There are various ways in which we as individuals can reduce our carbon footprint. We can all lead happy, balanced lives without having a detrimental effect on the environment by making small changes in our day-to-day behaviours, decisions and choices. If we all make small steps to save energy, water and waste this can build up to make a massive difference overall. Many of these actions require little or no cost but can save you money and reduce your carbon emissions.
Reducing the amount of energy we use at home not only benefits the environment but also saves us money.
Energy saving top tips:
- Turn off electrical appliances at the socket rather than leaving them on standby.
- Regularly defrost your freezer and de-scale your kettle so they operate efficiently.
- Only boil the amount of water you actually need.
- When buying new appliances, choose products with the best energy efficiency rating.
- Install an energy monitor that shows in real terms how much energy you are using at any time. This is a great incentive to switch off appliances that are costing you money unnecessarily. Some libraries rent energy monitors out free of charge.
- Fit low energy lightbulbs.
- Close curtains at dusk to prevent heat from escaping. Dry your washing on a line or a drier instead of using a tumble-dryer.
- Visit our page on energy efficiency to find out more about being energy efficient at home.
Whether it’s driving to work, the school run or visiting friends and family, transport plays an integral part of our daily lives. The more we use fuel to travel, the greater the impact on our environment. By finding alternative ways to travel and decreasing the use of our cars, we can greatly reduce our impact on the environment and again, save money.
Tips on greener travel:
- Drive Greener – Choose the appropriate speed, de-clutter your boot and avoid hard acceleration and braking. Tyres should be inflated correctly
- Car Share – Many communities or organisations have set up car sharing schemes. Find out if there is one running in your area. If you live in Cambridgeshire, visit www.camshare.co.uk
- If going on a fairly short journey, walk or ride your bike rather than using the car. It’ll help you get fitter as well!
- Next time you change your car, consider choosing one that uses less fuel.
How we shop and spend our money can make an important contribution to protecting our health and resources.
Top tips for greener shopping:
- Buy locally produced food to avoid uneccessary food miles.
- Buy food with less packaging – It is estimated that 10% of every shopping bill goes towards paying for packaging. Purchasing refillable containers can help to reduce this.
- Take reusable bags with you when you go shopping – Every household in the UK still gets through an average of around 400 plastic carrier bags each year, which is the equivalent to 9.9 billion per year, including reusable plastic carrier bags that end up in landfill.
As a society we use almost 50% more water today than we did 25 years ago. Most of the water we use is for washing and toilet flushing, so we all need to make a few changes to our habits to help save water.
Top tips on how to be more water efficient:
- Take baths rather than showers. A five minute shower rather than a bath can save up to 15,000 litres of water each year. If you prefer to have a bath then make it a shallow one, which will save you water, energy and money.
- Don’t leave the tap running when you clean your teeth.
- For a drink of cold water, fill a jug, cover it and keep it in the fridge instead of running the tap until the water is cold.
- Only use the washing machine or the dishwasher when you have a full load. Modern dishwashers set on a full cycle use less water to clean your dishes than doing them by hand.
For more water saving tips visit www.anglianwater.co.uk
We are producing more waste and rubbish than ever before. In the UK we produce more than 434 million tonnes of rubbish each year. Most of this is disposed of in landfill sites where it takes hundreds of years to decompose. Adopting a reduce, reuse and recycle approach will help save you money and reduce the waste you produce.
Top tips for reducing waste
- Minimise the amount of junk mail you receive by signing up for the Mailing Preference Service. Visit www.recyclenow.com for more information.
- Reusing items instead of throwing them away makes economic sense – use old yogurt pots to plant out seedlings, or donate your children’s outgrown clothes and toys to a local charity shop.
- Make the most of your recycling bin and green composting bin, which will cut down on the rubbish left for your domestic bin for waste that cannot be recycled, composted, reused or disposed of by other means.
- Composting food and garden waste at home provides excellent fertiliser for your garden. For more information on home composting visit www.recyclenow.com
An eco-friendly garden makes the most of an existing green space and by working with nature it will be easier and cheaper to maintain.
Top tips for an eco-friendly garden
- Allow your lawn to grow longer between cuts so that it is more resistant to drying out.
- Plant drought-resistant plants such as lavenders and rosemary.
- Plant to attract birds, insects and animals into your garden.
- Growing your own food reduces your carbon footprint and is hugely satisfying.
- Collect rainwater from roofs and down-pipes into water butts or buckets. A standard water butt can save up to 5,000 litres of water in one year.
- Sprinklers are wasteful and ca use up to 1,000 litres of water per hour – use a watering can instead.
- Check the weather forecast before watering the garden, it might rain!
Visit www.rhs.org.uk for more advice on green gardening.
Biodiversity and Open Greenspace
Open green spaces provide rare and valuable habitats for animals and plant life. Make the most of the biodiversity and open spaces near your home by visiting them regularly or joining as a member of a local nature reserve or wildlife site. Enjoying these sites and country walks also helps keep you and your family fit and healthy.
For more information on reducing your carbon footprint, check out the government’s personal carbon calculator at: