How can you reduce your Carbon Footprint?
Below are some free and easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint:
- Changing your diet, even just a little, can have one of the biggest reductions in your carbon emissions and general impact on the planet.
If you eat meat regularly you don’t have to give it all up and become vegan either!
Reducing meat and dairy intake has a massive effect. Even just replacing meat once a week with a vegetarian option really helps.
It’s worth taking a look at this article on the BBC site to see what foods have the biggest impact on the planet …
- Avoid food waste. A huge amount of energy and water goes into growing the food we buy. Wasting it also emits methane as the food rots.
Methane is around 25 times worse than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
- Reduce / Reuse / Recycle in all walks of life benefits the environment.
- Buy products made from recycled materials
For example, less energy and water is used to create recycled paper than new paper from trees.
- Avoid single use plastic and unnecessary packaging where possible.
There are plenty of shops that sell unpackaged products like pasta, flour, etc. where you can bring your own container and refill it.
https://www.beunpackaged.com and Planet Organic is a pioneer in reducing food packaging waste.
Shops like https://naturalweigh.co.uk offer a mail order service where they can send many products in paper or natural cellophane packaging rather than plastic.
- Clothing / fashion has a tremendous impact on climate change and the environment.
Reducing the amount of new clothes we buy and buying items with a longer life is far better than clothes we buy once then leave in the wardrobe and eventually throw away. Repairing old clothes and avoiding a disposable attitude to fashion is far more sustainable.
- Buying refurbished or older model phones / laptops / tablets can save money and reduce the amount of raw materials needed to make newer products.
Many high spec laptops that are 1 – 2 years old are better, and cheaper, second hand than brand new entry level laptops.
Tier 1 Online fully refurbishes laptops from corporates after a couple of years, once their lease period is over. They then sell them fully guaranteed to the public.
- Travel – walk / take public transport / cycle wherever possible.
If you need to buy a new car, switch to a fully electric car – they’re cheaper over their lifetime than a petrol / diesel car.
Their batteries can be fully recycled / re-used when they come to the end of their life – which is often longer than the car itself will last. You can’t recycle petrol / diesel once you’ve burnt it.
Use alternatives to flying wherever possible – trains from the UK to some mainland Europe cities can often be quicker door to door than flying.
When booking taxis, choose companies that have fully electric vehicles. They’ll reduce tailpipe pollution in towns and our reliance on oil.
- Reducing energy use at home and at work by turning off electrical items that don’t need to be on 24 hours a day.
- Change your energy supplier to one with a renewable energy supply. Many tariffs won’t cost more and you’ll be helping increase the amount of energy generated from renewable resources like wind and solar.
The UK generates about 40% of its electricity from renewable resources on average and this is increasing all the time.
In 2020 there were long periods where the UK wasn’t burning any fossil fuels at all to create our electricity, with wind power making nearly 60% of our electricity.
- Hot water and heating is one of our biggest emitters of carbon – especially if you use a gas or oil fired boiler.
Switching to an electric boiler or air / ground source heat pump can significantly reduce your carbon emissions and save money in the long term.
Insulating your property better can have huge savings in carbon emissions and on your heating bill.
- Only use the heat and light appliances you really need – don’t leave TVs or videos on standby. Also switch off your PC screen and printer when they’re not being used! This can save you hundreds of kilos of CO2 per year.
- Try turning your heating thermostat down by 1 or 2 degrees. You will probably hardly notice the difference and it will save about £10 a year. Keeping furniture away from radiators can also help – the foam in an upholstered chair is a very effective heat insulator!
You’ll find this can save you several hundred kilos of CO2 per year.
- When cooking, choose the right pan size for the food and the cooker, cut food into smaller pieces and put lids on pans as the food will then cook a lot quicker. If you are defrosting food, or just warming things up, then microwave ovens are ideal as they use much less electricity than conventional ovens.
- Regularly defrost your freezer and try to keep it packed full, even if this is with scrunched up paper to avoid wasting energy. You should also check the seals on your fridge/freezer to ensure no warm air is getting in – the seals should be tight enough to hold a piece of paper securely when closed.
- Try to have full loads when using the washing machine and use the lower 40°C wash. With today’s washing powders this temperature is more than adequate to clean clothes and will save you up to three quarters of the cost of the hottest cycle.
- On some washing machines, only cold water is used to fill the machine when it is set to a low temperature, which means that there is no need to heat up the central heating boiler: look at your washing machine instruction manual to see if this applies.
You also don’t need to have your domestic water heated to a scalding temperature either, for most people setting the thermostat to 60°C/140°F is quite adequate. Washing your clothes in cold water or warm water can save 200kg of CO2 per year)
- The sun is the most readily available source of heat there is – and the cheapest! So make the most of it by opening internal doors of any rooms which get more sun than others and let the warm air travel through your home.
Avoid using tumble driers and radiators to dry your clothes; on nice sunny days clothes can be dried outside
- Change a light – replacing 1 regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent (energy saving) bulb saves around (60kg) of carbon a year as well as saving around £10 per year on your electricity bill. If you were to change all the bulbs in your home for low energy bulbs you’ll be surprised how much you’ll save on you bill.
- Drive less – save one pound (0.5kg) of carbon for every mile you DON’T drive
- Check your tyres – keeping you car tyres inflated to the correct pressure can improve your MPG by up to 3%. Every gallon of petrol saved keeps around 9 kg of CO2 out of the atmosphere.
- Recycle more – You can save 1 Tonne of carbon by recycling just HALF of your household waste per year.
- Use less hot water less – it takes a lot of energy to heat water. use less hot water by installing a low-flow shower head. (150kg CO2 saved per year)
- Avoid products with a lot of packaging – you can save 500kg CO2 per year if you cut your rubbish by 10%
- Jon Richardson and the Futurenauts is a brilliant (but quite rude!) podcast hosted by comedian Jon Richardson and futurologists Ed Gillespie and Mark Stevenson. They pick a topic each week and discuss what impact that has on the planet and how to fix it.
- Fully Charged is the world’s number 1 clean energy & electric vehicle channel on YouTube.
Founded and hosted by Robert Llewellyn (Red Dwarf, Scrapheap Challenge, Carpool) it’s only about electric cars, bikes, boats and planes but how we generate and even own the electricity to power these machines.
From looking behind the myths of renewable energy, to seeking the truth about conventional generation Robert Llewellyn demonstrates what the future could have in store for us all.
- Costing The Earth is a BBC Radio programme / podcast all about the environment and ways to help protect it.
- 39 Ways To Save The Planet is a BBC Radio programme about innovative ways to save the planet.
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