10 Realistic Resolutions For Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
Knowing where to start when it comes to living greener can be overwhelming. If we all make small changes and are mindful about our consumption, we can collectively make a significant difference to the health of our planet. To help, we have put together our top ten realistic tips to reduce your carbon footprint.
The 5 Rs
1. Refuse – Avoid as much paper and single use plastic as possible. Bring your own reusable bags to put loose fruit and veg in in at the supermarket, switch plastic lined single use coffee cups with a reusable flask, and sign up to your local milkman service for milk in glass reusable bottles.
2. Reduce – Buy what you need and with purpose. Avoid putting food in your supermarket trolley that isn’t for a specific meal. Opt for a digital first approach where possible with bills. Use websites such as Fat Llama to rent tech items rather than buying your own.
3. Reuse – Think twice before throwing items away. Always consider if it can be reused or repaired. If something is in good condition, donate it to a charity shop or list it on Gumtree or eBay to give it a longer lifespan. Make sure you are actually reusing your bags for life. Low-density polyethylene bags need to be reused at least 4 times; a nonwoven polypropylene plastic bag (similar to camping tarp) at least 11 times; and a cotton bag 131 times, to have a lower impact on global warming.
4. Rot – If you have the space, set up a compost system for your food scraps, and make sure to utilise your food bin for cooked food.
5. Recycle – Check your local authority’s recycling scheme so you know exactly what your bins can be filled with. Always rinse out glass jars and metal tins to make sure they don’t cause the whole recycling load from your area to be diverted to landfill due to leftover food, during processing.
6. Car travel is the top source of greenhouse gases so reducing how often you use your car can really contribute to reducing your carbon footprint. Do you drive into work? Check if your company run a car sharing service. Better yet swap the car for public transport or even a bike. Keep your cars serviced and maintained regularly, and if you are buying a new one, consider an electric or hybrid model.
7. Minimise your air travel. Try getting to your destination by train or boat, even if it’s only one way of your journey. Travelling from London to Paris by Eurostar reduces your carbon emissions by 91% compared to flying. If you absolutely have to fly, you can offset your emissions to reduce the impact of your trip. Donations to The Woodland Trust enable the charity to care for enough UK woodland to capture and store around 4 tonnes of carbon. Avoid buying overpriced bottled water for the flight once you get through airport security, and instead bring an empty reusable water bottle to fill up at one of the bars or coffee shops.
8. Switch your energy provider. Comparison sites such as uSwitch give you the option to look for green tariffs from renewable energy suppliers. Get a smart meter fitted so that you can easily track your energy usage and identify areas of improvement. Speaking of energy usage, did you know that the device you binge watch TV and films on can affect your energy consumption? Streaming on your games console verses your TV creates 10x the energy consumption.
9. Are you guilty of turning your house into a sauna when you could just throw on a jumper? On average, 55% of the cost of your annual energy bills comes from heating, so improving your home's energy use can also make a big difference to your pocket. Keep your boiler in good condition & consider a replacement with a more energy efficient model if your current one is getting on a bit. Make sure your roof and walls are correctly insulated, and seal attic doors, windows, and door gaps to prevent heat loss from draughts. If you are green fingered, shrubs around your house can also help with insulation.
10. Whilst it allows consumers to participate in trends straight off the runway at an affordable price point; the production process involved with fast fashion expels approximately 1.2bn tonnes of CO2 a year. Buying second hand is a great way to not only save clothing from landfill, but also the perfect opportunity to find something unique. Check out local charity shops and vintage kilo sales for super affordable clothes that add character to your wardrobe. Repairing the clothes you own instead of throwing them away is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Have a look at our Pinterest board for some inspiration to help you repair your clothes with a beginners level of sewing experience. Extending the active life of 50% of UK clothing by 9 months would save 8% carbon, 10% water and 4% waste. If you have to buy brand new, think quality over quantity and choose classic pieces that will always be in style.
Making simple, greener choices can make a real difference. We only have one planet earth, let’s protect it together. At UIA Mutual we have over 125 years of providing value for money home insurance to trade union members and their families. We ensure members are offered competitive premiums on Home, Car, Travel and Pet Insurance. Protect your family as well as the planet and get a quote today.