Carbon Neutral Wedding Photographer | Andy Saywell

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carbon neutral wedding photographer - Andy Saywell - planting trees and offsetting my environmental impact


CARBON NEUTRAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER


I’m in no way an environmentalist, you will never find me super glueing myself to the M25 in rush hour demanding that we have some more insulation in our houses, I won’t be chaining myself to the railings outside a power station, but, I do understand the need to make changes in our lives which might make a difference.

Bill Gates – you know the guys who has planted 5G into the COVID 19 Vaccines…. wrote a book called “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” in which he details lots of big and complicated numbers, lots of ideas of what needs to be done and how it can be done, but the big number which stood out to me was this

“50- 55 BILLION TONS OF GREENHOUSE GASSES ARE ADDED TO THE ATMOSPHERE EACH YEAR”

Bill further breaks this down into 5 main categories and their percentage of the 50-55 billion tons of greenhouse gasses

Making things 31% – cement, steel and plastic.
Electricity 27%
Growing things 19% – plants and animals
Transportation 16% – planes, trains, trucks and ships
Temperature Regulation 7% – heating, cooling and refrigeration.

The stat that really jumps out at me is Transport – just 16% and of that, it is suggested that only half of that relates to personal transport; mainly cars.

Right now every car manufacturer is pushing electric cars, every advert on the TV is of some good looking boy or girl driving an electric car and the advert telling us that this is the future – personally, I don’t think electric cars are the answer, some electric cars arrive on the forecourt with between 15k – 80k miles worth of carbon attached to them vs a normal internal combustion-engined car.

Below is an extract from a Volvo funded study into the carbon used in the manufacture of an electric car and a ICE car.

You can see that the electric car uses far more Co2 in the production of the vehicle vs. the ICE car. The study also shows the CO2 emissions over the lifespan of both vehicles (this is where the electric car makes it gains) and finally the estimated number of miles needed in both vehicles for the CO2 breakeven, where at that stage the electric car starts to become more carbon-efficient than an ICE car.

Volvo estimates that you need to drive your electric car for around 48k miles for it to start to become carbon equal against a similar ICE car. For most people who buy an electric car that would mean keeping the electric car for at least 5 years.

carbon neutral wedding photographer - Andy Saywell - cost of electric cars vs ICE cars
The above chart shows nearly 50k miles needs to be driven in an electric car to become carbon equal

 

The key to electric cars is renewable energy (not using traditional power stations) and right now there is not enough electricity being generated by renewable sources.

The numbers above are massive, and you can see that it’s going to take a lot to change the course of climate change, I do believe that the future gains that we will make in the fight to change the course of climate change will come from individual people, the entrepreneurs who will find a way of reducing our GHG because there will be money to be made.


 

THE STEPS I HAVE TAKEN TO REDUCE MY ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT

So why this blog post, well, weddings have a lot of waste, they have a lot of plastics which are single-use, balloons, straws, plates, toys for kids to play with, plastic flowers – the list goes on and that’s before you think about all the suppliers and the supplies that they use to create beautiful things for your wedding.

For me, I use a lot of energy, laptops, servers, online hosting for the website, gallery hosting, online backups, software for editing like Adobe Lightroom, lights for zoom calls, heating for when I’m editing, big monitors, power-hungry cameras (I go through around 10 batteries per wedding), album delivery/production costs and car travel to name just a few.

Early in 2020, I started to look into ways that I could be better at what I was using for weddings.

 

For each and every wedding I am fortunate enough to photograph, I will continue to plant trees and continue to invest in projects that can and will make a small difference Andy Saywell

 

It’s been difficult to come up with ways that I could reduce my impact on the environment from running a wedding photography business, but I have made changes from using products that will last years and not cheap stuff which will need to be replaced every year, online meetings rather than in-person meeting to save on travel costs, better hosting for my wedding galleries and getting all my Amazon deliveries (and there are a lot) all delivered on a single day.

All these were ways of reducing my impact, but I felt there might be more that I could do.

I stumbled upon Ecologi, an organisation that allows people to plant trees and invest in carbon offsetting projects.


carbon neutral wedding photography - Wedding Photo Forest Andy Saywell

 

carbon neutral wedding photography - Projects Supported- Andy Saywell


To see the SaywellHQ Ecologi Profile and my small “Wedding Photo Forest” please hit this link – https://ecologi.com/saywellhq

If you wanted to get involved and wanted to sign up and plant some trees, please sign up using this referral code – https://ecologi.com/saywellhq?r=618ec356bf85cbdce8bb8ed6

 


 

IDEAS TO REDUCE THE CARBON FOOTPRINT OF A WEDDING

There is so much waste at weddings, from plastic flowers, bunting, plastic toys for kids to play with during the food, plastic straws for all the cocktails ordered at the bar, non-bio-degradable confetti, plastic cutlery for eating the cake, plastic seating plans and plastic table decorations to name a few.

Now, as I mentioned at the start of this blog post, I’m in no way an environmentalist, I live in a four-bed detached house with air-con installed, I own a car just to get me to and from weddings, please do not think I am preaching and people who are planning weddings must stick to the following list, these are just a few ideas.

So thinking out loud as I write this:

The Time Of Year – A summer wedding would save on heating the venue, lights wouldn’t need to be on as we have good light in the summer well into the late evening.

Transport – If you are having a wedding ceremony in one location and then a wedding reception in another, maybe provide a funky bus to take everyone from one location to the other, rather than everyone travelling in separate cars.

Food Miles – If you are paying for catering that’s not being done by the venue, maybe look for a caterer which uses locally sourced food. The fewer miles the food has to travel to get on the plates, the better. Also think about the seasons and pick food which is from the season you are getting married in, this is more likely to lead to UK sourced food rather than imported food.

Wedding Invites – Look for recycled card, paper invites or go for something different and use Wildflower Favours whose wedding invites encase wildflower seeds, simply place the seeded paper into a growing pot and see the wedding invite turn into wildflowers (see here).

Rent Things – Anything single-use can’t be good, look to rent or hire the table decorations (runners, table cloths etc., use linen napkins instead of paper ones, you can even ask the venue to swap out the plastic straws for paper ones (not 100% eco friendly but soooo much better than plastic ones)

Confetti – I think most couples are on board with this one already, but swap out the plastic or paper confetti for biodegradable stuff, flower petals are a great alternative and add amazing colour to the confetti run. But also make sure that the confetti is not handed out in plastic bloody bags!

Wedding Dress – Don’t buy from China…. Buy local, buy handmade and UK. Check out the girls at The Bridal SuiteYou could even go second hand as Ruby did at her wedding https://saywellhq.co.uk/blog/wollaton-wedding-photography

Makeup – Choose a MuA who uses organic and natural make-up products, someone like my mate Sali Jones over at Ms Moo Make Up. Sali uses kit which is cruelty-free and vegan, she recycles her empties with Boots, donates to tree nation and uses synthetic brushes rather than natural or animal-based brushes. 

Honeymoon – the controversial one… maybe have a staycation and enjoy your honeymoon in the UK? or book using a travel agent who donates a portion of their fees to local and good causes. Yes, yes I know this one is a tough sell!

So, there we go a few ideas for making a wedding slightly more environmentally friendly, some of these will be a stretch and quite extreme, but some of these are simple to implement.

If you have any more ideas, drop me an email and let me know!

Andy


Sources

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/14/bill-gates-concepts-to-understand-the-climate-crisis.html

https://www.gatesnotes.com/energy/my-plan-for-fighting-climate-change

https://cardealermagazine.co.uk/publish/electric-cars-need-to-be-driven-50000-miles-to-match-carbon-footprint-of-a-petrol-car-research-claims/209636