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Article: Saving CO2 - tips for everyday life

plakat auf einer demonstration ruft zum co2 sparen auf

Saving CO2 - tips for everyday life

Put simply, greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane (CH4) contribute to the greenhouse effect and thus to climate change. If you want to do something good for the environment, you can take a look at your own everyday habits and start there step by step. Here are tips for everyday life that you can use – even as a beginner – to save resources and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

1. Avoid disposable items as much as possible

The “tip” that is probably communicated most often but has not yet reached everyone: Avoid disposable items whenever possible . These include the classic to-go cup, paper and plastic shopping bags, plastic water bottles, disposable straws, disposable cutlery, and paper handkerchiefs. These are of course just a few examples. In addition, there is everything that ends up in the bin after one or a few uses. Packaging waste can also be classified here.

But let's take a moment: Why is it worth avoiding disposable items?

Emissions always arise when products are manufactured, transported, reprocessed or destroyed. It therefore makes sense to use products where these steps do not have to be repeated over and over again, but only once. Reusable products stay in the cycle longer and produce fewer harmful emissions. Another point to pay attention to is the material. You can read here why plastic is harmful .

If you are still at the beginning of your sustainability journey, you should not overwhelm yourself right away. Observe yourself and your habits in everyday life and then see where you can improve personally. Every step, no matter how small, is great!

2. Give time instead of material things more often

Almost all of us regularly complain that we don't have enough time. For many people, trips, activities and time with friends in particular quickly fall by the wayside due to the stress of everyday life. So why not give it time?

Unfortunately, short-lived gifts, especially flowers, have a poor ecological balance. And yes, I think flowers are beautiful too. Nevertheless, I always suffer a little when the cut flowers wither after just a few days and you finally have to throw them away. If you like to give or receive something green, you should choose long-lasting plants. Those that purify the air or herbs that grow back and can be used for cooking. Those that offer more “added” value than just looking nice (as sad as it is to write this down…).

In many cases, a gift of time is better for the environment than something material. And usually both parties get more out of it!

two people sit together at a table having coffee

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

3. Live frugally (It's not as bad as you think)

A point that many people have difficulty with and that you don't like to hear if you grew up in a consumer society like ours.

Here, too, it is important to me to emphasize that every person is on their own journey, that adjustments take time and that comparisons with others do not always make sense. So not everyone has to become minimalists, move into a tiny house or limit our possessions to thirty items. Because there is much more that you can do or what you can pay attention to. Take a look here to see what can be implemented for you.

Electrical appliances

Most modern electrical devices have a standby mode that is automatically activated at a certain point. This is practical because less power is consumed, but the device can still be put back into operation quickly. But if you can bring yourself to wait a few seconds longer, you should switch off electrical appliances completely and unplug them more often. Many devices that you wouldn't even think of still use a lot of energy even in standby mode.

Heat

On the other hand, there is our heating behavior. Did you know that our heating emissions per capita per year are exactly as high as the emissions caused by mobility? Tenants are usually unable to decide the actual method of heating themselves.

But your own heating behavior can be observed and adjusted if necessary. The classic recommendations here are: It is better to ventilate a few times than to always keep the windows tilted, turn down the heating when you are not in the room or outside the house and generally turn the heating down by one degree (or a few degrees).

Second hand

I have to admit that in the past I was rather critical of second-hand products. “Second-hand products are damaged, break more quickly and don't feel as 'new' or as 'mine'” – These were my hasty thoughts on the subject. In fact, I have only had good experiences with items that I bought second-hand. Of course, for some products it makes more sense to buy them second hand than for others. But shopping second hand shouldn't be seen as a hurdle, but as an opportunity.

Most cities have second-hand shopping opportunities - and not just for clothes. When purchasing over the Internet, transport costs and therefore emissions are often added. However, these are almost always significantly lower than purchasing a new item.

Of course, the other way around also applies: I can often resell products that I don't use instead of throwing them away. Of course, reselling involves more effort than the alternative of using a garbage can or recycling center, but it is much more sustainable and also easier on the wallet.

4. Eat plants instead of animals (This isn't as bad as you think either)

My favorite “tip” that I would have liked to have mentioned as the first point. But because I know how many people shut down when they hear that, I decided to mention this point last. Because if you've read this far, you're probably one of the people most ready to consider a vegetarian/vegan diet.

A plant-based diet is one of the greatest environmental contributions you can make. Depending on statistics, up to 40% of global greenhouse gases are caused by animal husbandry and its consequences. This is more than the emissions caused by air traffic and is therefore very relevant.

For many people, a vegan diet also brings health benefits - but that's another topic :) .

But even if you initially “just” decide to reduce your meat consumption or think more about the topic, you can make a big difference.

For example, this article is about whether and why a vegan diet is good for the environment. This link will take you to further articles on the topic as well as vegan recipes.

In summary, it can be said: Less is more, at least when it comes to consumer behavior. Take small steps in the right direction instead of despairing because you can't (yet) take or implement a big step. For many people, for example, life without a car is simply not possible. However, you can get used to avoiding disposable products, always having a cloth bag with you or unplugging the charger when not in use. Once these things have become second nature, you can take on something new and move on to the next thing. :)

If you would like to find out more about the topics of sustainability, mindfulness or healthy eating, take a look here .

cow stands in a meadow

Photo by Megumi Nachev on Unsplash

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