Tips to reduce emissions

At Greenfleet we believe that we all need to avoid and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not just offset them, to reach the low carbon future our society and planet need to survive.

>> Click on the icons on the left to find out how you can avoid and reduce your emissions in your every day life.



Tips to reduce emissions


What's the issue?

Did you know that waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions in two ways:

  1. There is embedded energy associated with any product / food source (ie. energy has been consumed to produce it in the first place) - by throwing it away you are wasting this energy and if you buy something to replace it you are driving the demand for more energy in production of that new item
  2. As organic waste (food, paper, etc) breaks down in landfill it does so without oxygen and produces methane (CH4), which has a global warming impact 21 times that of carbon dioxide

You might look at statistics showing that waste is responsible for 2.6% of Australia's emissions (Australia's National Greenhouse Accounts - National Inventory 2009, released May 2011), and think waste is not a big issue.

But when you factor in the embedded energy that also gets wasted - industrial processes, agriculture, transport, electricity and gas combustion - the problem gets much bigger.

How to avoid and reduce emissions

  • Cut down.  Reducing your consumption reduces both the embedded energy lost and the emissions caused by waste decomposition.
    • Do you throw away lots of leftovers or rotten fruit, vegetables or meat? Monitor your consumption patterns and reduce the amount you buy in the future.  Compost fruit and vegetable waste and re-use it in your garden.
    • Do you really need a new TV, Blu-Ray, toys,clothes, etc?  If the new item will reduce emissions in the long-term that's OK, but don't rush out to get the latest and greatest if your current one works just fine. If something genuinely needs replacing,remember to recycle the old one.

  • When making purchases check if the item is produced locally. If the answer is no, check if there is a local alternative.

  • Repair, refill and re-use items where possible. If you do upgrade, your older products may still be useful to a friend,family member, charity, etc.  Ask around to find out if someone else can make use of your disused goods - or try or to give it away to a grateful recipient.

  • Recycle materials instead of sending them to landfill - this means the materials are recovered and fed back into the system to make new products, reducing both the emissions released from waste and the need to source virgin materials. Regular collections are available for paper, glass, aluminium and some plastics in most residential areas - check with your local council.

  • PlanetArk's Recycling Near You guide can point you in the right direction to recycle other household items.

  • Buy recycled products - or those with some recycled content at least - to reduce the demand for virgin materials. It might take you a little extra time at the shops, but really there's no point in sending materials off for recycling if you don't buy the recycled products that they are turned into.

  • For materials that require intensive primary processing (ie. steel, plastic and aluminium), recycling can reduce emissions by about two tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per tonne of product.

Offset the rest

It's important that we counteract the impact of the greenhouse emissions we create by undertaking an activity to absorb an equivalent amount of greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Greenfleet plants permanent, biodiverse, native forests to offset greenhouse gas emissions on behalf of businesses and individuals.

You can estimate your waste emissions using a factor of 1.2 tonnes CO2-e per tonne of waste* and add an "Optional extra offset" when you calculate and offset the emissions generated by your business' car fleet, air travel and on-site energy consumption.

Offset your emissions


* Municipal solid waste factor - National Greenhouse Accounts Factors, July 2011