How to lower your carbon footprint through recycling

Carbon footprint is a phrase that’s being thrown around so often so let’s break it down. 

In terms of climate change,  footprint  is a metaphor for the lasting impact that something has on the environment.  Carbon  is a shorthand for all the different greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming because the dominant man-made greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide (CO2), writes Mike Berners-Lee  and Duncan Clarkin the Green Living Blog. 

Addressing climate change will require fundamental societal, organisational and behavioural changes on a global scale, according to the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute. But luckily there are also smaller lifestyle changes that individuals can make to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Recycling is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint because throwing things away is a waste of the energy and the resources taken to make the product, according to Carbon Footprint Ltd.  

A perfect example of someone who is turning waste into wealth is 25-year-old Reabetswe Ngwane, co-founder of Kreamfields (Pty) Ltd and Atyre. Reabetswe and her team work with discarded tyre material to create, among other things, mine bags and handbags. Their goal as a recycling entity is to reduce and eradicate the disposal of tyre waste to landfills, and to be a force to reckoned with in the industry, as young black females.  

“We (Atyre) are committed to continually innovating the craft of bag making, to not only be ecologically friendly and sustainable, but also socially inclusive by working with local communities to eradicate poverty,” Ngwane writes in a letter on Atyre. Reabetswe was chosen as one of HP’s change makers for their Global Citizen campaign  for her sustainable approach to fashion.   

In recognition of her efforts to create a sustainable fashion brand that’s ecologically friendly, HP has donated R50 000 in equipment and cash to Reabetswe as a planet change maker. 

HP in turn is also encouraging their customers to lower their carbon footprint by helping them to recycle responsibly. More than 80% of HP ink cartridges and 100% of HP LaserJet toner cartridges are manufactured with “closed loop” recycled plastic.  They have also used ocean-bound plastic to make Original HP ink cartridges.  

The efforts of both Reabetswe and HP speaks volumes of how recycling can be incorporated into businesses. But for individuals it can be even easier to reduce their carbon footprint through recycling. Simply follow these four tips form Carbon Footprint Ltd: 

  • Reduce your energy consumption and the amount of waste you accumulate.   
  • Re-use products for as long as feasibly possible.  
  • Repair things that are broken instead of throwing them away. 
  • Recycle materials than can be recycled because it produces less pollution than making things from scratch.
We can also choose products that lower our carbon footprint and help out our planet.

While we have your attention…

Our world is facing increasingly difficult challenges including inequality, climate change, inadequate access to quality education and healthcare, among others. To overcome these challenges, we must raise the bar, challenge ourselves, and reinvent the industry standards for sustainable impact including driving lasting improvements to the planet, people and communities where we live, work and do business.

As part of their partnership with Global Citizen, HP has launched a campaign to amplify awareness of creating a sustainable impact. Please join the movement in reinventing mind-sets of citizens of the world and be the generation that pushes for a sustainable change.

Take a pledge to support this initiative here and challenge your friends on social media to be the generation of Global Citizens.