Ten Easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint
Following on from our previous post “Carbon Footprint – What is is and how to calculate it” we now discuss how you can reduce your own carbon footprint in 10 easy steps.
Everyone is talking about reducing their carbon footprint, but what exactly are greenhouse gasses and what impact do they have on the environment?
Humans add significantly to the level of naturally occurring greenhouse gases in several ways:
- Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere by the burning of solid waste, wood, and fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal).
- Nitrous oxide emissions occur during various agricultural and industrial processes and when solid waste or fossil fuels are burned.
- Methane is emitted when organic waste decomposes, whether in landfills or in connection with livestock farming. Methane emissions also occur during the production and transport of fossil fuels.
Below are 10 simple steps everyone can take to help reduce human impact on the environment without putting in much effort.
1- TRANSPORT: Think about your journeys. We all have a need for transport which relies upon petrol/diesel but how many of these journeys are actually required? If it’s just a short trip think about walking or using a bike. This not only will help reduce harmful gas from you vehicle but will help you keep healthy. If for example you make 10 journeys a month which could easily be done by walking, you will not only cut your carbon footprint but save money on fuel and costs as well as exercise while enjoying being outside and seeing things you would usually pass you by.
2- RUBBISH: Think about recycling and also about the actual products you buy. Are the products you want necessary or are they impulse purchases? By reducing the amount of products you buy you reduce the waste you create and save money in the process. If more people shopping in supermarkets stopped buying over-packaged goods and instead bought them from independent retailers, the amount of waste created would be significantly reduced. Take meat. In a supermarket, meat us usually purchased on a styrofoam plate wrapped in plastic with a cardboard wrapper showing a picture of the contents. If the same product was bought from an independent butcher, its usually placed into an individual plastic bag with far less packaging (also the meat tends to be a lot fresher and often cheaper). It is the over-packaging of most products which produces the most waste.
3- INTERNET: Most people have access to the internet, but how can it be used in a more environmentally friendly way? Well as most people are aware, Google is the most popular search engine available, but did you know that they operate a service called Google Black? It's Google but with a black background, which saves energy because the computer screen uses less electricity to show the black than white. Not only does Google Black save energy, it shows how much energy has been saved by its users. Follow this link and bookmark it as your homepage to help save energy http://www.blackle.com/
4- ELECTRICITY: As you are aware, electricity is made by power stations either coal, gas or nuclear. This need for electricity is the biggest cause of climate change, the easy option is to use less energy. Turn off any appliances not in use and never leave anything on standby. This not only saves energy reducing your electricity bills but also helps to reduce your carbon footprint. Try to get your electricity from a renewable source; many power companies will sell you renewable energy. Call your current provider and ask for details.
5- RECYCLE: Try to use some of the items you would usually throw in the trash for a different purpose. Instead of throwing away old items of clothing cut it into pieces and use it for washing windows and cleaning the floor or car. There are many charity shops which will make use of old items. Even if you get rid for free it saves them going to landfill where it can take hundreds of years for it to biodegrade.
6- GROW YOUR OWN VEGGIES: This may not seem like a carbon footprint reduction but think about the vegetables you buy. They are grown on farms and go through machinery to get packaged. They are then driven sometimes hundreds of miles between the farm, storage, retail outlets and finally back you your home for use. If you grow your own it’s a simple matter of walking out the back door into the garden and picking fresh tasty vegetables without the transportation and therefore reducing environmental impacts from numerous angles. Not only is it better but it’s cheaper as well.
7- HEATING: When you're at home or have go to see friends and family, have you ever noticed how in cold weather people put the heating on then open a window “for some fresh air”. As most people radiators are near windows you are basically paying you heating bills for the heat to go directly out the window so it serves no purpose whatsoever. Try to have the heating on and close the windows this ensures the heat is kept within the house and therefore save money and energy.
8- PICK UP LITTER: If you are walking around, try litter picking. This not only ensures waste and rubbish can be recycled properly but makes the environment look nicer for others.
9- AT WORK: Everyone takes things seriously at home but tend to relax there beliefs at work. Do you really need to print that email? When possible use double-sided printing. Instead of driving to meetings, try using the phone or Skype, which is cheaper and easier. The workplace is full of energy- saving concepts and as we all know, in a recession saving money is crucial to all businesses.
10- OTHER PEOPLE: Talk to people. This is probably the most important carbon reduction you could make. Many people have good ideas and concepts which can be taken on by other people. Sharing of ideas and beliefs is what is going to reduce mankind’s carbon emissions the most. The green movement is spreading because people are talking and sharing ideas and concepts; the more people you talk to regarding carbon reductions and how they can be made the more people will act on this information.