Do you ever wonder what you can do as an individual to help stop climate change? Reducing your carbon footprint is a good place to start.
Your carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas you create through your own day-to-day activity.
As you might imagine, not everyone’s carbon footprint is equal. It can vary depending on your lifestyle, your income, and where you live.
Can I really make a difference?
The good news is there are lots of things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.
We’ve seen what happens when ordinary people take a stand. While we can’t all be like Greta Thunberg or other environmental campaigners, there are still many ways you can make a difference to the environment.
Millions of people globally are already doing it and, if you join them, you’ll be in good company.
Helping the environment at home
One of the biggest contributors to climate change in the UK is the country’s 30 million homes, which account for more than 21% of carbon emissions.
Laura McGadie, our group head of energy, told us: “We can all reduce carbon emissions and make our homes more comfortable while having a positive impact on addressing the climate emergency. There are some things we can do today at little or no cost, such as draught-proofing. Other measures, including installing better insulation, will take more time and investment but will bring greater rewards in the long term.”
Changing how we travel
Transport is the single biggest contributor to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the UK, with levels remaining stubbornly at around 25% of all emissions.
A good place to start is to look at the journeys you make, whether going to work, to the shops, or on holiday. Can you choose a low carbon way to get there? Small steps make a difference – choosing to walk or bike just one mile to the shop and back once a week rather than drive will see fuel savings of £16 and 27kg in CO2 each year – that’s the equivalent of charging your smart phone 3,443 times!
Swap to modern LED bulbs. If you replace all the bulbs in your home with LED lights you could reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by up to 65kg a year. This is equivalent to the carbon dioxide emitted by driving your car around 220 miles.
Draught-proof your home
Your home may be losing heat from windows and doors, floorboards or up the chimney. Draught-proofing is easy to do and a quick-win for your carbon footprint.
Walk or cycle more if you can
We’d always recommend walking, cycling or wheeling short distances if you can. Many people are now also switching to an electric car because they have much lower carbon dioxide emissions than a petrol or diesel equivalent.
Consider switching to a heat pump
If you need to replace your heating system, an air source or ground source heat pump is the best low carbon heating option if you can afford it.
Inspiration from our Energy Saving Trust team
We work to address the climate emergency. Many of us are also reducing our carbon footprint at home. Some have fitted heat pumps, others have fitted solar panels, and one colleague even has an electric vehicle powered by the sun too.
Here are some cheaper, daily carbon saving tips from our colleagues you might like to try:
Buy preloved nappies
Ruth Gray, our senior marketing manager, said: “When my son was born, we decided to buy as much ‘preloved’ stuff as we could. We bought about 20 preloved nappies and were amazed at how easy it was to use them. The kit cost about £200, while the disposable equivalent is 4,000 nappies per child, costing £1,500.”
Don’t throw away food – freeze it
Programme manager Pilar Rodriguez said: “My freezer is my friend in the battle against food waste. You can freeze almost any food. I used to throw away herbs from the fridge that I bought for just one meal. Now, I freeze them and pop them directly into whatever I’m cooking.”
Compost your coffee
Sitar Ramsey, partnerships and improvement manager, said: “I have a home composter and it gets quite full because we have a lot of coffee grinds and fruit peels. I put my coffee grinds on the hydrangeas in the garden – they really like it.”
Use reusable period products
Programme manager, Heather Quin, said: “I moved to a menstrual cup, which is designed to last for years. And I can confirm that they do. I found it as convenient as tampons or pads. I’ve also tried period pants – underwear designed to act as a sanitary pad with no disposable materials. I’m sold! They can be washed in the washing machine and, with proper care, should also last years.”