Five small daily routine changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint
It’s often difficult to imagine how the things we do each day can have an impact on the environment as a whole, but even seemingly insignificant actions contribute to planet-saving figures when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint. With populations ever increasing and the climate in dire need of a helping hand, reducing our emissions is something we should all be working towards.
Whilst electric cars and eco-friendly houses are brilliant for this purpose, they can be unattainable for many of us. Luckily, there are easier ways to do your part to save our planet, from walking more to switching your light bulbs to LEDs.
Living more sustainably and environmentally friendly is quite simple in practise, it just takes a little forethought and planning. Here, we run through five small daily changes to your routine that you can make in order to reduce your carbon footprint.
5 Tips to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Water often feels like an infinite resource, but whilst some 70% of the Earth’s surface is made up of water, only around 1% of it is suitable for animals and humans to survive on. Processing freshwater to make it safe to drink takes a lot of energy, and every litre we use pulls this crucial resource from the environment around us. With the average person using 150 litres each day for drinking, washing, cooking and cleaning, it’s easy to see how even water is a finite resource.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to reduce our water usage. Simple habits such as turning off the taps when you brush your teeth, using the dishwasher rather than hand washing plates and pans, and fitting aerators onto your taps will all add up to big water savings. Being mindful to not simply pour unwanted water into the drain, but reusing it to water plants or wash vegetables is another great start to saving both money and water.
We all know that driving releases harmful gases into our environment, but sometimes it’s a necessary part of our daily lives. However, whenever you swap out using your car for an alternative and more eco-friendly method of transportation, you’ll be heavily reducing your carbon footprint.
If you can, leaving a little earlier to walk to school or cycle to work will not only reduce your carbon impact but also boost your mental and physical health. Short distances of 1 – 2 miles only take around 10 – 40 minutes to walk, so with a little planning this can be an easy way to live healthier and protect the planet simultaneously.
Using public transport instead of driving saves almost 100g of CO2e per km, so it’s well worth taking the bus rather than the car every time you need to travel longer distances.
If you regularly drive to shops for groceries, clothing and other items, consider ordering online. Bulk item delivery vans are more eco-friendly than hundreds of people individually driving to the store, and you can usually arrange for next-day delivery.
Electric lighting is a great invention that has allowed us to extend our social activities into the night and travel safely after sundown, but it also accounts for 20% of the world’s electricity consumption and 5% of CO2 emissions. Using LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs also has other eco-friendly benefits, as they last longer, don’t contain mercury, and are recyclable.
LED lighting can also significantly reduce your electricity bill, as it takes less energy to work and doesn’t produce heat which is, in this case, wasted energy. Simple adjustments to your routine can help you save even more money and reduce your carbon footprint further when it comes to your lighting. Turning lights off when you leave a room, using energy efficient mood lighting in the evenings and leaving a small LED lamp on rather than the main light for pets when you go out at night are all small things that make a big difference.
Not everyone wants to be vegan, but the food we consume has a massive impact on the rest of the world – especially when it comes to carbon emissions. Meat and dairy products take a huge amount of land, water and energy to produce, and the vast amount of animals bred to supply them also emit a lot of methane, which is a greenhouse gas.
Just by cutting out meat, you can reduce your carbon footprint by almost 1,600 kg/CO2 per year, whilst adopting a plant-based diet can save over 2,000 kg/CO per year. Even if you reduce your meat and dairy consumption to less than daily, you’ll be making a big difference to the negative environmental effects of this industry.
Spurred on by the scientific research into climate change, energy providers have now begun to be more responsible in how they provide us with electricity. There are multiple providers who now offer 100% renewable energy and also work to offset their carbon footprints. Switching to an energy provider that offers green schemes can save you hundreds on your bills, and will also significantly reduce your personal carbon footprint by around 1500 kg/CO2 each year.
Installing a smart meter can also help you track your energy usage, and running appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers overnight can reduce the cost of the electricity used. Another simple daily change is to set your thermostat slightly lower, as even one degree makes a big difference over time.
As all of these small changes add up, you can track how much kg/CO2 you’re saving each year by using an online home carbon calculator. By making just a few adjustments to the way in which you run your home and slightly adapting your daily routines, you can make a massive and positive impact on the environment and planet as a whole.
About the Author
As a man who strives to help the environment in any way he can, Jack enjoys sharing his knowledge around living and travelling sustainably with others.