Tag Archives: carbon footprint

Being Sustainable – in 10 easy steps

 

CARBON FOOTPRINT

Environmental science is all about finding ways to live more sustainably, which means using resources today in a way that maintains their supplies for the future. Environmental sustainability doesn’t mean living without luxuries but rather being aware of your resource consumption and reducing unnecessary waste.

  1. Reduce household energy use

    Energy conservation is itself a source of energy. Here are several simple ways to reduce your household energy use:

    • Turn off appliances and lights that you’re not using.

    • Install energy-efficient appliances.

    • Use a programmable thermostat that lowers or raises the temperature when you’re not home.

    • Set your thermostat lower than usual in the winter and bundle up.

    • Open windows to allow a breeze instead of turning on the air conditioning.

    • Hang clothes to dry instead of using the dryer.

    • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).
      light bulb

  2. Eat locally

    A powerful way to live more sustainably is to eat locally. The convenience of supermarkets has changed how people think about food. You can stroll through aisles stocked with fruits, vegetables, and other products from all over the world any time of year. But these products consume huge amounts of fossil fuel energy to get from those global locations to your corner supermarket.

  3. Dispose with disposables

    Previous generations didn’t dream of single-use razors, forks, cups, bags, and food storage containers, but these days, you can find a plastic version of almost any object and then throw that object away after you use it.
    single use plastic

    Many of the environmental health issues today stem from toxins released into the environment by trash. Even trash that’s properly disposed of, such as that in a landfill, requires careful monitoring to ensure that dangerous chemicals don’t enter the surrounding environment.
    single plastic bag

    When you make a purchase, consider the item’s life expectancy: How long can the item be used? Will it have more than one use? When you’re done with it, will it end up in the trash? Start investing in reusable products for the items you most often throw away.

  4. Plant seeds

    Try growing your own food. Simply plant a few seeds in a corner of your yard or in a container on your porch or windowsill. You don’t need acres; a few square feet on a patio, along the driveway, or in a window box can provide enough space to grow edible herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
    kitchen garden

  5. Recycle

    Recycle as much as possible! If your neighborhood or apartment complex doesn’t offer recycling pickup, either find a drop-off location or request the curbside service. Buying products labeled post-consumer lets companies know that recycling is the way to go!

    For other items, such as CFLs, batteries, mobile/cellphones, and electronics, find an appropriate recycler. Many local stores accept used batteries over the counter, but be sure to ask where these materials go for recycling and avoid companies that ship electronic waste overseas for unregulated “recycling” and salvage operations.

  6. Resell and donate items

    Items that you no longer need can get an extended life through resale and donation. By extending the life of any product, you help reduce dependence on disposable or cheaply made single-use products that end up in landfills.

    Providing your items are in good condition and are compliant with safety standards there are many charity/thrift shops that you can donate to, so your items not only continue to be used but they benefit others by generating funds.
    donation

    You can try reselling on Ebay or similar and make yourself some extra cash.  There are also many reseller or goods-for-free pages on Facebook where you can get in touch with people in your own area and give your goods a new lease of life.

  7. Drink from the tap

    Dependence on bottled water has added more than a million tons of plastic to the waste stream every year. One reason people rely on bottled water is because they believe it’s safer and better tasting than tap water. But most municipal water supplies in the U.S. provide safe, clean, fresh water (and many bottled waters are just bottled from city water supplies anyway).
    tap water

    If you don’t like the flavor of your tap water, consider the one-time investment in a filtration system. If you like the convenience of bottled water, purchase refillable bottles and keep one in your fridge, one in your car, and one at the office. Encourage your employer to install filters and offer glasses or reusable bottles at work, too.

  8. Save water

    An easy way to live more sustainably is to conserve household water use. Consider installing water-efficient toilets or dual-flush toilets that let you choose whether to use a full flush (for solid waste) or half-flush (for liquid waste). Newer clothes washers can automatically sense the smallest level of water needed for each load.

    Smaller changes, such as switching to water-saving shower heads and adding aerators to your sink faucets, are also effective ways to significantly reduce household water use.

    To conserve water outdoors, use landscaping adapted to your local environment. When buying plants, look for drought-tolerant species and varieties and be sure to plant them in proper soil and sun conditions to reduce their need for excess watering. Set up sprinkler systems so they don’t water the sidewalk, the driveway, and other paved, impermeable surfaces.

  9. Rely less on your car

    Using fossil fuels to support one person in each car on the road is clearly no longer sustainable. Investigate public transit options in your town or city, such as a bus or train or find out if your company operate carpool service for staff. When traveling close to home, walk or ride your bike.
    cycle to work

    Many workers in the UK now benefit from the Government Green initiative “Cycle to Work Scheme”.  Cycles and safety equipment can be obtained through an employer as a salary sacrifice.  This means there are substantial savings on average of 32% on the cost of equipment.  So a cycle valued at £800 would actually only cost £544.

  10. Purchase fair-trade products

    When you purchase items that are imported from all over the world — particularly coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, chocolate, and fruit — look for the fair-trade certification. This designation tells you that these items were grown using sustainable methods of agriculture and that local people are receiving fair prices for the goods they produce.
    fairtrade logo

    Items that don’t have the fair-trade certification may have been produced unsustainably and may be the product of exploitative labor practices that don’t benefit the local people.

We hope this has given you a few pointers on how live more sustainably.  It doesn’t involve a major change to the way you do things and it most certainly

won’t cost you the Earth.

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Rio 2016 – Embrace (Sustainability Management)

The ‘Embrace’ proposal is aimed at delivering sustainability before, during and after the Games. With our partners and sponsors, we will develop projects and programmes that will serve as seeds to be cultivated by society as a whole.

Our way of working sustainably is based on integrating three pillars – PLANETPEOPLE and PROSPERITY – and our aims are to:

  • establish a standard of sustainability for holding events
  • insert sustainability into the DNA of event organisation
  • serve as an example of good sustainable practices
  • be transparent through dialogue with society

PLANET

Delivering low-impact Games, minimising pressure on materials and energy resources, without impairing the quality of the event.

Rio 2016 is following sustainability guidelines and embracing low-impact operations in its processes. This means that even before beginning an activity, we consider how it can be delivered efficiently, from an environmental point of view.

Efficiency

The Games will inevitably generate environmental impacts. We are talking about high consumption of water, energy, raw materials, food and so on. Rio 2016 undertakes to use all resources conscientiously and rationally, prioritising certified, reusable and recyclable materials.

• Buying 100% certified wood → Rio 2016 undertakes to buy all the timber items required for the Games from sources with chain of custody certification. This means that, in addition to sustainably managed logging, traceability is guaranteed from the time the timber leaves the forest through to the end user.

• Sustainable headquarters → Rio 2016 has its headquarters in a temporary building. After it is taken down, 80% of the material will be reused in future structures. The building consumes 70% less energy than ordinary buildings. Timers on bathroom wash basins, intelligent flushes and a rainwater collection system enables us to cut water consumption. Furthermore, the building is fully accessible to people with physical and visual impairments.

• Material life-cycle analysis → Up to 2016, the visual identity of the Games will be displayed throughout the city of Rio de Janeiro in various forms and printed on various kinds of material. To ensure more conscientious and sustainable choices, the organising committee has analysed the life-cycles of 106 materials that will be used by the Games visual identity team to minimise the environmental impact.

Carbon Emissions

To deliver low-impact Games, we are working on a number of initiatives to cut our emissions. We have completed a study of our carbon footprint and defined an emissions management strategy, based on impact measurement, cutting emissions, mitigation where possible and offsetting what cannot be mitigated.

• Biodiesel from recycled cooking oil → Fleets of buses and trucks will be fuelled by diesel containing 20% recycled cooking oil. Biodiesel emits less carbon and sulphur than mineral diesel. It is estimated that 20,000 oil collectors will be involved, boosting the development of this production chain.

• Logistics efficiency programme → Logistics are a major factor in boosting the Games’ CO2 emissions. Rio 2016 is designing an intelligent route model to cut transportation time for the more than 30 million items to be bought in for the Games. This will also cut fuel consumption, as well as carbon emissions.

• Technology-based carbon mitigation plan → This plan aims to mitigate 100% of the emissions generated by the Rio 2016 Games, which will amount to 500,000 tonnes of co2eq direct emissions from our operations and 1.5 million tonnes of co2eq from spectators. Mitigation projects involve the agriculture, manufacturing and civil engineering sectors, and they will reap short, medium and long-term benefits.

Managing carbon footprint Rio 2016
Managing carbon footprint Rio 2016

 Waste

For Rio 2016, one of the key points related to sustainability is waste management, since large volumes of waste will be generated daily during the Games. Our great challenge is to minimise waste and raise awareness among spectators, athletes, volunteers and others involved in the event in regard to the correct way to dispose of and recycle waste.

• Rio 2016 headquarters waste management → Before the Games, our office is the only waste producer. Our workers have been instructed on how to dispose of it correctly. Some of our actions include not buying plastic cups, reducing the number of printers available and not providing individual waste bins.

• Guide to sustainability for packaging → One of the critical points in the generation of waste is packaging. With this in mind, in April 2013, Rio 2016 published a guide to sustainable packaging, in which the committee laid down sustainability options and mandatory requirements for this category of items, including labelling, ecodesign, accessibility of information and packaging materials.

• Games waste management strategies → Our strategy does not only cover the Games-time period: it begins during the preparatory phase and ends when the venues are dismantled. Recycling cooperatives will be involved and the strategy is based on the following sequence: waste generation avoidance → minimising volume → managing inevitable waste → promoting behavioural change. The strategy also includes treatment of organic waste through composting, in order to reduce the amount that is sent to landfills.

PEOPLE

Promoting Games for everyone, offering the best Olympic and Paralympic experience.

By embracing and welcoming everyone, Rio 2016 proposes to engage them and raise awareness on important topics, such as diversity, inclusion and accessibility. We are working so that Olympic and Paralympic values and attitudes transcend the Games and provide inspiration for people’s daily behaviour in the workplace and in society in general.

PROSPERITY

Deliver prosperous Games, inspiring the establishment of a chain of qualified suppliers and developing a management model prioritising transparency and dialogue with stakeholders.

Rio 2016 has embraced the challenging responsibility of making conscientious choices for everything purchased, also covering the dismantling cycle. The aim is to improve the quality standards of our suppliers and their production chains. Based on transparency, we will make our documents and reports accessible to the public, giving full details of our management models and assuming accountability for all our activities. Furthermore, we will create an environment that facilitates dialogue and exchange with all civil society participants.

For more information read the official sustainability documents here.

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