10 Ways to Reduce your Carbon Footprint

Thursday, 1st November 2018

Guest blog by Louise Walker, DWF

Climate change is one of the biggest issues affecting the world today. We believe that by making small changes to your lifestyle each and every one of us can contribute to the fight to combat climate change.

Here are 10 small changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint:

1) Reduce your meat consumption.

The meat industry is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all of the world’s transportation systems combined. It takes 5,000 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef! Studies have shown that vegetarians have roughly half the food-related carbon footprint to meat eaters. In order to help the environment you don’t have to cut out meat altogether but by eating meat less frequently such as taking part in initiatives such as “meatless Monday” you will significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

2) Switch from the tumble dryer to line-drying your clothes.

A tumble dryer uses 5 times more electricity than a washing machine. In switching to line drying your clothes, or hanging your clothes on a clothes airer to dry naturally, you can save 1/3 of your carbon footprint.

3) Unplug your devices.

All electronics when plugged in use energy, even if they are switched off! By simply unplugging devices which are you are not using you can reduce your carbon footprint. Commonly known as “phantom energy”, the energy wasted when electronics are not in use can account for 10% of an individual home’s electricity use. Not only will this lower your energy bills but it could reduce 1% of carbon dioxide emissions.

4) Invest in non-disposable goods.

A lot of everyday waste can be avoided, by investing in non-disposable goods such as reusable shopping bags, food storage containers, straws and coffee cups, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. The carbon footprint of plastic is about 6 kg CO2 per kg of plastic, by using non-disposable goods, you can help cut down the amount of unnecessary plastic produced and wasted.

5) Make sure all your light bulbs in your home are either LED or energy saving lightbulbs.

A very easy way to help reduce your carbon footprint it to check all the light bulbs in your home are energy saving. One bulb can reduce up to 1,300 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution during its lifetime.

6) Drive less

Instead of driving why not walk, ride a bike or use public transport? This will result in fewer cars on the road and therefore less vehicular emissions. On average a reduction in mileage of 15,000 to 10,000 miles a year will save more than one tonne of CO2 which is 15% of a person’s average carbon footprint.

7) Recycle

Recycling utilises waste in a constructive way. While sometimes sorting through your waste in order to recycle can seem a lot of effort, it will hugely benefit the environment. A recycling rate of 30% is almost the equivalent of removing 30 million cars from the roads.

8) Insulate your home

Houses with poor insulation require more energy to heat. Not only does this increase your energy bill but it considerably increases your carbon footprint. Although initially improving insulation in your home will require investment, in the long run, it will both save money and benefit the environment.

9) Buy local food

In buying foods which are both in season and grown locally you will reduce the emission of vehicles used to transport food from country to country. On average food travels 1,500 miles from where it is sourced to the supermarket.

10) Plant a garden

Plants absorb carbon dioxide so by planting some bee-friendly flowers or a tree, you can reduce your carbon footprint. For those in urban areas who may not have a garden, creating a garden on your balcony can be a great alternative. Tree planting could remove around 1.1–1.6 GT of CO2 from the atmosphere each year.