Updated: Sep 29, 2022
Our carbon footprint is essentially a measure of the greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere through our production and consumption actions and choices which is used to measure the effects of human-induced climate change that’s happening globally.
Why is you carbon footprint important?
Human activity over the past 200 years has undoubtedly affected the global climate. Average temperatures and sea levels are rising and extreme weather is becoming more common around the world. This threatens the natural habitats and living environments of all species and humans living in the areas affected putting pressure on natural resources and creating unpredictability for all.
Top 5 Things to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Industry and production in these areas are undoubtedly the biggest polluters of greenhouse gases but by doing what we can as individuals we can all help reduce global warming and live in a cleaner and healthier environment of our own making. We’ll look at how you can reduce your carbon footprint through the choices and actions you make:
Around the Home
Reduce Reuse Recycle
Through lifestyle choices and services
Around the Home
Choices we make daily both small and large around our homes have some of our greatest impacts at an individual level.
Around 20% of all direct CO2 emissions in the EU come from households. Three-quarters of the energy used by homes is for heating and cooling so it makes sense to target these areas first.
Choosing a green energy supplier can have a huge effect on your carbon footprint. By heating and powering your home with renewables rather than fossil-fuelled energy you are preventing the release of thousands of tonnes of CO2.
Don’t overheat water or the house, reducing the temperature on the thermostat by 1C can save 300kgs of carbon dioxide emissions per year and 10% off your energy bill (aim for 18C if possible for best effect).
Insulate your home as best you can. It could be as simple as reducing drafts with a draft excluder or seal/brush around your doors and windows and ensuring you cover windows with curtains.
If your budget allows, loft or cavity insulation or even wall paint that reduces your heat loss can all bring returns over their lifetime and you’ll be warmer for less money.
Ensure your appliances are energy efficient where possible. Washing machines, Dishwashers, cooking appliances and even lightbulbs all have energy-efficient options to save you money.
Ensure you run appliances with a full load too and wash at a lower temperature so less energy is needed to heat. This not only saves energy but money in your pocket too!
Look at other ways you could save energy around the house. Lots of energy provider sites and charities have lots of tips.
Reduce Reuse Recycle
Everything we buy or consume has a carbon footprint so our everyday choices really do help.
Avoid single-use plastic and use reusable cups, bottles, etc where possible when out and about is an easy one in our daily lives. Recycling one aluminium can saves 90% of the energy needed to produce a new one and recycling 1kg of paper instead of sending it to landfill avoids almost 1kg of CO2 ad methane emissions! Small daily choices can all make a difference! Reducing the amount of waste you produce can be done in several ways:
Reduce single-use items you buy
Avoid fast fashion
Buy pre-used where appropriate
Keep technological equipment for longer rather than buying the latest model when it comes out
Recycling as much waste as possible (technology, consumables, textiles, food) can all help prevent the release of methane and other greenhouse gases.
Change your diet
Changing to a plant-based and locally produced diet where possible is not only healthier for the planet but healthier for us.
Reducing animal products, especially meat can have a significant impact on the environment, accounting for 14% of greenhouse gases. Beef and lamb are particularly polluting due to the land and additional resources needed to produce them in addition to methane emissions from the animals themselves!
Shipping food also adds to its carbon footprint, particularly when sent from overseas. Being mindful of where your food comes from also prevents problems with deforestation for grazing or the production of palm oil which has decimated many rainforest environments globally.
Reducing food waste can be a big help too. food going to landfill releases methane, more powerful than CO2 and accounts for 6% of greenhouse emissions.
Meal planning, getting creative with leftovers and recycling food via your local council food collection scheme or composting are all positive steps to take.
Cycling and walking are undoubtedly the kindest modes of transport for the environment. Not only are you avoiding the use of oil-based travel, but you’re helping to keep your fitness up.
Electric vehicles are better for the air in terms of pollution but lots of greenhouse gases are used in their production and decomission and replacement batteries are needed throughout the lifecycle of the car which need to be carefully disposed of. If you do need to travel further afield using public transport where possible is a big help.
Similarly avoid flying where possible or if you do need to fly, fly direct so you don’t have the additional fuel required to land and take off.
Consumer choices we make in all areas of life can affect our carbon footprint so giving green/ethical companies and industries our money helps.
Look for companies with a net-zero policy or taking real steps towards that. Some companies offset their carbon production so check the offsetting is traceable ad ethical such as those using schemes such as Ecologi.
It’s not just consumable choices that make a difference, banking/investments/pension funds and services all carry a carbon footprint so try to support ones making a difference in the world and be aware of the impact they are making.
We can all do something to reduce our carbon footprint and it more important than ever that we’re aware of the positive change we can make.
Compounding several of the steps above will not only help the planet but also help you live a healthier lifestyle as well as save you money in many cases!
Come along to Bexley Eco Festival on Saturday 25th June to find out more about how you can help and how easy it can be. We look forward to seeing you there!