Low Impact Guide:

How to reduce the carbon footprint of your air travel

How to reduce the carbon footprint of your air travel

Air travel is, by its very nature, a carbon intensive activity. Around 2.5% of all CO2 emissions come from the aviation industry. That’s a significant amount when compared to the entire United Kingdom, which is responsible for 1% of total carbon emissions.

If you do fly, the chances are that air travel accounts for a high proportion of your total carbon footprint. Luckily, there are many things you can do to reduce your environmental impact while travelling and we’re going to teach you how!

Here are some of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon emissions when travelling:  

Avoid flying wherever possible

Flying around the world for business or pleasure can be a fun and exciting experience. But it is also one of the most environmentally damaging ways to travel.

We all know that flying has a huge carbon footprint, but we don’t want to give up our travel privileges just yet. 

The easiest way to reduce the carbon footprint of your travels is to avoid flying whenever possible. With a little research, you will often find alternative travel options such as trains, buses and ferries. Perhaps you can even take a road trip to your destination? All of these options are much more environmentally friendly than air travel.

Persuade your boss to cut business travel

Travelling for business? Although many businesses have gotten better with this since the pandemic, chances are that your company is keen for you to travel again for work.

You may be able to save yourself from having to fly – and save your business some money – if you can persuade your boss that the trip you are about to take can instead be replaced with video meetings.

Still need to fly? No sweat. There are some things you can do to reduce your impact.

Look for flights with lower carbon emissions

If you need to fly, why not jump on a flight with lower emissions? It’s easier than you think to find out which flights are the most eco-friendly. Enter Google Flights:

Google Flights allows you to sort flight options by a number of different metrics, including the most green. They also provide details of CO2 emissions estimates which are specific not only to your flight, but also to the type of seat that you have chosen. Options with significantly lower emissions are labelled with a green badge.

Book direct flights

Did you know that it’s better for the environment to book direct flights than taking a stop over. When you choose connecting flights, you end up travelling a greater distance. The further you fly, the bigger your flight’s carbon footprint.

This is great news because flying direct is also a much more pleasant experience if you are able to do it.

Fly economy

By opting to fly Economy over Business or First Class, you’ll also be reducing the impact of your flights. The reason is simple: Economy seats take up a lower percentage of the space on the plane than the other classes do, and are therefore responsible for a smaller percentage of the total flight emissions.

Take daytime flights

Scientists have found that the warming effect of flying is almost doubled at night when compared to flying in the daytime. If you can, opting for daytime flights will help to reduce the negative effects of your air travel.

Low waste flights

Only 9% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled, and given that it takes a staggering 400 years to decompose our planet finds itself drowning in an ever-growing amount of plastic waste.

There are now 3 airlines that have decided to take this into their own hands and are offering fully plastic free flights: Hi Fly, Emirates and Ryanair. By using a low waste carrier, you’ll be avoiding adding to the huge amount of plastic waste created by the airline industry.

Offset flights

The final piece of the puzzle – if you really must fly – is offsetting what you cannot reduce. 

Simply put, carbon offsetting is the practice of contributing to projects around the world which reduce the production of CO2 emissions elsewhere. By contributing to highly vetted carbon offsetting programmes, you can help to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being produced around the world on an ongoing basis.

If you use Google Flights, you can get an accurate idea of the emissions generated by your particular flight choice:

It is then easy to offset your flight’s carbon emissions using Get Offset or a similar provider. Our individual plans cover the average person’s carbon footprint – or you can choose from a number of other membership options to best suit your needs. Sign up here today!

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