• Nikki Le-Grys

5 Ways To Be Sustainable During COVID Lockdown

Many parts of the world are observing social distancing or outright bans on leaving their homes right now. As we all try to survive during the Coronavirus pandemic, it is a good time to adopt some simple online tools to help save the planet.

Online shopping surged in March, while Instacart in the US experienced a 280% increase in downloads compared to the previous month. Online shopping gives us access to the products we want from the safety and comfort of our home. But how sustainable are those shopping choices really?

We’ve picked our 5 favourite ways to accelerate global sustainability during the COVID-19 lockdown:

1. Toilet Roll That Does Good

Toilet paper is a global issue and the US is the worst offender. With just over 4% of the world’s population, it’s surprising to find that they use 20% of global tissue consumption. As reported in The Guardian, 28 million acres of Canadian boreal forest have been cut down since 1996 for toilet paper. Do you know if your toilet roll is made from recyclable paper?

It felt like we were the only household not to have ran out, or needed to stockpile toilet paper when coronavirus panic buying struck. And not only did we have a whole box full of the stuff, but we were doing our bit for the environment. All thanks to Who Gives A Crap. They’re taking pre-orders now, so check them out. They also have tissues and kitchen paper. We love the neat designs (which we re-used to wrap birthday presents) and quirky insights on the plastic free packaging, like: More people have mobile phones than toilets. How crazy!

Who Gives A Crap uses 100% recycled material and 50% of all profits go to help build toilets in developing countries. Plus the organisation is B Corp certified, so you know they’re the real deal.

2. Sustainable Browsing

We often think all of our data and browsing is in the cloud, which makes it sound sustainable. Sadly this is far from the truth. Every Google search comes at a cost to our planet. In processing 3.5 billion searches a day, the world’s most popular website accounts for about 40% of the internet’s carbon footprint. One study from 2015 suggested that internet usage resulted in as much CO2 emissions as the global aviation industry.

You can make your searching more sustainable by using either of these free search tools:

  • Ecosia plants a tree for every single search completed, which was up to 88’690’220 trees planted at the time of writing. The search engine publishes monthly financial reports so you can check where their income goes. They run the servers on 100% renewable energy and each search you do removes 1kg of CO2 from the atmosphere. They even protect your data – by not selling to advertisers, having no third party trackers and anonymizing all searches within a week.

  • giveWater is focused on solving the global water and sanitation crisis: 663 million people currently drink dirty water with more than 840000 estimated to die each year from diarrhea as a result of unsafe drinking water, sanitation and hand hygiene, including 360’000 children under the age of five. By donating profits raised from paid search ads, giveWater is helping more people around the world access clean water and decent sanitation. The organisation was founded by Michael Feeley after reading the book Thirst and notably, the founder does not receive salary or any funds for this venture.

3. Zero Waste Shopping

Online shopping and home delivery has been around for a while, but Loop has taken it one step further, partnering with big brands to bring you a waste free delivery service. You shop online, you pay a small fee to ‘borrow’ the delivery package and it’s delivered to your home. Once you’ve used it you simply schedule recollection, Loop collect and clean it, making it ready for use again.

Loop have partnered with some big brands for groceries, cleaning and beauty products to deliver mainstream products in reusable containers – removing plastic packaging and cardboard. The containers are glass, stainless steel, aluminium or BPA free plastic. Loop estimate a 20-35% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to traditional retail and e-commerce.

With names like Häagen-Dazs, Febreeze and The Body Shop already onboard, we can expect big things to come. Currently only available in the US and Paris, but launching in the UK, Canada, Germany, and Japan in 2020, so make sure to keep them on your radar!

4. Sustainable Offsetting

Wouldn’t it be great if every time you shopped online, you would offset carbon?

Well the team at U Capture have developed a free tool to do exactly this. Simply add the extension, download the App or shop through their website. The retailers pay a portion of your spend on your chosen offsetting projects. They also add loads of coupon options to get further discounts whilst shopping online.

U Capture have supported 20 different carbon offsetting projects, including reforestation, methane capture, and renewable energy. One project distributes innovative cooking stoves to low income families in Rwanda, avoiding further deforestation, reducing smoke and indoor air pollution. This also improves health outcomes for the families. Another project in India provides renewable energy from wind, replacing coal fired electricity. A proportion of the revenues from the scheme support local projects to empower young women through education on their rights, creativity and skills in healthcare. The beauty is you can choose the offsetting schemes that most align to your values.

Founder and CEO, Avery Michaelson, told us:

"I spent a lot of time searching for a system that could put the “cost of carbon” into consumption in a way that was free and frictionless for consumers. There were technologies that provided cash back or charitable donations but we wanted a way for people to easily offset their carbon when they shopped online. So I developed U Capture. We get companies to offset your carbon footprint when you shop, at no extra cost – thereby creating a win-win-win for consumers, companies and the planet."

So far, 7808400 kg of carbon has been offset. That equates to 202519 trees being grown for 10 years or 3324615 liters of fuel not consumed! With over 20000 users already and 25000 stores like Expedia, Levi’s and Boohoo, this plugin offers a simple and free way to accelerate global sustainability whilst doing your online shopping.

Join SOKTI's own UCapture program HERE, to save money and save the planet at the same time. Then, find us on the leaderboard to track the impact of the SOKTI community.

5. Sustainability Tracking

The more you know, the more you can do. The Oroeco app allows you to track all your spending and environmental impacts in a fun and interactive way, giving you advice on which climate actions will reduce the most pollution whilst saving you money.

Connecting your spending to their carbon footprint calculator, you can see how every part of your life connects to global warming. From driving, flying, your eating habits, shopping and home energy.

Featured in Forbes, Reuters and Tedx, this app has it all:

‘Oroeco’s award-winning team and advisors include Nobel Prize winning climate scientists, tech pioneers, gaming wizards, acclaimed artists, and innovative educators. We combine social gaming with full life cycle sustainability data from partners like UC Berkeley’s CoolClimate NetworkTrucostLinkCycle, and CSRHub to bring you the best information to guide your decisions.’

If you want to be more sustainable check out our website for more helpful tips and insight: www.sokti.com

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