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Home/Emma – taking small steps towards a lower carbon footprint

Emma – taking small steps towards a lower carbon footprint

Emma's family chalkboard for Waste Nothing Challenge

Things are changing.

But what can we do to slow or even stop things getting worse? Asks Emma, from Bedminster.

Living with her partner Neil and young daughter Chloe, for the past year Emma has guided the way in her family’s journey in lowering their waste and carbon footprint.

“I think we have always tried to be sustainable as a family. Even when our daughter, Chloe, was born 10 years ago, we opted for real nappies (not as easy to come by back then) as opposed to disposable ones.”

My partner Neil and I were really keen about reducing our footprint. We took Bristol Waste’s #WasteNothing Challenge as a really fun way for our family to channel our efforts and see what we were capable of achieving.

The challenges

Despite her fearless approach to slashing her family’s carbon footprint, Emma acknowledges it hasn’t all been easy, particularly during the pandemic.

“We had a few stumbling blocks, particularly at the start of the pandemic, when we had to rely heavily on food deliveries – all heavily wrapped in plastic!

“In fact, in general a lot of products are very hard to buy without being covered in plastic.

“I like to use a lot of my own freshly grown herbs when cooking. But now, as we head into the winter, growing certain herbs won’t be so easy, and most mainstream supermarket spices are typically concealed in lots of needless packaging.”

Squeaky clean!

In her family’s quest to ‘do things differently’, Emma has gradually made small changes around the whole house.

“In the bathroom, we swapped our normal toothbrushes for bamboo, as these have a much lower carbon footprint than the traditional plastic ones. We also gave up on name brand hair and body products and opted for the much more sustainable soap and shampoo bars.”

Ask yourself – do you really need it?

 “Throughout our journey, we have questioned and thought twice about many of our weekly and off the cuff purchases. This has helped guide our family in cutting out a lot of wasteful practices we were not even aware of.”

Small Steps

“It may at first seem overwhelming if you try to change everything at once!”

In Emma’s approach to reducing her home’s waste and footprint, she credits her success to staying focussed and taking one step at a time.

“At the beginning, trying to reduce your footprint can be overwhelming. But try focus on small areas one at a time until you get each of them right!

“My real big bugbear is plastic. For us, it has been about reducing our wheelie bin waste, and reducing what waste we are putting into landfill – in particular that really hard to recycle plastic. I wanted to ditch the plastic all together in fact; to the point where it would only be glass and cans (wine was not a compromise!).”

Make yourself heard

As consumers, individually and collectively we have a voice.  If enough of us spoke up, by lobbying the big brands and food and manufacturers – could we start to see more of a change in our supermarkets?

Even while working in IT services, Emma tries to keep her low carbon, climate-friendly cap on.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions within your own circles. Once you have it nailed at home, you will naturally start to take your new practices and way of thinking everywhere you go!

“Next time you are at a social event or at work, even a simple “is there somewhere I can recycle this?” could spark a positive conversation or change in behaviour for someone else.”