Demystifying Carbon Neutral: Understanding Net Zero And The Pathway To Success For Your Business

WHAT IS NET ZERO AND HOW DOES CARBON AFFECT OUR ENVIRONMENT  

Net zero essentially implies that everything that leaves the system must return. In order to achieve net zero emissions, every tonne of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by human activity, such as burning fossil fuels and altering land use, must be actively extracted from the atmosphere. 

 

The overall flow of carbon from human-caused sources, such as the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use, needs to balance with the carbon absorbed by carbon sinks like soil, forests, and oceans. 

 

At Nationwide we know that managing waste sustainably and reducing carbon impact is imperative in working toward net zero targets. We empower our clients to be innovators in the waste management processes they have in place and we know there’s much more to be done in achieving a net zero outcome.   

 

When a business achieves carbon neutrality, it means that its carbon emissions are offset by an equal amount of carbon removal or other mitigating actions. 

 

In essence, it means attaining a net-zero carbon footprint, in which all greenhouse gas emissions discharged into the environment are balanced by actions taken to either completely eliminate emissions or remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

 

These could be actions like buying carbon credits, putting energy-saving measures in place, encouraging reforestation initiatives, or investing in renewable energy sources. Sustainable waste management plays a huge part in this process to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, promote recycling and resource conservation, and encourage a circular economy that minimises waste going to landfill.  

 

WHY DOES CARBON DIOXIDE MATTER SO MUCH?   

The most significant greenhouse gas on Earth is carbon dioxide, which both absorbs and radiates heat. Greenhouse gases, as opposed to oxygen or nitrogen, which make up the majority of our atmosphere, absorb heat emitted from the Earth’s surface and re-emit it in all directions, including back towards the surface. 

 

The Earth’s natural greenhouse effect would not be strong enough to maintain an average global surface temperature above freezing without carbon dioxide. People are accelerating the natural greenhouse effect and raising the global temperature by increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 

 

The NOAA Global Monitoring Lab reports that in 2021, over two thirds of the total heating influence of all greenhouse gases produced by humans came from carbon dioxide alone. The Greenhouse Gas Index records data to track annual increases and total warming effects. 

 

Check out the below three graphs. 

 

The first is a graph showing recent greenhouse gas outputs.

 

The next two put things into context.

 

 

The fact is that humans are changing the environment more rapidly than it has ever changed before. 

 

Where will this lead?

CARBON DIOXIDE DOESNT JUST IMPACT THE ATMOSPHERE – CHECK OUT WHAT IT DOES TO THE OCEAN

 

Carbon dioxide dissolves into the ocean like the fizzing of a can of soda and has a significant impact on the chemical and biological environment of our oceans. It lowers the pH of the ocean (increasing its acidity) and produces carbonic acid when it combines with water molecules. 

 

The surface waters of the ocean have lost pH, from 8.21 to 8.10, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

 

Ocean acidification is the term for this pH decline.

 

OCEAN ACIDIFICATION: SAVING OUR MARINE ENVIRONMENT FOR THE FUTURE   

Ocean Acidification, also known as OA for short, is the term used to describe chemical changes to the ocean resulting from carbon dioxide emissions and pollution. Seawater undergoes a chemical reaction when CO2 is absorbed by it including:

 

  • Lowering the pH level of seawater
  • Lowering carbonate ion concentration
  • Lowering saturation states of calcium carbonate minerals 

 

This hurts ALL marine life – soon, does this mean they will be swimming in acid? Yes. Eventually. If we don’t do something. Now.

Saturation of calcium carbonate minerals are crucial for biological processes as they assist the growth and development of all sea life. Because they need CO2 to survive, much like land plants do, photosynthetic algae and seagrasses may benefit from increased CO2 levels in the ocean. 

 

However, research has demonstrated that certain calcifying organisms, such as clams, oysters, sea urchins, deep sea and shallow water corals, and calcareous plankton, can be dramatically impacted by reduced calcium carbonate saturation states. And that’s what happens when the PH levels drop.

 

Remember the Acid Rain event of the 1980s? European forests were being destroyed by acid rain caused by atmospheric release of sulphur dioxide, which formed sulphuric acid when mixed with atmospheric water (clouds). This then fell as acid rain.

 

In the case of the oceans, it’s not sulphur dioxide, but carbon dioxide. This reacts with the water to form carbonic acid.

 

Food from the ocean provides the majority of protein for over a billion people globally. Fish and shellfish in our waters therefore provide jobs and contribute to global food sources.  

 

Lets keep them as safe as we can. It’s too important to risk.

 

As part of our Nationwide Waste services we offer advice on implementing sustainable liquid waste disposal processes. Ensuring wastewater and various microplastics don’t enter our oceans and waterways is critical to the health of the community, ecosystems and planet.

5 STEPS TO REDUCE CARBON AND OCEAN ACIDIFICATION   

Whilst it can seem an insurmountable task to tackle, our mission is to work in partnership with our clients across Australia to to reduce the environmental impact of carbon. Of course there’s many ways we can reduce carbon, below are 5 examples of where we can all start:

  • Reduce Your Carbon Footprint 
  • Less Driving: Vehicles release a lot of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide. Use public transportation, bike, walk, or carpool whenever you can.

 

  • Water Conservation: As surprising as it may seem, the methods used to get water into your house release greenhouse gases. Water should be used carefully and sensibly; and avoid wasting excessive amounts of it. Greywater tanks are an excellent resource for watering gardens and plants at work or at home. 

 

  • Purchase Sustainably Manufactured Goods: It’s a good idea to learn about a company’s practices before making any purchases. Some businesses are dedicated to lowering their carbon emissions, while others release significant volumes of greenhouse gases while making little attempt to become more efficient.

 

  • Buy Less, Reuse, Recycle & Repurpose More: Purchasing fewer goods will help cut down on emissions because the production and sale of consumer goods can be very carbon intensive. Cardboard recycling companies, like the Nationwide team, are experts in bulk cardboard waste and we’re also the timber pallet collection company you need for managing timber waste materials.  


  • Use Natural Plant Based Alternatives
  • Ocean acidification and chemical pollution are caused by toxic chemicals from pesticides and fertilisers finding their way into the ocean because all surface water eventually flows into the ocean.

 

  • Use organic pesticides, weed killers, and fertilisers on your garden instead of letting runoff carry such chemicals into the ocean. For instance, instead of utilising harmful sprays like RoundUp, think about a vinegar-based weed killer. This is not only less expensive, but it’s also better for the environment!

 

  • Purchasing organic food can help promote growing methods devoid of pesticides. 

 

Dispose of Waste Responsibly 

  • Partnering with a responsible waste management company is critical in managing complex waste issues. At Nationwide we can assist in reviewing and auditing your current waste practices and provide recommendations for services to meet the highest standards of safety and sustainability.

 

  • Managing industrial runoff, wastewater, chemical waste and fats, oils, grease (FOGs) will reduce our impact on ocean acidification. Medical waste collection and grease trap cleaners provide excellent methods of responsibly managing this type of waste.    


  • Support Organisations Fighting Ocean Acidification 

 

  • Numerous organisations are making significant contributions to the fight against ocean acidification. They are always seeking volunteers and monetary donations but most of all – they are fighting for the future of the planet and that’s a great cause to support! 

 

  • The Australian Institute of Marine Science is one organisation that focuses on studying the effects of ocean acidification. In order to avoid ocean acidification, research and knowledge-gathering are crucial because they provide us with the knowledge we need to determine where to focus and how to proceed. 

 

  • Our team is at the forefront – continually researching, reviewing and educating our clients on innovative new processes in waste management based on this type of research. 

Raise Awareness Of Ocean Acidification 

  • Whether you are educating your children, employees, contacting your local Council or constituent, everyone needs to be aware of the impact that carbon emissions and ocean acidification are having on our environment.

 

  • Being committed to sustainable waste management practices and taking ownership of our environmental responsibility will create positive change. Be part of the solution, not the problem and let’s reshape how we all interact with the environment.  

 

Having worked across almost every industry vertical we also understand the challenges and complexities of commercial waste management, whether that’s industrial waste management, bulk waste removal, secure document destruction services or other general waste services.  

 

WHERE DO CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS COME FROM IN AUSTRALIA?    

Australia contributes a little over 1% toward global emissions, ranking as the 14th greatest emitter in the world. The primary source of Australia’s carbon emissions is energy generation and transportation, farming, and industrial operations follow. 

 

Specifically we can categorise as below:

  • Energy (burning fossil fuels to produce electricity) contributed 32.6% of the total emissions
  • Stationary energy (manufacturing, mining, residential and commercial fuel use) 22.3%
  • Transport 21.1%
  • Agriculture 17.7%
  • Fugitive emissions 10.2%
  • Industrial processes 7%
  • Waste 2.9%

 

REDUCING OUR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT TOGETHER

Imagine a world where waste was not a contributing factor to CO2 emissions. Even at 2.9% we know that reducing emissions from waste would greatly reduce our carbon footprint and improve the health of our planet. 

 

Through our network of Nationwide specialists we can help you transform your waste management practices with a tailored solution that will drive meaningful change. 

 

Our reliability of service, risk mitigation and flexibility means that we can work with you to find a tailored and successful outcome that’s in line with your emission targets and overall business strategy. 

Contact our team today, and let’s create a better, healthier planet together!

 

Other services that Nationwide Waste Solutions Provides includes:

Waste Management Melbourne

Waste Management Sydney

Waste Management Brisbane

Liquid Waste Service Melbourne

Liquid Waste Service Sydney

Liquid Waste Service Brisbane

Commercial Pest Management

Plastic Baler Hire

Shrink Wrap Recycling

Recycling Service

Sanitary bins

Timber waste disposal