5 ways to reduce your carbon footprint during Covid-19

By Ceyda Erem ·

As the nation endures its fourth month of Covid-19 lockdown, it can be difficult to stay positive. However, new data from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has found that there may be something worth celebrating. 

Due to the varying levels of lockdown around the world, global emissions are expected to fall by 7.5% in 2020. This could be due to the reduced number of people driving to work or the fact international flights are all but non-existent. 

To keep this ‘eco-friendly’ momentum going, we’ve jotted down five things households can do to reduce their carbon footprint during Covid-19. 

  1. Find reusable alternatives for everyday items 

Ziplock bags, coffee mugs, makeup remover pads - there’s not much you can’t reuse. Adding reusable items into your daily routine is a simple way to reduce waste. While it might take some getting used to, choosing reusable alternatives can also be beneficial to your wallet!

Mozo research from earlier this year found that more than half of Aussies who made eco-friendly lifestyle choices reportedly had an increase in savings. To reduce the upfront cost, start small by picking up a reusable water bottle or takeaway coffee cup and go from there. 

  1. Choose minimal packaging when online shopping

Like many Aussies, you’ve probably spent more time online shopping than normal the last few months. But while the promise of a new parcel is enough to spark joy for many, large amounts of plastic and cardboard can damper the experience. 

These days, many online retailers give you the option to select a sustainable or minimal packaging option at checkout. Doing this can help cut down on the number of materials used to wrap up your item, which reduces waste. You can opt to do this for things like clothing, skincare or supplements. 

  1. Investigate sustainable delivery options 

Another way to reduce your carbon footprint when online shopping is to research delivery services. According to AusPost, more than 3 billion packages were delivered within Australia during the 2017/18 financial year. And as same day or free delivery options become more available, the environmental impact increases. 

If you are looking to purchase local items online, opt for the ‘click and collect’ option to help lighten the load for delivery services. Or if you absolutely must have an item delivered to your doorstep, there is a way to ensure a sustainable process. 

For example, Sendle is not only the country’s first 100% carbon-neutral parcel delivery service, but they’ve also recently rolled out its first lot of electricity-fuelled vans. According to Sendle, once charged, the vans can run for up to 10 hours, covering over 200kms within metropolitan areas. 

  1. Conduct an energy audit

You might be familiar with doing an audit for your personal finances, but you can also do one for your energy consumption! Dedicate some time to note of where you can reduce your energy use around your home. This could be things like unplugging appliances at the wall, switching computers off instead of leaving them on ‘sleep mode’ or washing your clothes in cold water. 

Using online energy calculators can also help you gain a better understanding of how much energy your appliances use. For instance, the Ergon Energy appliance running cost calculator allows you to plug in the hours you use certain appliances and gives you an estimate of your monthly energy expenses. 

  1. Consider switching to renewable energy  

Whether you’ve been thinking about switching energy retailers or your current contract is coming to end, why not consider switching to a more sustainable option? Depending on your budget, this could involve looking into getting solar panels installed or switching to a GreenPower electricity plan. 

Solar panels let you produce your own electricity but can also lead to big savings on your annual energy bill. However, with a GreenPower plan, a nominated percentage of your electricity use is purchased by your retailer from an accredited renewable source and pumped back into the grid on your behalf. 

You can compare GreenPower options with our free energy comparison tool: all you need to do is enter your postcode below! 

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Ceyda Erem
Ceyda Erem
Money writer

Ceyda Erem is Mozo’s authority on Energy, as well as having broader expertise as a personal finance writer. She loves to put her researching and writing talents into stories that help our readers to make more informed financial choices, whether that’s about finding the best energy deal or writing about the latest sneaky bank tricks. Ceyda has a Bachelor of Arts (major in writing) from Macquarie University.