Sticking to lockdown washing routines could cut Britain’s long-term carbon footprint

  • Changes to our daily routines as a result of lockdown could shrink the nation’s carbon footprint by reducing pressure on energy demand at peak times
  • EDF estimates that if a third of households continue to use their dishwasher and washing machines at non-peak times, annual CO2 emissions could reduce by half a million tonnes – equivalent to more than 750,000 cars switching to electric vehicles
  • 8 in 10 Brits keen to see lifestyle changes that have had a positive impact on the planet continue post-lockdown

Changes to our daily household routines could have a long-term positive impact on our carbon footprint – as data from EDF reveals households continuing to take care of chores throughout the day could reduce the need for fossil-fuelled generation at peak times once industries power up again.

Historically, households created additional demand for energy at peak times, typically between 4 and 7pm, as people returned home from work and started to tackle these day-to-day chores at the same time. However, since lockdown began, demand for energy throughout the day has smoothed.

The data, released as part of work by the low carbon electricity supplier to assess the impact of lockdown routines on energy efficiency, estimates that if just over a third of households continue to use their dishwasher and washing machines at non-peak times in the future, as they have been doing during the lockdown, annual CO2 emissions could reduce by half a million tonnes – the equivalent to more than 750,000 cars switching to electric vehicles (EVs)*.

The announcement comes as consumer research** undertaken by EDF reveals 8 in 10 of us are keen to see environmentally-friendly lifestyle changes continue after restrictions are lifted.

The study of 2,000 UK residents found that lockdown restrictions have caused the nation to reassess the impact of their daily habits on the environment, with 40% planning to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint post-lockdown, rising to 51% of those under the age of 34. The most popular steps were:

  • Walking more (67%)
  • Recycling more (52%)
  • Purchasing more locally produced products (47%)
  • Using the car less (46%)
  • Unplugging electronic devices when not in use (37%)

The reduced pollution levels resulting from dramatically fewer vehicles on the road have also sparked an increased interest in EVs, with 1 in 5 (19%) more likely to consider switching to a low emission EV in the future.

78% of people believe we can all do more to reduce our carbon footprint once restrictions are lifted. However, despite the potential impact on CO2 emissions, less than a third (31%) are aware that the time of day they do household chores, such as washing dishes and laundry, impacts their carbon footprint.

There is a strong demand for more advice on living greener, with nearly two thirds (62%) wanting information about how to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Cruise Industry Remains Committed to the Environment

The Cruise Industry Remains Committed to the Environment
PHOTO: Holland America Line’s Westerdam in Alaska. (photo by Jason Leppert)

President Donald Trump may have announced that he will be pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord, but the worldwide cruise industry remains committed to environmental protection.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) recently outlined the many ways conservation is promoted within.

“The cruise industry recognizes the importance of taking active measures to preserve our environment and we are constantly striving to develop more eco-friendly practices that enable travelers to stay green’ while traveling,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA, in a press release. “Cruise lines have continued to offer new incentives for earth-friendly travel and know that this attention to our own environmental impact is not only beneficial, it is vital.”

The following are among the many eco-friendly programs and incentives:

Green Policies

Lots of cruise ships partake in recycling and waste treatment at sea as well as on land. Seabourn, for example, specifically utilizes advanced waste water treatment systems and environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies. It also recycles and donates reusable items.

It continues to increase fuel efficiency every year with new ships including low-flow passenger toilets, sinks and showers.

Dedicated Officers

Many CLIA Members employ dedicated officers charged with daily environmental program oversight. Each Disney Cruise Line ship stations Environmental Officers to check water quality and supply. It trains these officers and crew on waste minimization and environmental safety while supervising initiatives such as recycling.

Sustainable Practices

Cruise lines frequently collaborate with eco-friendly vendors and destinations that seek to reduce their carbon footprint. For one, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection works with environmentally-conscious businesses like organic wineries.

Smart Ships

Smart technologies allow modern ships to conserve energy, water and fuel. Examples include Carnival Cruise Line’s partnership with the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the City of Long Beach, California, and Southern California Edison on shore power.

Similarly, Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum-class and Harmony of the Seas smart HVAC have dropped cooling energy consumption by a quarter.

Waste Minimization & Creative Composting

Up front, cruise lines work to reduce supply packaging and then compost food waste. In fact, MSC Cruises uses incinerators, food pulpers, grinders and compactors for garbage processing while Costa Cruises was the first travel company to sign the Milan Protocol.

Solar Sailing

For ships that can, energy waste is reduced by utilizing renewable battery power and solar energy for some systems. AmaWaterways’ Zambezi Queen employs low-emission generators by day and batteries by night, using solar heating for its hot water supply.

Cruise for the Earth

Green voluntourism is available to guests who want to travel and better the world. Azamara Club Cruises has partnered with World Wildlife Fund, and WWF guest speakers are featured on some sailings.

Corporate cousin Celebrity Cruises also encourages Celebrity Xpedition guests to plant trees in Galapagos National Park in support of the Scalescia reforestation effort.

Wildlife Conservation

The environment’s inhabitants are just as important to cruise lines, and Holland America Line has an “Avoiding Whale Strikes” training program in cooperation with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) and the National Parks Service.

All the company’s deck officers have gone through the course, which is also being shared broadly with the cruise and maritime community.

Proper Disposal

Another crucial element of environmental protection is for crew members and guests to remove garbage responsibly. Crystal Cruises, for instance, promotes its “Crystal Clean” initiatives to communicate environmental education. Of course, it’s important to properly recycle and reuse not only paper and plastic but also glass, aluminum, scrap metal, cooking oil, petroleum oil, toner cartridges, electronics and certain chemicals.

Smarter Sewage

Lastly, technology can also assist in lessening the impact of sewage and water waste, as Avalon Waterways has found with its multi-step procedure and specialized onboard sewage treatment system.

Fleet-wide renovations planned for Norwegian ships

Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed it plans to invest $250 million (£147 million) in fleet-wide renovations that will take place during the course of 2015.

The NEXT makeover programme will focus on bringing “new enhancements, experiences and transformations” across the fleet and will include improvements to food and drink facilities, as well as entertainment amenities.

According to the firm, the renovations will bring older ships inline with the more modern Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway liners.

Kevin Sheehan, chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line, said: “The youngest fleet at sea continues to get even better with our robust enhancement taking place over the next two years, and we want to continue to provide fresh and relevant experiences to our guests every time they sail with us.”

The firm will continue its partnership with children’s television network Nickelodeon and plans to create further entertainment options for its youngest passengers.

According to Norwegian, the iConcierge app will be rolled out to all ships and Wi-Fi facilities will be upgraded. In addition, touch screens and digital signage will be fitted across the whole fleet.

Further technological improvements are planned, focusing specifically on improving efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of the fleet.