Despite the fact that reducing our global carbon emissions is vital for our future, it is often seen as a chore; something that will take a lot of time and effort. However, the reality could not be further from the truth. Little actions in your day-to-day routine will have a significant impact on your carbon footprint, and will cost you virtually no extra time or money. Read on for our tips on reducing your carbon footprint at home.
1. Use reusable plastic bags
Since the government introduced the 5p charge on plastic bags at major retailers, their use has gone down by 80%. Scottish retailers saw the use of bags fall by 650 million in a year, equating to a reduction of 4,000 tonnes of plastic and 2,500 tonnes of CO2 produced each year. Consider this next time you go shopping, and take some reusable bags with you. (source)
2. Don’t drive to work – Use public transport or cycle
According to a study investigating the impact of cycling on the environment, Europe could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by over 25% if every population cycled with the regularity of the Danish population. Consider cycling, or at least using public transport, to get to work. You’ll feel better for it, and so will your wallet! (source)
3. Buy food with less packaging
We’ve entered an era where a lot of foods come pre-packaged. However, several supermarkets offer unpacked variants of the same produce. Keep an eye out for these and add them to your shopping basket without wrapping them in plastic. They’ll be fine.
4. Buy quality items
Buying quality items can lead to a significant reduction in your emissions and use of oil. The apparel industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions, second only to oil as the largest polluter. Buy garments that will last longer to significantly reduce your environmental impact. It will probably be cheaper, too. (source)
5. Insulate your home properly
Home insulation has a high upfront cost, but can save a lot of money in the long run. Lowering your heating bill will lower the amount of energy you use to heat your home, too. This will mean less fossil fuels will be burnt to keep you warm.
6. Eat less meat
The FAO recently estimated that livestock accounts for around 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions, and significant uses in water and land use. Rearing of animals also has significant impacts on biodiversity, so cutting consumption can help the environment all around. (source)
7. Switch to smart lighting
Switching to smart lighting comes in a few steps, each saving you lots of money in the long run, too. Start by buying LED lightbulbs, as they use 90% less energy than incandescent ones, and show similar savings in financial terms (source). After that, you can use motion sensors to reduce energy consumption by a further 30% (source).
8. Compost and recycle
Composting and recycling is becoming increasingly commonplace and easier as councils offer the facilities to do so. By recycling, you stop waste from being burnt and going to landfill, as well as allowing new products to be made, saving emissions throughout.
9. Cook smart
If you’re at home and cooking with the oven, open it once you’ve finished! This will fill your home with a few extra degrees of heat that would otherwise be wasted. Plus, if you’ve cooked something nice, your home will smell nice!
10. Carry a reusable bottle
It’s estimated that 580,000 tonnes of plastic bottles were used in the UK, of which around 52% were collected for recycling. Given that a kilogram of plastic has a carbon footprint of 6kg of carbon, using a reusable bottle can save you money, and can save the world a lot of carbon.