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Five ways to reduce our carbon footprint in 2023

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Waste auditing, reducing runoff, and cutting down on vehicle emissions are just some of the ways we can reduce our carbon footprint in 2023. Yachting New Zealand RŪNĀ Kaiwhakahaere Education Lead Natalia Groom gives us an overview of how small steps can make big change.

1. Do a Waste Audit Once a Month 

To see what you are throwing away. It's really easy, over the next week instead of taking out your rubbish daily and throwing it in the bin, collect it in one place, the garage is perfect, or you can separate it into containers. You are trying to find out if there are any regular offenders that could be avoided. Are there any plastic disposables there? If so, consider replacing it with a reusable alternative. Some examples are zero waste razors, reusable bags, metal straws, beeswax sandwich wraps, etc. 

2. Reduce/Eliminate Your Runoff 

Small amounts of common chemicals found in cleaners, boat maintenance products, and even sunscreens are entering the marine environment and can have damaging effects. Make sure you wash down your boat with just water as often as possible. If your boat is on a trailer, use a designated washdown area at your marina or club, or a grassy area. Have a look into the maintenance and cleaning products that you use and research more sustainable options.  

Also consider keeping an oil absorbing pad underneath the engine, especially when doing an oil change, and holding one under the fuel pump nozzle during fill ups. 

3. Cut Down on Your Vehicles Emissions 

Keep your car and boat engines in good working order. Do regular maintenance, and keep tire pressure at proper levels. Don’t let your car or boat idle for more than a few minutes, this contributes to emissions and gives you zero miles per gallon fuel efficiency. Maybe, consider car sharing to work or look into electric vehicles and bikes. 

4. Go Plastic Free 

How about a goal to make the ocean environment healthier? For centuries, people have thrown plastic waste into the water or seashore. This litter has had devastating effects on species living in the ocean and coastal regions. A small gesture from your end, such as minimizing the plastic packaging for items or reducing plastic usage on your boat, can eventually make a significant impact. 
Instead of plastic bottles, bags, cutlery, or other items, you can use reusable glasses and cups, dishes, etc. Nowadays, bamboo cutlery is also famous among anglers. Suppose you got more plastic containers in the form of packaged items you bought; you can dispose of avoidable packaging before going on the vessel. 

5. Encourage Your Club to Become a Clean Club 

Speak with your club to encourage them to become a Clean Club – They will get support from the YNZ (Yachting New Zealand) team and start their journey on becoming more sustainable. You could even help them by offering up a small amount of your time to come up with environmentally friendly alternatives yourself or start a group of environmentally focused boaties. Remember this also helps Team NZ with their Impact League score!