You probably don’t need to be reminded of travel’s environmental costs. As someone who cares about sustainability, you think about them every day. And you try to build your travel plans around eco-friendly options (Green Travel).
But it’s worth reiterating: Our travel patterns really impact the environment. According to the Air Transport Action Group, a pro-airline lobby, air travel accounts for 2% of all human CO2 emissions, and 12% of all transport-related emissions. That’s billions of gallons of fuel per year.
Still, there’s much you can do to reduce the impact of your next trip without adding inconvenience or expense to your travels. Start with these six changes.
Fly in a Newer Aircraft
The air travel industry is actually making progress toward stabilizing and eventually reducing their emissions. The Guardian reports on a major 2016 agreement, the first of its kind, holding airlines and aircraft manufacturers accountable for future emissions reductions.
Aircraft manufacturers are leading the charge. Newer aircraft are much more efficient than their predecessors — some approach the efficiency of modern economy autos, measured on a per-passenger basis.
If you have multiple airline options for an identical or near-identical route, choose the one with the newest fleet. (This information is public.) You’ll be more likely to ride in an efficient plane.
Use Luggage That’s Really Hard to Lose
If you travel often, you’ve probably lost a checked bag or carry-on at least once. Airlines and other travel providers are pretty good about keeping track of their customers’ belongings, but mistakes happen more frequently than you’d think.
When they do, they’re costly, time-consuming, and not at all green to fix. That’s because lost bags require special transit arrangements, usually a combination of air freight and private ground couriers. This adds to your trip’s carbon footprint.
Smart luggage all but eliminates the environmental impacts of lost luggage because, well, it’s basically impossible to lose. As your old luggage wears out, upgrade to smarter replacements — or just upgrade today.
Leave the Golf Clubs at Home
It’s physics: Every pound of additional weight in the cargo hold or passenger cabin increases an aircraft’s fuel consumption. Do your part by packing light and leaving heavy equipment, like golf clubs and skis, at home. You can rent them at your destination.
Don’t Go As Far From Home
Under most circumstances, longer trips consume more resources. Instead of a two-week adventure in southeast Asia, plan an (almost) staycation at the beach or lake near your house. You might see a side of your home state or region that you’ve never considered — and you’ll save time, money, and resources in the process.
Research (and Reward) Conservationist Policies
If you’re committed to traveling long distances, stick to destinations that take sustainability and conservation seriously. There’s a world of difference between China and Costa Rica, for instance — the former is a notorious polluter, the latter a leader in eco-tourism.
Trade the Rental Car for Two Wheels
Why drive when you can bike?
Lots of reasons, sure. But if you’re traveling to a major city or densely populated vacation area, where distances between attractions are manageable, it’s hard to argue against two-wheeled transport. Mix up your cycling with public transportation and use taxis for trips that require you to carry lots of stuff, like transfers to and from the airport.
What are you doing to travel greener?
6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move
Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.
6 Tips for a Greener Move
Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.
1. Maximize Each Trip
When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.
If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.
2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep
The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.
3. Reuse Moving Boxes
Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.
4. Get Creative With Packing
Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.
5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies
Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.
6. Forward Your Mail ASAP
Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.
Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful
Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.
Future Parcel Delivery Growth Hinges on Green Considerations
Right now, the parcel delivery industry is buoyant. A recent industry study revealed that the volume of deliveries taking place rose by 12% to 2.5bn. In the UK, spending rose by 8% compared to 2016, totalling some £10bn. Globally, 65 billion parcels were delivered last year, with China and the United States leading the way.
65 billion is a huge number of deliveries that, with online retail on the rise, is set to grow even further this year and beyond. However, many of these deliveries will be for single parcels, using a significant amount of fuel in the process. The financial and environmental cost of transporting a solitary package is something that delivery firms may have to address in future.
The cost of crude oil has been fluctuating in recent months, giving couriers little notice of how much each journey will set them back. Prices at the pump have shot up in the last six weeks, owing much to uncertainty in the Middle East and Venezuela. They now stand at 118.1p per litre, up by nearly four pence from the end of July. Diesel prices followed a similar trajectory.
To fill up a 40-litre tank, it would cost £47.24, but another cost comes in the form of emissions. Using either petrol or diesel to run a delivery van or truck will have a negative impact on the environment. For delivery firms who want to be as green as humanly possible, making multiple journeys for individual packages has an air of irresponsibility.
One simple solution to this problem could come in the form of delivering multiple packages in the same trip. It sounds easy to do and, for the most part, it is. Even when using a delivery truck for the heaviest parcels, doing several trips in one go would mean not having to refuel as often, helping to bring down both the environmental and financial costs.
The larger the package is, the more expensive it is to transport. However, by using heavy parcel delivery services that take several large parcels in one go, the environmental cost per delivery will be greatly reduced. Having several smaller items as part of one, larger package would further reduce any costs that would have otherwise gone on individual deliveries.
When it comes to evenly distributing the weight of parcels, the way in which they are loaded can have a profound impact on fuel consumption. Keeping all the parcels in a van or truck laid flat will see the weight distributed more evenly.
In doing this rather than placing all the parcels in the back, it creates less drag while the van/truck is in transit. This is a trick that all delivery companies, large and small, will need to pull off if they are to keep their industry growing.
For the foreseeable future, the vehicles used for parcel delivery are likely to change. The phasing out of diesel and petrol cars in the UK will see vans running on electricity become a reality, vastly reducing the carbon footprint of businesses nationwide. Also on the environmental front, electric drones are being used for smaller packages.
These tiny drones are slowly revolutionizing the way in which deliveries work. Although there are several kinks to be worked out, some major brands including Amazon and Domino’s have used them with some success. They will, however, need to be adapted to cope with larger or multiple deliveries to make them more eco-friendly.