Four Steps to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Four Steps To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.

Climate change has the potential to be overpowering. The science is complicated, and there are still many unknowns when it comes to future consequences. While true answers will necessitate global action, there are choices you can make in your daily life to reduce your personal environmental effect.

What is a Carbon Footprint?

What is a Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint is the entire quantity of greenhouse gas emissions produced by a product or service during its manufacture, use, and disposal. It comprises carbon dioxide, the most prevalent gas released by humans, as well as other gases such as methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases, all of which trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Transportation, housing, and food account for the majority of an individual’s carbon footprint.

Here are some suggestions for minimizing your personal impact.

Insulation

There is a slew of modifications around the house that can benefit the environment, from adding a heat pump to turning down the thermostat.

According to Dr Neil Jennings of Imperial College London, “switching from a gas or oil-powered heating system to an electric heat pump makes a considerable difference”

“On a day-to-day basis, switching off lights and appliances when not in use can help us to save money while reducing our impact on climate change.”

From April 2022, the UK government will pay £5,000 incentives for the installation of heat pumps. We can improve the insulation in our walls, ceilings, and windows to make a difference in our homes.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy (EST). This entails sealing any holes that allow cold air to enter and warm air to escape, such as around windows, doors, and skirting boards. Draught-proofing might save £25 per year on residential expenses, according to the EST.

Switching to a green energy provider or a green tariff can help your household lower its carbon footprint dramatically. However, several providers have discontinued their offers due to a recent surge in wholesale energy prices.

Make sustainable food choices

Make sustainable food choices

Livestock is responsible for 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions, with cattle being by far the most significant source. Reducing meat and dairy in your diet, particularly red meat like lamb and beef, is the simplest and most efficient method to lessen your impact. Obviously, this is good news for vegans, but there are some other factors to consider.

According to University of Aberdeen scientist Prof Margaret Gill, it’s not merely a matter of “tagging individual products as good or bad.” According to her, the carbon footprint of any specific food is determined by how it is produced, where it is sourced, and whether it is in season.

Making smaller servings and keeping leftovers for later at home, according to Dr Jonathan Foley, who explores climate change solutions, can save money and minimise waste. According to the Waste & Resources Action Programme, the world wastes between 25% and 30% of its food.

What about locally sourced meat against imported vegetables?

According to one study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers, eating entirely locally grown food for a year saves the greenhouse gas equivalent of driving 1,000 miles, but eating only one vegetarian meal a week for a year saves 160 miles more.

What to eat on?

Instead of using disposable dishes, wash your dinnerware. Dishwashing is likely to be more environmentally friendly than using disposable dishes, whether by hand or in a dishwasher (assuming your dishwasher is energy efficient). If you must use throwaway plates, bowls, and silverware, there are environmentally friendly solutions available (look for compostable or biodegradable options). If you order takeout, remember to wash and reuse the plastic containers that the food is usually delivered in.

Focus on your transport

Transportation accounts for over a quarter of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.

According to Dr Jennings, living car-free could be “the most impactful thing we can do to reduce our transport emissions.” However, not everyone can give up their automobile, especially if they live in a region without decent public transportation or work night hours when it isn’t available. Small steps, such as walking or cycling to the neighbourhood store or carpooling with friends or neighbours, have an influence.

Flying, unfortunately, is one of the most carbon-intensive activities we can engage in as humans. Domestic flights emit the most pollutants per person per kilometre. Train travel can have a fraction of the environmental impact of a domestic flight, while it may be more expensive. Booking ahead of time can help you save money.

“For those who fly a lot, reducing the number of flights you take will make a considerable difference to your personal footprint,” says Dr Jennings.

How to compensate for your travel?

If you can’t avoid travelling, you can compensate for the emissions by donating money to sustainable programmes like providing efficient stoves to rural houses or assisting farmers in India in selling agricultural waste as biomass. You can use a third-party service or ask the airline directly for this option.

What you buy

Four Steps To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, one pair of jeans consumes 3,781 litres of water when cotton is grown, manufactured, transported, and washed. You can reduce your environmental impact by fixing minor flaws in clothing rather than replacing them, giving rather than discarding, and purchasing higher-quality things that you believe will last longer. A growing number of businesses are selling clothing for rent, which helps the fashion industry cut waste. You could also consider purchasing used items.

There are a number of thrift stores that are a far better sustainable choice than following fast fashion trends.

Selecting the appropriate household appliances can also help you reduce your carbon footprint. When it comes to appliances like washing machines, Dr Jennings recommends selecting the most energy-efficient models.

How to become more conscious of what you buy?

You shop for more than just clothes, so no matter what you’re buying — food, home products, toys, or anything else — there are ways to factor in the climate.

  • Carry a reusable bag along while shopping.
  • Do not choose unnecessary packaging.
  • Invest in long-lasting, high-quality items.
  • Invest in carbon offsets. You may not always be able to avoid doing things that contribute to your carbon footprint, but you may help offset these emissions by supporting programmes and initiatives.