Climate change has become an important topic in recent years, and as individuals we maybe feel like we can’t make a difference. But even small changes that you make in your day-to-day life can add up! In this blog we will answer the question: how can I lower my carbon footprint ? Suggesting simple ways that you can reduce your impact on the planet!
What does “carbon footprint” mean?
Firstly it’s important to define what the term “carbon footprint” actually means. Carbon footprint is a measurement of the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere as a result of a person or businesses actions. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and lead to global warming. So, lowering your carbon footprint is very important if you are concerned about climate change and looking after our planet.
Reduce your waste
Waste in one thing that contributes hugely to carbon emissions, with landfill waste releasing CO2 and methane into the air. So, how can you reduce how much waste gets sent to landfill? Here are some ideas!
We have all been guilty of throwing out food that we simply forgot, or didn’t find time to eat. Food waste is a huge issue environmental issue, releasing methane into the air as it breaks down in landfills. Methane is actually around 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period! UK households waste around 4.5 million tonnes of perfectly edible food per year, worth £14 billion.
You should take stock of all the food you have in your house and try to plan your meals to reduce waste as much as possible. You can also try to make a shopping list and stick to it, reducing any over purchasing! Also remember that you can freeze many types of foods to prolong their shelf life, even bread! You could even invest in a separate freezer if you have the space. You can also compost your fruit and vegetables, providing nourishment for your soil and plants.
Remember that you can also donate excess food to food banks in your area, helping those in need and preventing food waste!
Another big source of waste is consumer goods, such as clothing. People often buy into fast fashion trends, which encourage constant overconsumption. Textiles are very hard to recycle due to their blended materials, meaning around 80% end up in the incinerator or rotting in landfill. Bracketing is another habit you should try to avoid, which involves buying items in multiple colours or sizes with the intention of returning them. This may seem harmless, but returned garments often end up being discarded as there aren’t enough workers to deal with them.
You can also try shopping at charity shops and thrift stores instead of buying all your clothes brand new. There are so many lovely pieces that you can find for a very low price! You are also extending the life cycle of the clothing, especially if you re-donate them afterwards! You can read our blog here on how you can buy clothing ethically and reduce your carbon footprint.
Product returns waste
You may not have considered this, but product returns may be contributing to your carbon footprint as many end up in landfill or tossed in the incinerator. When shopping online, you should make sure to read all product information and measurements carefully to reduce the chances of returns and product waste. Here at Fairwayrock we strive to reduce product return waste by providing in depth insights and unbiased information.
Another swap that you can make that will also save you money, is buying refurbished electronics instead of brand new ones. This means you are saving a product that may have otherwise ended up in landfill, as well as reducing demand for brand new products. You can read our blog post here where we highlight the pros and cons of refurbished products.
Tweaking eating habits
Agriculture is a big contributor to global warming, with 50% of the UK’s methane emissions in 2017 coming from the agriculture sector. So, cutting down on your meat consumption is also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Of course you don’t need to suddenly go cold turkey and become a vegan. Even having a couple of meat-free days a week will make a difference. Cutting out red meat especially is beneficial, as this uses up a lot of land and energy to produce. Eating local food and produce also helps, as it did not need to be transported a long way to reach your plate.
Recycle and reuse
Recycling is another obvious but simple way to reduce your carbon footprint. Before throwing anything away in the bin ask yourself: can this be recycled or reused in any way? There may be some items that you are unsure whether they can be recycled or not, but you can do some research and ask recycling centres what they accept.
Reusing is another good way to lower your carbon footprint. Invest in a tote bag for your shopping so you don’t need to buy plastic bags. Take a reusable bottle with you to work and wherever you go – single use plastics such as plastic cups and bottles are a huge environmental issue, polluting landfills and our ocean. You can also purchase metal straws instead of using plastic ones.
Try to fix and repair items before throwing them out. For example, your TV may stop working and you think you will just need to trash it, but if you ask around friends and neighbours they may know how to fix it.
Reduce energy usage
How you power your home is another big opportunity to lower your carbon footprint, with around 26% of carbon emissions coming from home energy. The most simple way is to remember to turn off your lights and appliances when you’re not using them. Another simple swap is drying your clothes out on the line instead of using the tumble dryer. Energy saving lightbulbs are another easy way, that can also save you money on your bill! You can also insulate your home and even install solar panels on your roof. Check if your government offers any grants for this, as the UK government currently offers a Green Homes Grant scheme. You can also do your research and find a green energy supplier that uses renewable energy sources.
Investing in more energy efficient household appliances is another great way to lower your carbon footprint. Samsung’s Ecobubble range is a great choice if you are looking for an energy efficient washing machine. It will also save you money and water! Refrigerators are the biggest energy consumer in the majority of households, so picking an energy efficient model is also important. This Bosch Serie 2 Fridge Freezer is a great option. Slow cookers also tend to use less energy than ovens as they don’t need high temperatures.
Use greener transport methods
Investing in an electric car is a great way to lower your carbon footprint. They should also become more accessible over time, as more charging stations are being installed and the government looks to phase out petrol and diesel cars. If you can’t invest in this right now, you can try and reduce your car usage by car sharing or walking more. Cycling is also a great form of exercise to get into that also lowers your carbon footprint. Using a bike for short commutes instead of the car lowers your emissions by 75%! You can also make it your goal to use public transport a few days a week instead of taking the car. Taking the train instead of car for medium length journeys reduce your emissions by a huge 80%.
You can also use this carbon footprint calculator to see where you need to cut down.
We hope that this blog has helped you gain some insights and ideas on how you can lower your carbon footprint and reduce your impact on the planet! Let us know in the comments any ideas you’d like to add!Tags: carbonfootprint, climatechange, ecofriendly, health, healthylifestyle, sustainability, sustainableliving