When talking about the environment, “carbon footprint” is mentioned a lot. We’re currently in the process of ongoing research into the carbon footprint of our products, so that you know what the CO2 emissions are from what you buy.

What is Carbon Footprint?

A carbon footprint is a way of measuring impact on global warming by the total amount of greenhouse gases that have been emitted by an individual person, company, or product. Carbon footprint is worked out in tonnes, and according to the recent government report, in 2018 the UK’s total carbon footprint was 451.5 million tonnes.

The main greenhouse gases are: Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), and Nitrous Oxide (N2O). The most recent UK Government report shows the percentage split of these gases, where you can see that Carbon Dioxide is the largest contributor.

Factors to consider when buying a product

We have put together four of the main factors we think are important to consider when you’re conscious of a product’s carbon footprint.

1. Where has it come from?

A big factor to consider is where your product has come from and how it has got to you. The further it’s come, the bigger the carbon footprint is likely to be. Just as importantly, you should consider how it’s travelled to you. Transport was estimated to be accountable for 28% of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. Various reports claim that for the same weight of cargo, boats have the lowest carbon emissions, followed by train, then truck, then planes having the highest emissions.

2. What’s it made from?

What the product is made from is very important, as certain materials create a much larger carbon footprint when being produced than others. Sticking to natural and fast-growing materials is said to be the best option as less harmful chemicals are used in the process.  

3. How is it packaged?

Packaging is important as unnecessary packaging can add to the carbon footprint of the product. For example, some pens are loosely packed into cardboard boxes so the carbon footprint will only come from the pen itself and the cardboard box. However, other pens can come in individual plastic bags, so the carbon footprint will be worked out from the pen, cardboard box AND the plastic bags. Paper packaging is said to be better than plastic as it can be re-used and recycled easily. Please get in touch and discuss different packaging options with us.

4. Waste Disposal

The final important factor to consider is the end of life of the product. Will it go into landfill, be recycled or be composted? Is it single-use or re-usable? This is very important as different methods of disposal will give off the greenhouse gases that increase the product’s carbon footprint. To keep the carbon footprint down, stick to re-usable products over single-use and make sure the product can be recycled or composted after use, as this stops new materials being made.

Carbon Offsetting

What is carbon offsetting?

Carbon offsetting schemes allow you to balance out your carbon footprint through investing in different environmental projects. There are currently a range of initiatives to offset your carbon footprint, such as planting trees through the Woodland Trust or The National Trust. Some of our products include carbon offsetting options, get in touch to find out more.

We hope this has helped you to make sense of carbon footprints, and how you can be aware when buying certain products. If you would like to talk about particular products, or would generally like advice for your upcoming campaign, please get in touch.