Other Ways to Reduce your Carbon Footprint

Most people will have heard of the term 'Carbon Footprint'. But what is it and why is it important to reduce yours?

So simply put, a carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide that you produce whilst going about your daily life. Most of the time, most people won't realise how much carbon dioxide they're producing. But every time you drive a petrol or diesel car, it is producing literally tons of it. Every time you pop your gas or other fossil fuel boiler on to heat your house, every time you cook something or even throw something in the bin, you are producing carbon dioxide and leaving a carbon footprint. It may not seem like a lot for an individual person, but times that by the billions of people worldwide, and that's where the problem lays. 

Lots of people say things like 'well it won't make a difference to the world by me doing this one thing', but if every single person worldwide did just a few more considerate things to reduce their carbon footprint, it could have an exponentially positive effect on the planet. 

There are so many ways in which everybody can reduce their own personal carbon footprint, and some of them really aren't that hard or even costly. Every little effort really does count in the fight to save our planet. 

1. Transport and Travel

A huge contributor to most peoples carbon footprint is the way they travel and their choice of transport. Most forms of transport use petrol or diesel such as cars, motorbikes, planes, trains and busses which of course, creates tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The most efficient ways to travel would of course be walking or bicycling where possible. And if you do need to use a vehicle to travel, you can trade-in your fuel car for an eco-friendly electric vehicle or use public transport. Although most public transport uses some form of fuel, the vehicles themselves carry many more people so their air pollution levels are less. 

2. Clothing

Shockingly, the fashion industry is the second-largest industrial polluter globally and is accountable for 10% of the planet's pollution, releasing a total of 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere every year. This ranks higher than emissions created by the aviation industry. 

Buying second-hand clothes is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint as you're extending the lifecycle of each item of clothing. Sites such as Vinted, eBay and Depop are becoming increasingly popular for people looking to sell their unwanted clothes. Choosing natural materials such as linen and organic cotton when buying new clothes will help extend their life and lessen your carbon footprint. 

3. Reduce your Homes Heat Loss

Heating your home can be a very energy-intensive and expensive process, but of course, is necessary to keep your house warm. Many homes lose heat because they're not adequately insulated and draught proofed, which in turn, means your heating system is working harder to keep your home at a comfortable, constant temperature and therefore increasing your homes carbon emissions. 

Ensuring your home has adequate cavity or solid wall insulation, roof and loft insulation, having double or triple glazed windows and draught-proofing your windows and any open chimneys will help to drastically lower your heating bill and your home's CO2 emissions. 

4. Recycling

Improper waste disposal has a huge impact on the environment. In the UK, much of our waste is buried in landfill sites where some waste will eventually rot, but most does not. The amount of methane gas that is generated from landfills contributes heavily to the greenhouse effect and resulting pollution. Incinerating waste causes many of the same issues because plastics produce toxic substances when burnt, such as dioxins. 

Opting for food that has reduced packaging or even none at all is a great start to reducing your CO2 emissions. Try to eliminate single-use plastic throughout your house and instead use glass bottles or containers. Refer to your local councils' recycling policies so you're up to date on what you can recycle and where. Lots of general waste can be organised for recycling at home for weekly waste collections such as paper, cardboard, plastics and tins. Also, don't forget to donate things such as clothes, household items and electricals that are in good condition to charity or sell them on to be re-loved, this will drastically reduce your carbon footprint.

5. Food

The production, transportation and rotting of food all cause greenhouse gasses to be released into the atmosphere. Here in the UK, we waste more than 20 million slices of bread, 280 tonnes of poultry, 4.4 million potatoes every single day. Around a third of all the world's food goes to waste which contributes around 8-10% of global greenhouse gasses. 

Opting to eat locally sourced foods is a great start to reducing your carbon footprint. Although local farmers still need to use machinery and energy in order to farm, there are no heavy transportation needs and it is bought and consumed much quicker than foods brought from overseas. You can opt to grow your own fruit and veg which eliminates the need for heavy machinery to farm crops and shipping to stores. Eating fewer animal products or choosing a plant-based diet are other ways you can make a big difference, this could reduce your carbon footprint by up to 50%! Put your food scraps into a composter rather than with unrecyclable waste or use them for lunch the following day. 

6. Renewables & Low Carbon Alternatives

40% of all UK carbon emissions come from household energy waste. We are slowly heading in the right direction, the average UK home's carbon footprint has reduced by 4.7 tonnes of CO2 since 1990. But in order to stay on track for the UK-wide reduction of carbon emissions of 80% by 2050, we must stay focussed on reducing our carbon emissions to tackle climate change.

Make the switch from a gas or oil boiler to an Air Source Heat Pump and not only will you see a reduction in your energy bills, but you would also be saving the planet from up to 3.2 tonnes of CO2 a year. You could also power your heat pump with renewable energy by having solar PV panels installed, our team can quote and install both systems. And to make sure none of the energy you generate through solar PV panels is wasted, you can have a battery storage system installed which means you will never waste any of the energy you have generated.

Everybody should care more about our planet and take steps towards reducing their carbon footprint. Our planet's future literally depends on it, the power is in our hands. No matter how small the change you make in your lifestyle, it contributes to the bigger picture in mitigating the effects of global warming and climate change. Cutting carbon emissions will help us to have cleaner water, air and food for generations to come. 

Be impactful, be renewable.