litre of milk to a new pair of shoes, needs to be produced – and this generates CO2 emissions. Moreover, many production processes are damaging to the environment and climate.
Transporting food by plane from one side of the world to the other generates 1,700 times more CO2 emissions than transporting it 50 km by truck. Unsustainable forest practices contribute to deforestation, which is responsible for around 20% of global CO2 emissions.
- Be picky about packaging: plastic packaging creates a lot of waste and is often difficult to recycle. Try to avoid packaged products and look for refills of products like shampoo.
- Take reusable bags to carry your shopping home. And buy kitchen and toilet roll made from recycled paper.
- Think twice before upgrading your gadgets. Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is the fastest growing category of waste in the EU.
- Buying garden furniture or other wooden products? Look for theFSC or PEFC labels that guarantee the wood was harvested in a sustainable manner.
- Don't waste food. Buy only the amount you need, and keep your leftovers for later!
- Consider avoiding products that are not in season. Growing food outside its natural environment or normal growing season requires tremendous amounts of water, energy and other resources.
- Wash your fruits and vegetables in a bowl rather than under a running tap. Water your plants with the remaining water.
- If you eat meat, replace some of your red meat consumption with chicken, fish or pulses. Switching from beef to chicken can reduce your meal's carbon footprint by as much as 75%.
- The EU Ecolabel identifies products and services with a reduced environmental impact. Look out for it when buying light bulbs, detergents, computers, clothing – even when booking a hotel room. Around 70,000 products and services now carry the EU Ecolabel!