How to carbon offset your flights

March 12, 2020

How to carbon offset your flights

Air travel currently accounts for 2.4% of global carbon dioxide emissions, a figure that is still rising at an alarming rate. Though it is not the highest contributor to rising greenhouse gas emissions, it is a significant one for us travellers to consider. Now of course I’m not here to tell you to stop flying, that would be entirely unreasonable of me, not to mention hypocritical, but I am here to help guide you with the ways you can reduce your carbon footprint whilst you travel. This blog post in particular suggests three companies you can use to carbon offset your air travel and towards the end I also suggest more ways in which you reduce your carbon footprint.

There is a lot of speculation of carbon offsetting which stems from the idea that simply planting trees isn’t the answer, but there is more to carbon offsetting than reforestation. The three companies I have listed below all work on a variety of projects beyond tree planting, from distributing efficient cooking stoves in countries who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them, to funding clean energy farms such as wind and solar. They’re not just helping you to offset your carbon footprint, these companies and their projects are also working hard to improve the quality of life in developing countries.

PFHPostcardsfromHawaiiAirplaneAeroplaneCarbonOffsetting

Here are the three companies I recommend using to offset you carbon footprint:

1. Gold Standard

Gold Standard has offset 117 million tonnes and counting, supporting over 17,000 projects in more than 80 countries.

Read more about Gold Standard here.

What you can offset

  • A custom donation for any carbon emissions

How to calculate 

With Gold Standard, you calculate your carbon emissions from your air travel, vehicle, home etc. using either of the following calculators and pick from one of their various projects to donate to by the tonne. 

WWF Carbon Footprint Calculator

Carbon Footprint Calculator

There is a wide choice of projects from focusing on sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar power to humanitarian projects such as providing safe water and clean cooking equipment to villages in need all around the world. Take a look at your options here.

Cost per tonne

£7.75 – £15.50 or $10 – $20 per tonne.

How to donate

Once you have calculated the amount of carbon you wish to offset and the project you want to support you can pay via the payment methods:

  • Visa

  • MasterCard

  • American Express

  • Paypal 

Choose wisely and keep your points in mind so that you can collect towards your travels and future offsetting payments!

PFHPostcardsfromHawaiiAirplaneAeroplaneCarbonOffsettingAirTravelCroatia

2. Mossy Earth

Mossy Earth is a carbon offsetting company that offers an immersive experience. What does this mean? With your donation you receive the following: 

  • A photo & GPS coordinate of each tree

  • Regular on the ground project updates

Read more about the ways you can reduce your impact here.

What you can offset

  • Your air travel

  • Your road trip

  • Your carbon footprint

  • A custom donation

How to calculate

Mossy has its own calculator which will calculate your footprint by the hour for air travel, by the km for road travel or by the tonne for your custom emissions footprint.

You can choose to donate either as a one off or via a monthly subscription.

Unlike Gold Standard, you cannot pick your project to donate to, however here is a list of the project Mossy works on:

  • Wildfire restoration – replants after wildfires

  • Healing clearcuts – replants after illegal logging

  • Native oak woodland restoration – reduces the fire hazard for local communities 

  • Irish reforestation – plants trees in the least forested region in Europe

  • Rewilding impact – helps pay ranger salaries so they can continue to protect forests, sets up cameras for biologists to track wildlife populations and helps to put out wildfires 

You can also give a gift of a planted tree to a fellow environmentally-conscious traveller (or anyone really). They even have wedding and birthday gift kits!

Cost per tonne

£30 or $39 per tonne.

How to donate

Once you have calculated the amount of carbon you wish to offset and the project you want to support you can pay via the payment methods:

  • Apple Pay

  • Paypal 

PFHPostcardsfromHawaiiAirplaneAeroplaneCarbonOffsettingAirTravelBanff

3. Atmosfair

Atmosfair is a non-profit organisation that specialises in offsetting air travel emissions. With the donations made, they are developing and financing renewable energies in over 15 countries worldwide.

To read more about their renewable energy projects, click here.

What you can offset

  • Your air travel

  • Your carbon footprint

  • A direct donation

How you calculate

Atmosfair has its own calculator which can work out your air travel emissions by taking your destination, ticket class, aircraft and route into consideration. Alternatively you can use one of the following calculators to work out your footprint. 

WWF Carbon Footprint Calculator

Carbon Footprint Calculator

You can also choose to donate either as a one off or via a monthly, quarterly or yearly subscription.

Atmosfair does not participate in any reforestation projects but they do work on the following:

  • Wind energy

  • Solar energy 

  • Hydro power

  • Environmental education

Cost per tonne

£20 or $26 per tonne.

How to donate

Once you have calculated the amount of carbon you wish to offset and the project you want to support you can pay via the payment methods:

  • Visa

  • MasterCard

  • American Express

  • Paypal 

Choose wisely and keep your points in mind so that you can collect towards your travels and future offsetting payments!

PFHPostcardsfromHawaiiAirplaneAeroplaneCarbonOffsettingAirTravelNewZealand

We are yet to use Atmosfair but I have included it here because it’s on my radar and it’s also recommended by Natalie Fee in her book, How to save the world for free, which I have recommenced many times in my blog posts and across social media.

 

More ways to reduce your air travel carbon footprint

Offsetting your carbon footprint isn’t the only way to reduce your impact on the world, here are some more ways you can help to save the planet when you fly:

Fly economy/coach

As uncomfortable as it is, flying economy/coach is better for the environment as the seats take up less space than first or business. Luckily we can’t all afford business and first so for the most of us, we’re already doing our bit!

Fly direct

Yes connections are cheaper, but next time consider flying direct as take offs and landings use the most fuel which means more of them create higher emissions. Balance the cost of a connecting flight against the extra offsetting cost for two or more flights.

Say no to the inflight meal

Inflight meals feature a lot of plastic and single use waste. Contact your airline to reject the inflight meal when possible, and instead bring your own food from home – in reusable packaging of course!

Travel light

The more you pack, the heavier the plane. The heavier the plane, the more fuel it uses to fly. The more fuel used, the higher the carbon emissions. So try to pack less. This is the one area I particularly struggle with when it comes to travelling. Luckily my upcoming move to Canada is forcing me to reduce my belongings (all being sold, handed down, donated or recycled) so that after the first flight is done, I will be travelling with a lot less from then on.

PFHPostcardsfromHawaiiAirplaneAeroplaneCarbonOffsettingAirTravelHawaii

If you have any questions about carbon offsetting, please feel free to reach out to me here or via Instagram. I’m no expert but I might be able to offer advice if what you’re looking for isn’t here.

Thank you for reading this and understanding the importance of protecting the planet we all love to explore!

Aloha, Gabriella

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