Following COP27 and the consequences of climate change dominating the headlines, it can be daunting to understand CO2 stats and how to shift to a more sustainable way of living, but we're here to help.

Change starts one step at a time, and if you're wondering what lifestyle choices you can make to be more green, here are a few to get you started.

Introduce more plastic-free alternatives into your routine

Many of us know about reusable water bottles. But now, there are eco versions that come complete with straws and filtration systems, and some reusable water bottles even have UV technology that self-cleans the interior. 

It's encouraging to see more people swapping plastic bottles for more eco alternatives, but another drinking device we need to tackle is disposable coffee cups. Did you know that 2.5 billion coffee cups are used and thrown away annually in the UK? That's enough cups to stretch around the world roughly five and a half times.1 Most of these cups are lined with a plastic coating and don't make it to the recycling centre and instead end up in a landfill. However, you can easily ditch disposable cups for a more sustainable version from brands such as KeepCup, Klean Kanteen, and Frank Green.  

Another single-use plastic that has many eco-friendly versions is cutlery. While it can be tempting to grab a plastic fork or knife for your favourite takeaway, substituting them for reusable utensils is a small but impactful way to make a difference. Plus, so many sets come with a travel case and are available in a range of vibrant colours. 

Eat less meat, eggs, and dairy 

From introducing Meatless Monday to considering "casual vegetarianism", there are many benefits to adopting a more plant-based diet. According to the British Nutrition Foundation2, some studies suggest plant-based diets can have beneficial effects on the risk of disease, such as lowering blood pressure, reducing blood cholesterol, and promoting a healthy body weight. 

Not only can there be health benefits to adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet instead of meats, eggs and dairy there are also many benefits for the planet. Sadly, one of the biggest issues with meat production is how much land it requires. To put this into context from Our World in Data3, "Half of the world's habitable land is used for agriculture. More than three-quarters of this is used for livestock production, despite meat and dairy making up a much smaller share of the world's protein and calorie supply."

Described as a cookbook for those on a budget, Mob Veggie makes recipes with a whole lot of fun, and they even have artist mixtapes you can listen to while you whip up new plant-based dishes. 

Help curb the appetite for fast fashion

There is a lot to love about fashion, but sadly, the devastating impact on the planet isn't one of them. Between lower prices, the comfort of online shopping, and a wide array of domestic and international retailers, brands produce more clothes than ever before.4 Our appetite for the latest trends contributes to 10% of total global emissions and depletes 700 gallons of water to make a single t-shirt.5 While purchasing fewer items will make the most positive impact, here are a few ways you can also lower your fashion footprint: 

  • Buy or sell second-hand clothing: you can almost always find a vintage gem on eBay, Etsy, Depop or Vinted
  • Rent clothes or do a clothing swap day with friends or host an event at a local community centre
  • Discover sustainable and eco-friendly brands 
  • Get clothes repaired at a local alterations shop

Swap to train and save the planet one journey at a time

Whether you're headed to Edinburgh or Exeter, swapping to train is one of the biggest impacts you can make on your carbon footprint. Cars and planes create 58% of the UK's transport CO2 emissions, whereas the entire rail network adds up to just 1.5%.6 When put into context, that's a lot of CO2 (learn more about your carbon footprint and what it actually means). 

It takes just one train journey to make a difference. So, even if you have yet to decide on your specific dates and destination, join us by signing our pledge to move just one journey a year you would otherwise have taken by car or plane, to rail.

See the Facts

See www.icamebytrain.com/FAQs for the facts

1) Source: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/657/657.pdf

2) Source: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/putting-it-into-practice/plant-based-diets/plant-based-diets/

3) https://ourworldindata.org/global-land-for-agriculture

4) https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2022-fashion-industry-environmental-impact/?srnd=green#xj4y7vzkg

5) https://earth.org/fast-fashions-detrimental-effect-on-the-environment/

6) Based on UK 2019 domestic emissions calculations as a percentage. Emission calculation for cars reflects total emissions for cars and other road transport. 

See DfT's Transport and Environment Statistics 2021 Annual Report (p. 6). See here for more. 

Emission calculations based on UK domestic emissions from 2019: 

Cars and other road totals 78.2 MtCO2e = 56.8% of total UK domestic emissions for 2019 

Planes: total 1.5 MtCO2e = 1.2% of total UK domestic emissions for 2019 

Rail: total 1.8 MtCO2e = 1.5% of total UK domestic emissions for 2019 

See Department for Transport's Transport and Environment Statistics 2021 Annual Report (see page 6)

Excel spreadsheet setting out the calculation of the %: https://thetrainline.sharepoint.com/:x:/s/analytics/EQXPBv6b2MJJjMG6MQMtCY4Bnl1BGbyKjFtXFf3aZNvviQ?e=fuoYUa