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10 painless measurable ways to reduce your carbon footprint

Updated: May 30

You want to reduce your carbon footprint, but don’t have time on your hands?


I’ve got you covered!


Here’s a list of dead simple carbon footprint reduction ideas that will slash your CO2 emissions.


No pain, yes gain!


Spoiler: I’ll tell you exactly how much YOU will save per year!


Ready to start a new low-carbon life from today?


Let’s see what causes our carbon emissions and how to drive them down.


Contents


1. Be an eco-traveller

2. Produce clean energy

3. Control your home temperature

4. Change bank

5. Use 100% green energy

6. A low-carbon diet menu

7. Buy second hand

8. Declutter your digital carbon footprint

9. Save water

10. Offset your carbon emissions

The end (of a high-carbon life)


1. Be an eco-traveller


Whether you commute to work, or you go on holiday, your journey will release CO2.

Walk, cycle or take public transport to go to work rather than driving a car. If not possible, car sharing could be a low-carbon alternative too.


When you can't give up your own car, consider investing on an electric vehicle (EV), which emits 72% less CO2 than a traditional car.


Yet, carbon emissions from air travel are the Dumbo in the room!


The carbon footprint of flying on a short-haul route once a year takes up 10% of our individual carbon emissions. A long-haul flight skyrockets to 50%.


Try to stick to only a return short-haul flight per year.


Consider a staycation. You’ll save time and money. Plus, you may discover hidden gems that were right under your nose!


Estimated saving per year: 3,500 Kg CO2 (10,675 miles driven by an average petrol car)


Call to action: Give up a long-haul flight (e.g. London to Hong Kong, economy class)


eco-tourists walking into the wild. sustainable travel

2. Produce clean energy


Saving energy should be your primary focus. But wouldn’t it be electrifying to produce your own renewable energy?


How?


Invest in a Triple solar panel to generate heat, hot tap water and electricity using renewable energy. Or even a standard solar panel on your roof would do.


This will help turn your home into a carbon neutral house.


Estimated saving per year: 1200 Kg CO2 (3,660 miles driven by an average petrol car)


Call to action: Install a solar panel


man installing solar panels on a roof. renewable energy


3. Control your home temperature


Because of climate change, heatwaves will be more frequent.


While you can go to the beach during the day (put sun cream on!), you will struggle to sleep at night.


“Just put the AC on full blast, mate,” I hear some of you shouting.


Problem is cooling your home warms the planet!


So, how do we exit this vicious air circulation?


With a bit of common sense. Use a timer and set a reasonable temperature.


That’s another step to convert your home into a low-carbon hub.


Estimated saving per year: 907 Kg CO2 (2,766 miles driven by an average petrol car)


Call to action: Increase your AC temperature by 2 degrees in summer


woman struggling because of heat. climate change-driven heatwaves

4. Change bank


Green is the colour of money, right? (at least if you handle dollars)


But money can have a black shade if used for dirty things like fossil fuels.


That’s what Barclays, HSBC and other banks are doing with your savings.


Make your money count by switching your account (rhyme intended).


Choose eco-conscious banks such as Triodos Banks and Charity Bank.


Mortgages are not only painful for your wallet but also for the environment.


For a total amount of £200,000 and a 2.5% interest rate, you’ll release about 1,000 Kg of CO2 per year (as much as driving for 3,050 miles)


Estimated saving per year: 750 Kg CO2 (2,288 miles driven by an average petrol car)


Call to action:: Take out mortgages and loans with the Ecology Building Society (its carbon footprint is 25% of its competitors’)


green notes

5. Use 100% green energy


If you can’t afford to invest in renewable energy technologies, choose an eco-friendly provider.


So, how to switch energy supplier?


Just sign up with Ecotricity or Good Energy, which are providing 100% renewables.


Doing so, you’ll minimise the environmental impact of fossil fuels.


Estimated saving per year: 525 Kg CO2 (1,601 miles driven by an average petrol car)


Call to action: Get 100% renewable energy


wind turbines in a field. green energy

6. A low-carbon diet menu


Food's carbon footprint is about a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions.


If you switch to a vegan or flexitarian diet (more plants, less meat), you’ll slim down your impact by up to 45%!


Make your menu green (literally!)


Estimated saving per year: 380 Kg CO2 (1,160 miles driven by an average petrol car)


Call to action: Swap read meat and dairy with chicken, fish, eggs or a vegetable-based meal one day per week



vegan meal. low-carbon diet menu


7. Buy second hand


Reusing is one of the circular economy principles.


You can find tons of good-quality second hand stuff on Gumtree and eBay.


By the way, I hope you’re aware of fast fashion sustainability issues.


Refresh your circular fashion wardrobe by shopping in sustainable fashion charities.


Estimated saving per year: 251 Kg CO2 (765 miles driven by an average petrol car)


Call to action: Buy (and sell) reused items (e.g. a sofa bed and a mattress)


reused tyres to grow plants

8. Declutter your digital carbon footprint


The data you consume has an invisible environmental impact.


Here are a few tips to go green on the Internet:


● Stop googling it, ecosia it!

● Go easy on video streaming, use wi-fi rather than mobile data, and switch off autoplay settings

● For online meetings, turn off your camera and use carbon neutral Meet/Teams instead of the CO2-guzzling Zoom

● Send fewer emails (think before you thank!)


Estimated saving per year: 104 Kg CO2 (317 miles driven by an average petrol car)


Call to action: Switch off your camera during 2 one-hour video calls each week


organised technology items

9. Save water


Climate change is threatening water security. The WWF said two-thirds of the Earth’s population may experience water scarcity by 2025.


What can we do about it?


Here are a few small changes to be more sustainable:


Give your tap a break!

● Fix leaks

● Fit a low-flow aerators to your showerhead

● Install a "hippo" device on your toilets


Estimated saving per year: 5 Kg CO2 (15 miles driven by an average petrol car)


Call to action: Buy a hippo bag


wooden boats on a dry land

10. Offset your carbon emissions


First, what is a carbon offset?


A carbon offset by planting trees or funding renewables projects is a way to compensate for your CO2 emissions.


Hmm...does carbon offset work? I can hear your suspicious question.


It does if you handpick the best carbon offset programmes. You should spend your money on certified, additional and local carbon footprint reduction initiatives.


Having said that, we should focus on reducing our carbon footprint and leave carbon offset as a last resort.


How come?


Because it’s incredibly easy to use it as an excuse to produce even more emissions!


Once you’re aware of that, go for it.


For instance, if you really need to take an extra plane, airlines like Ryanair offer carbon offset for flights (though, remember point 1, it’s much better not to take the flight at all!).


Estimated saving per year: As much as you are willing to pay for


Call to action: Sign up for a carbon offset programme


people carbon offset by planting trees

The end (of a high-carbon life)


There you go! Don’t you feel lighter already?


A decalogue of no-brainers for reducing your carbon footprint by a whopping 7,622 Kg of CO2 per year!


The same carbon emissions released by driving the longest drivable distance on Earth 3 times!


But why should we be concerned about our carbon footprint?


As this post shows, individual action does count.


Numbers aside, changing our lifestyle will inspire others to do the same.


We need this lower-carbon domino effect to happen. Now!

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