My new super power
This is the latest edition of Zero Waste London Mail of which I am the founder and editor. The purpose of this newsletter is to help Londoners become waste reduction champions.
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I have been taking a course about carbon literacy recently.
It turns out that I was not as carbon literate as I thought I was.
Of course, I already knew that flying generated a lot of carbon emissions and that eating red meat and not composting food waste were two big sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
However, calculating carbon emissions of some human activities is not easy as it seems.
The carbon footprint of letters, for example, included letters made of recycled paper which is then recycled, is much bigger than I would have guessed. Ditto for the carbon footprint of train journeys. Taking a coach is a much sustainable form of transport for long journeys, at least in the UK.
The big lesson of this Carbon literacy course is that we can’t reduce what we don’t measure, neither on a personal level nor on a collective one.
The other realisation I’ve had so far is that you cannot learn about carbon footprint and NOT act upon it. It’s like ABC. Once you can recognise letters, you cannot NOT read them.
I mention carbon literacy in this week’s edition of Zero Waste London Mail because waste reduction is obviously part of the picture. Also, becoming carbon literate has lifted my spirit in an expected way.
Now, not only do I feel compelled to make additional sustainable adjustments to my life but I cannot wait to share what I have learned with family and friends because it’s information that they can act upon immediately at home, at work and in their communities.
Thorough, actionable knowledge about climate solutions is an incredible power to develop. Grab it, use it, spread it.
An excellent starting point is the 2020 edition of How bad are bananas? The carbon footprint of everything by Mike Berners-Lee (available here). I also recommend visiting the Carbon literacy project website.
Back to this week’s newsletter.
On the menu today :
- Change the way you think about tech📱with Reboxed ;
- A new campaign linking up food waste🍞and climate change🌏;
- A practical book about sustainable fashion👗;
- Take part in a London river🐟 clean-up as part of London Rivers’ week.
Newly launched website Reboxed is on a mission to save hundreds of millions of used smartphones from lying unused or, worse, being sent to landfill.
The Brixton-based company, an aspiring B-corp certification business, sells refurbished iPhones, Samsungs as well as Apple airpods. Shortly, they will do even more than that. They will give Londoners the possibility to swap their phones.
“We can value your old phone and hand over your upgrade on the spot, at your door or in-store. Plus we’ll rebox your old phone, so you can rest easy knowing it’s gone to a good home.”
Find out more about Reboxed here.
WRAP, the leading waste reduction organisation in England, has recently launched a new campaign to raise awareness around food waste. The campaign, called Out of date, is targeting 18 to 34 year old people on social media but the message is directed to everyone — 70% of the food wasted in the UK is wasted at home.
According to WRAP, fewer than a third of people in the UK are aware that food waste contributes to climate change although 81% of British people are concerned about the planet getting hotter.
One example : bread waste in UK homes generates 318,000 tonnes of CO2 annually — the same as 140,000 cars. If we all stopped wasting bread at home for one year, it would have the same impact as planting over five million trees.
Emma Matthews, the founder of sustainable sock brand Socko, is about to publish a book. How to quit fast fashion : 100 tips for a sustainable wardrobe is coming out this Thursday. In this book, Emma tells you how to shop more efficiently, keep up with trends in a sustainable manner, make your favourite clothes last longer etc.
If you want to find out more about Emma and Socko, you can read the interview Emma gave me about a year ago here.
You can order How to quit fast fashion here.
London Rivers Week Events🐟
This week is London Rivers’ Week 2020. It celebrates the capital’s many rivers, lakes and streams and helps you find them.
This year it features a mix of socially-distanced riverside and online events, including webinars, river walks, river clean-ups and a special podcast.
You can attend the on-site events with your children! Check out the programme of events organised by Thames 21 here. Make sure to book your tickets in advance.