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How to reduce your carbon footprint

There are many ways to reduce your personal carbon footprint and save energy, including insulating your home, putting up solar panels or planting trees – but there are simpler ways too. We have put together a starter-list below that require little effort in your day to day life or financial investment.

Transport

This seems obvious but making changes to how you get around can make a significant reduction in your carbon footprint.

Drive Less – car share, use public transport or bike where possible – this not only reduces CO2 emissions, it also reduces traffic congestion and the idling of engines that accompanies it;

If you do drive, brake less – studies show aggressive driving can increase fuel consumption by 40%;

If you’re shopping for a new car, consider purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle – but remember to factor in the greenhouse gas emissions from the production of the car as well as its operation.

Avoid flying where possible, but if you must, fly non-stop to reduce emissions and go economy as emissions are shared.

If you can’t avoid flying, offset the carbon emissions of your travel.

Food

Eat low on the food chain. This means eating mostly fruits, veggies, grains, and beans. Shockingly, livestock (meat and dairy) are accountable for 14.5 percent of manmade global greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from feed production and processing and the methane (25 times more potent than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere over 100 years) that sheep and cows ‘belch’ out. Every day that you forgo meat and dairy, you can reduce your carbon footprint by 8 pounds – equating to 2,920 pounds a year;

Choosing organic or local food in season reduces the need for further fossil fuels in transportation and storage;

Planning and buying food in bulk (and using recyclable containers) reduces waste and utilises leftovers;

You can then compost your food where possible.

Clothing

DO NOT buy fast fashion. Studies estimate that 2.1 tonnes of new clothing are bought every minute in the UK, and that each tonnes produces 23.3 tonnes of carbon emissions. These emissions are equivalent to driving a car 162,000 miles, or 6.5 times around the world;

Even better, buy recycled or vintage clothes;

Wash your clothes in cold water – Doing two loads of laundry weekly in cold water instead of hot or warm water can save up to 500 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

Home

Switch lights off when you leave the room and unplug your electronic devices when they are not in use;

Change incandescent light bulbs (which waste 90% of their energy as heat) to light emitting diodes (LEDs). Though LEDs initially cost more, they use a quarter of the energy and last up to 25 times longer;

Lower your thermostat in winter and raise it in summer. Use less air conditioning in the summer; instead opt for fans, which require less electricity;

Do an energy audit of your home. This will show how you use or waste energy and help identify ways to be more energy efficient.