5 ways to cut your carbon footprint

Simple choices that can save you money and cut your carbon footprint.

Woman holding a cup of coffee

Taking an environmentally friendly approach to your lifestyle doesn’t have to be drastic. The little things can make a big difference. These five ways can help you live more sustainably – and you can start them today.

1. Pick up a delivery

Did you know that the ‘last mile’ or the final stage of any item ordered online and delivered to your door is one of the most polluting parts of the journey? The good news is you can shop online in a more environmentally friendly way by picking up your parcel from an arranged location, like a shop or lock-up.

If all of us used this method, we’d be cutting down carbon emissions daily. So, tell your friends and family – and try it next time you order. It’s also a great excuse to get out and stretch your legs, perhaps on your lunch break if you’re working from home.

2. Make the most of the rain

You could reduce your water usage, become more self-sufficient, save money and lower your carbon footprint in one easy step. Collect rainwater.

It’s unsurprising to learn that the UK is one of the wettest countries in Europe by yearly rainfall.1 But, that means we can put all that rainwater to good use. The average British home could collect as much as 24,000 litres of water a year.2 That’s a lot of water you can get for free. And there are so many uses for it – everything from watering the plants to washing the car. All it takes is a bucket and a rainy day to get started.

1 Source: Nation Master

2 Source: The Royal Horticultural Society

3. Waste not

We throw away 6.6 million tonnes of food every year in the UK.3 And when you know that it takes up to 100 buckets of water to make one loaf of bread, suddenly the cost of food waste becomes clear.

It’s something we can all help to reduce. Batch cook and freeze your food, meal plan for the week, buy just the ingredients you need and donate food that you don’t – whatever you do, don’t waste it.

If we no longer binned our food, we would save 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and reduce landfill by 19,000 square kilometres.4 That’s a significant impact.

3 Source: Wrap.org.uk

4 Source: Derbyshire County Council

4. Introduce house plants

Houseplants can add much more than just decoration to your home. They help to reduce blood pressure, lower stress levels and improve air quality.

They can also help with hot, stuffy houses. So, if you find yourself reaching for the electric fan during the summer months, you’ll be happy to hear that a few houseplants could lower the temperature for you. According to the United States Department of Agriculture5 they could lower the temperature by 10 degrees Fahrenheit. So you can save on electricity and enjoy the beauty of outdoors, indoors.

5 Source: The Royal Horticultural Society

5. Take it slow

It takes about 2,700 litres of water just to make one t-shirt.6 A lot of energy and resource goes into fuelling a fast-fashion culture. But you can make a difference by opting for pre-loved garments or even renting clothes.

Take the advice of Inês Fressynet – a slow-fashion advocate and sustainable lifestyle writer:

“Reduce the number of newly-produced clothes you bring into your wardrobe by buying garments from charity shops or borrowing children's clothes from parents with older children.”

It’s not just fashion. The environmental costs associated with everyday products, like books and furniture, mean that our carbon footprint for ‘things’ is huge. In a world where things are bought, sold and discarded so quickly, you can make a real difference by buying vintage or pre-owned products.

Why not go for a carbon-neutral Christmas and ask your family and friends to only give gifts that have been pre-owned.

6 Source: The World Counts