10 ways to lower your carbon footprint at home
This week we’re celebrating Earth Day! The organisers of Earth Day have planned three days of climate action, starting on the 20th April. This includes a global youth climate summit led by Earth Uprising, workshops, panel discussions, special performances and more.
To kick off the week, we’re discussing ways to measure and reduce your carbon footprint. With many of us working from home, now is the perfect time to examine your consumption and output, as it can help you save money and reduce waste, as well as help save the planet.
It has never been easier to measure your carbon impact, with businesses such as Ecologi, Pawprint, Klima and eevie all on a mission to empower you to fight climate change. This is a topic that’s close to our hearts here at Confido, and we’re always on the lookout for ways we can live more sustainably – both as a business and as individuals. As the Earth Day team puts it, ‘As the world returns to normal, we can’t go back to business-as-usual.’
Here are 10 ways to reduce your carbon footprint at home:
1. Check your household service providers
Consider changing your gas and electricity to green energy providers, such as:
These businesses pride themselves on providing members with 100% renewable energy that doesn’t cost the earth. Choosing to switch can help lower your carbon impact by 3.2 tonnes of CO2 a year, according to Bulb. That's the hard work of around 1,590 trees. You should also check your insulation to make sure you’re not losing valuable energy.
2. Monitor your water usage
Did you know, 30% of total water used in the home is flushed down the toilet? Well, apps like waterprint are designed to calculate how much water is embedded in your daily activities, including what you wear, eat and drink. It’s a great way of visualising how much water is used for tasks like running the dishwasher (15 gallons of water) vs washing up by hand (5 gallons of water).
Checking your appliances for leaks is also a great way of reducing your water wastage. Leaky loos are one of the most common causes of unexpected high water use for consumers in the UK. A leaky loo wastes between 200 and 400 litres of water per day – that’s a jaw-dropping 72,000 to 146,000 litres of water wasted every year – from just one leaking toilet.
3. Shake up your food shopping habits
Buying locally-grown in-season produce is the best way of keeping your carbon footprint down. Shopping in bulk helps too, as you can batch cook (meaning less waste) and fewer trips to the shops.
There are lots of amazing environmentally-friendly businesses that deliver sustainably sourced ingredients or dishes, such as:
Oddbox (unwanted veggies)
allplants (vegan ready-meals)
Mindful Chef (sustainably-sourced recipe boxes)
Or, try a food-swapping, waste-saving app like:
You could even set up your own vegetable patch and try growing your own...
4. Diversify your diet
What we consume has a massive impact on our carbon footprint. A study published in February 2018 in the journal Food Research International found cutting meat out of your diet can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent. A plant-based diet, such as a vegetarian or vegan, has been proven to be the most sustainable in terms of land and water use than diets that include meat.
If you're not ready to ditch meat and dairy entirely, here are some tips for reducing your emissions:
Lower your red meat intake (beef is the biggest offender)
Reduce your dairy intake (try swapping to plant milks, yoghurt and butter)
Cook smaller portions to reduce waste
Batch-cook or save leftovers for lunch
5. Be strict with your recycling
Recycling rules vary by where you live, so it’s important to know what your council accepts and when. Make sure you check packaging and labels as it’s easy to mix up 'recyclable' for 'widely recycled'. For example, certain plastics are technically ‘recyclable’ but might not be accepted by your council as they need a different process. This includes materials like batteries, which need to be recycled in a separate bin. You can read all the rules of recycling, here.
If you don’t have a kitchen waste bin, composting is a fantastic way of reducing your food waste and enriching your garden – especially if you decide to grow your own fruits and veggies.
6. Ditch the car where you can
If you’re working from home, it’s likely that you’ve already reduced the amount you use the car. If so, well done! If not, why not walk or cycle where you can? It’s better for you, your pocket and the environment. The average petrol car on the road in the UK produces the equivalent of 180g of CO2 every kilometre, while a diesel car produces 173g of CO2/km.
7. Opt for eco-friendly cleaning products and toiletries
Again, there are a huge range of startups that specialise in plastic-free, eco-friendly cleaning products and toiletries. These include:
Founded by eco-warriors, many of these businesses also dedicate time to giving back in other ways like funding water and sanitation projects through their CSR initiatives.
8. Check your work equipment
While it’s tempting to just shut that laptop lid once you’re done for the day, taking the time to ensure all your appliances are properly turned off is a great way of saving power.
Here’s a quick check-list for your home office:
Turn off all appliances at the plug after shutdown (don’t leave them on standby mode)
Go digital and reduce your paper usage
Choose remanufactured printer cartridges and recycle your old ones
Turn off battery-powered devices when not in use (E.G, external mouse or keyboard)
9. Choose sustainable clothing
The production of fabric is a huge carbon emitter, releasing the equivalent of 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere according to Greenpeace - that’s more than international flights and shipping combined. A 2019 study showed that in the UK we buy more clothes than any other country in Europe, with fast fashion outlets playing a major role.
Here are some alternatives:
Try renting items of clothing for events
Shop second hand (either in charity shops, vintage shops or through apps like Depop)
The bottom line? Try to avoid fast fashion wherever possible.
10. Get your local community involved
Once you’ve started the process of reducing your emissions, get your community on board! Spread the word and help others lower their carbon footprint. You could even start projects in your area like fundraising and litter picking to raise awareness.