10 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
- by Pedro Padierna
What is a Carbon Footprint?
A carbon footprint is defined as ‘the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community’. Virtually all activities in our day-to-day lives will result in the emission of carbon dioxide or another greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, and this process is responsible for the global warming of the Earth.
Whether it’s driving your car, heating the water in your home, or buying pet collars online, there are many different activities that we can make more sensible decisions on, in order to limit the damage done to our environment.
So, what are some of the ways to reduce your carbon footprint?
10 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
1. Make Changes to Your Diet
The most commonly acknowledged way to reduce your carbon footprint is to make some key changes to your diet. Consuming locally-produced and seasonal food and reducing meat consumption are some of the main ways.
Importing food from overseas results in huge amounts of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere, and, while it is difficult to eliminate this completely, we can act to reduce it by buying food that doesn’t have to travel as far. This could mean growing potatoes in a vegetable patch in your own garden, or switching to local plant milk.
Reducing meat consumption is another one of the ways to reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re a pet owner, you can also swap your pet to a meat-free or vegan diet.
2. Avoid Excess Plastic
Avoiding excess plastic and packaging when you carry out your everyday activities is another way of reducing your own personal impact on the environment. Re-use any plastic bags when you go shopping, avoid buying food items with unnecessary plastic packaging, and make sensible decisions when it comes buying other items like clothing, household items and pet accessories such as pet collars.
3. Reduce Your Waste
Recycling your waste is another way of reducing your carbon footprint. Making environmentally-conscious decisions about packaging and food waste are crucial to reducing the amount of carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere, as a nation. When doing your food shopping, make sure you don’t go overboard, and only buy what you need.
4. Don’t Throw Away Clothing
The most sustainable thing you can do when it comes to your own clothing is to wear something until it is no longer usable. However, if you’re decluttering and want to get rid of something, why not sell it second hand or donate it to a charity shop? This way it doesn’t end up in landfill, and someone else benefits from your old items.
This doesn’t just apply to clothing, but all items in your home. Why not donate your old pet collars to a local rescue centre, or sell your unused pet leash via an app such as Gumtree or Depop?
5. Buy Items Second-Hand
If you need new clothes, rather than reaching for fast fashion websites take a look in local charity shops, or on second-hand clothing apps such as Depop or Vinted. Not only will these clothes have fewer miles to travel to get to you, but you’re also saving them from landfill.
This also applies to your pet accessories; consider buying second-hand pet collars or a pet leash, rather than buying brand new.
6. Buy Sustainably-Produced Clothing
If you can’t find what you need available second-hand or you want to buy new, then make sure it is produced in a sustainable way. This doesn’t just mean made from recycled materials, but includes everything from the wasted fabric in the factory to the air miles needed to get the item to you.
7. Use Public Transport
Where possible, you should use public transport to get from A to B. Travelling via bus and train is much easier on the carbon dioxide emissions than driving on your own. Consider substituting a regular journey you take with a more environmentally-friendly alternative, or carpooling with colleagues or friends.
8. Don’t Heat Your Home Excessively
Heating your home excessively will use unnecessary electricity or natural gas. If it isn’t possible to turn the heating off altogether, consider reducing the temperature by one or two degrees!
9. Be Sensible with Water Usage
In addition to electricity and gas usage, water usage can also be limited in the home to reduce your carbon footprint. This means shorter showers, shorter washing cycles and not leaving the water running when you wash up!
10. Avoid Unnecessary Electricity Consumption
With so many gadgets available to us it’s easy to lose track of our electricity consumption in the home. Making simple changes such as turning the lights off when you leave a room, or not leaving your devices on charge when they’re already fully charged is one of the simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint.