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  • Writer's pictureThe Climate Coach

Waste - there is so much of it, where do I start?

Updated: Oct 2, 2022

Good question. Unfortunately in modern society, waste is everywhere and there are far too many pictures like the below readily and freely available - you can probably walk to a similar view from your house.

First - why does waste matter so much for climate? It's not necessarily the emissions produced from the stuff that goes to waste - although that does play a part. It's more actually the emissions created by making stuff in the first place. Take food as a prime example - we know that somewhere in the region of 30% of all emissions globally come from food - which is a staggering amount to be honest. Yet a third of all food goes to waste (again, staggering when you think about it). So in basic terms, if you cut out all the waste, you cut out a third of food emissions which works out to roughly 10% of global emissions, because you don't need to produce as much in the first place. I know there is some debate about what those figures are exactly but even if they are slightly out it's still absolutely mind blowing to think about what impact this has....and that's just food, let alone clothes or some of the other big culprits that cause waste problems.

Right, we need to drastically reduce how much stuff we waste then...

So rule number 1 in trying to reduce waste, and a great place to start, is to reduce our consumption of "stuff". This applies to all areas of our life from the food we buy, to the consumables we buy, to our larger investments in appliances, cars and houses. In Western society especially, we just have too much stuff - we buy too much food, too many gadgets, too many toys for our kids (and us!) and basically too much everything. I'm not suggesting we don't buy anything at all - but the key is to make sensible decisions considering the environment. I purposely left out purchase from that previous sentence because actually there is a good case for re-thinking the "ownership" model we currently live by.

This sounds like a big topic?

It absolutely is and there is definitely lots of unpack. There are some key focus areas which warrant their own posts with more specific in depth advice but the overarching advice remains the same here - which is to reduce our consumption of stuff...which actually is a common theme across lots of other areas that impact the climate. Thankfully, there are many many easy ways to do this - from making small changes to what you eat and the food you buy, to changing your default decision away from "buying" something you need.

If you have any thoughts, feedback or ideas you wish to contribute on this or any other topic covered by The Climate Coach - please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.

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