From reducing your car mileage to cutting down on meat, here are 8 ways to reduce your carbon footprint this year. Start 2018 the green way and keep your CO2 emissions at bay!
1 Air travel is by far the biggest contributor to the carbon footprint. According to The Guardian, a single return flight from London to New York contributes to almost a quarter of the average person’s annual emissions. Whenever possible, try to hop on a train instead of taking a flight, it may take slightly longer to get there but you will be making a difference to your carbon foot-print.
2 The second largest lifestyle change one can make is to eat less meat, especially red meats such as beef and lamb. The meat industry, with all its carbon emissions during the production process as well as the land and water needed to sustain the industry, is a significant contributor to global warming. By cutting down on the amount of red meat that you eat not only will you be contributing to a greener future, but you will also have a healthier diet. For those of you who are moving towards a vegan diet, living on a plant based diet can make as much as a 20% difference to your overall carbon emissions.
3 Home heating is perhaps the third largest contributor. Poorly insulated houses require a large amount of energy to keep warm. The best thing you can do is find ways to insulate your house properly and only turn on the heating system when it is absolutely necessary. The Carbon Fund has stated that by reducing your heating system down 1 degree centigrade, you can reduce your energy consumption by 8%!
4 Reduce your car mileage. The distance that you drive matters! According to The Guardian, “15,000 to 10,000 miles a year will save more than a tonne of CO2, about 15% of the average person’s footprint”. Perhaps consider the following – carpooling whenever possible, and, if you do not travel great distances often, perhaps consider exchanging your car for a bicycle!
5 Consume less. This is probably the easiest way to reduce your emissions. People often buy variations of items that they already own so it is important to ask yourself before you go out to buy something whether you actually need this item, or whether you simply want it. One great way to consume less is to build a capsule wardrobe made up of a few essential items that do not go out of fashion. Another way is to spend more money on one high quality sustainable piece rather than on five less durable fast fashion finds. Finally, consider the fact that ordering for home delivery also means more carbon emissions. Ask yourself if a visit to a local shop or market would have been more climate-friendly.
Here are some other no cost ways from the Carbon Fund to save energy and reduce your CO2 emissions:
6 Only fill up your kettle with the amount of water that you need to boil. By only boiling the amount of water you need for you hot drink will save 72kg CO2 a year – that’s £23 (USD 30) per annum.
7 Spend less time in the shower. Spending 1 minute less in the shower can save 23kg CO2 and £8 (USD 10) a year (based on one 9kW shower per day). So work out that better washing routine! Check with your water provider whether they send out some water saving freebies (you can order Thames Water freebies from here) such as a shower timer, which is a great way to save water! Try to aim for maximum 4 minute showers.
8 Turn electrical equipment off when not in use. Not only is it a safety hazard to have them on but it is also a waste of energy. Fully turning off just one LCD TV (rather than leaving it on standby) for 18 hours a day will save about 5kg CO2 a year – saving £2 a year (USD2.64). Turn off all other electrical equipment when not in use to multiply the savings.
Photo taken in Santorini, June 2017.