Ways to reduce your carbon footprint – We’ve asked the experts

The experts share their top tips on reducing your carbon footprint

As we see the effects of Climate Change progressively worsen throughout the world, many people are now having to act. 

We can all play our part in making the world a better, more sustainable place for our kids. 

Becoming more sustainable and reducing our carbon footprint is now seen as a must for anyone. And for very good reasons.

But without expert help we still hear people asking themselves; 

How do we reduce our carbon footprint? 

Joel Sanders, Marketing and PR lead for Treepoints has been kind enough to share his thoughts on how this can be achieved. 

Short-term Opportunities

Transport

Transport is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions by individuals, and also one of the easiest to change, simply by reconsidering how you get around. A few things to consider are listed below:

Fly less

Many of us hop on planes for work or holidays without considering the consequences for the planet. Out of transport types, mile for mile flying has the most damaging impact on the climate.

Consider instead a staycation in your own country, or traveling internationally by train. “Slow travel” by boat or train is one of the hottest trends at present. Make the journey part of the experience, rather than a means to an end.

Ways to reduce your carbon footprint with travel

If flying is unavoidable, offset the carbon emissions of your flight. This can be done through a monthly subscription that takes into account the amount of flights you take, or a one off payment.

Cycle more

Not only does cycling produce no CO2 emissions, it also takes cars off the road that would otherwise add to pollution and congestion. It’s also a great way of staying fit and healthy.

Public transport is also a good alternative to driving, with the positive result of fewer cars on the road, so less polluting gasses.

Drive less, drive smarter

If you have no choice but to drive, there are some things you can do to reduce your emissions.

Consider a hybrid or electric car. Several comparison services exist to compare the efficiency of different vehicles.

Make sure you’re not carrying excess weight, which reduces fuel efficiency.

Don’t drive like a Formula 1 racer. Going easy on the pedals will reduce your emissions. Slowing down by 10kph can improve fuel consumption by as much as 25%.

Improve your carbon footprint with what you eat

The impact of your diet on the environment is not just about how many steaks you’re getting through, it’s also about making informed decisions about what you put on your plate and where it’s coming from.

Meat Free Mondays

The meat and dairy industries are huge contributors to global warming. Red meat in particular has 100 times the impact of plant based foods on the environment.

This doesn’t mean you have to go full vegan immediately, but consider a few easy swaps in your diet such as switching cows milk to oat milk, a veggie burger rather than beef. Initiatives like Meat Free Mondays and Veganuary can provide great incentives to help you kick-start a more environmentally friendly diet.

Eat seasonal produce

In addition to the greenhouse gas emissions from production, there is also an environmental impact associated with transportation. 

Flying those bananas from Colombia will do a lot more damage than eating apples from your local farm. Next time you go to the shops, choose loose veg rather than ones wrapped in several layers of plastic, and make sure to check out what’s in season.

Eat more plant-based foods to cut your carbon emissions

Farming fruit and vegetables out of season is much more energy intensive, so will have a bigger impact on the climate.

Not only is variety good for our diets, but also for farmland. Farming the same crop all year round drains important nutrients from the soil, and gives the ground no time for recovery. 

By switching up what you’re putting on your plate you’ll be more in harmony with natural ecosystems.

Waste less food

Globally we throw away around 1.3 billion tonnes of food every year, which is a third of what we grow. 

Having a quick look through your fridge to check what you’ve got before going to the shops. 

Getting creative with the parts of food we’d usually throw away can save huge amounts of food from being wasted. This would reduce the demand for food production, resulting in less carbon emissions.

We love the Zero Waste Chef’s inspiring recipes for parts such as carrot tops and cheese rinds that we’d usually chuck.

Cut your carbon emissions with thoughtful shopping

Invest in quality!

When shopping, consider buying one item of really good quality that is going to last you for a long time. Buying fast fashion trends have high transport and carbon costs associated, not to mention more waste.

There’s a wealth of independent sustainable producers out there which thanks to the internet are all available to us at the click of a button. 

Consider whether you could spend a little more on an item that you know has been produced sustainably and in an environmentally conscious way. 

Companies such as Lucy & Yak have committed to offsetting their carbon emissions, and supporting businesses like these encourages others to do the same.

Shop vintage

Choosing to purchase your clothes second-hand hugely reduces carbon emissions, as well as sending a clear message to fast fashion companies that we will not support them. 

Look out for Facebook clothes swaps and sales where you can snag a bargain and often locally too.

Buy second hand clothes to reduce your carbon emissions

Reduce your carbon footprint around the home

From switching the lights off to switching energy providers, there are plenty of things you can do to improve the carbon efficiency of your home.

Turn it off

As well as turning off the lights when you leave a room, think about turning off the heating when you’re not there, and at night when you’re snuggled under the duvet. 

For devices like your TV and computer, it’s better for the environment to turn them off completely at the wall rather than leaving them on standby.

Additionally, replacing your light bulbs with LED lights will use around 85% less energy and last longer, meaning you won’t have to change them as regularly.

Switch energy providers

Renewable energy sources and availability have taken huge leaps in recent decades, making it easier to switch to sustainable energy sources than ever before. 

This will help you to reduce your carbon footprint. Companies like Bulb and Octopus Energy make the transition easy and will help you monitor your home’s carbon emissions.

You might also want to think about investing in making your home more sustainable by improving your insulation. 

If you’re planning to move house, check out the energy efficiency rating of properties. This will not only help your carbon footprint but save you money on bills.

Installing Solar Panels or Air Heat Pumps can help dramatically reduce your carbon footprint too. 

Recycle

Check what recycling is offered by your local authorities and then make sure you have all the right bins. 

Containers say whether or not they are recyclable, and make sure to clean the containers before you pop them in the recycling.

Long-term opportunities

Even if you live a relatively environmentally friendly life, with sustainable diets and low-impact travel habits, you probably could do more to counterbalance the emissions that stem from unavoidable necessities of modern life.

The only way to get to [carbon] zero and beyond is to couple behavior changes with active offsetting,” says Anthony Collias, one of the two co-founders. Treepoints gives users rewards points for offsetting their carbon by investing in projects that cancel out environmentally unfriendly lifestyle practices. 

“We help people understand their carbon footprint and then do something about it through offsetting their emissions. It is vital to us that climate action is affordable and accessible to everyone – a subscription to offset your entire carbon footprint costs less than the price of a coffee per month”;  Treepoints co-founder Wedderburn-Day. 

It works by calculating businesses and individuals’ carbon footprint through their carbon calculator, powered by data from the World Bank and the World Wildlife Federation. 

Once this is estimated, users or businesses will be able to select a comprehensive Treepoints planet positive subscription comprising a varied portfolio of tree planting, offsetting and recycling ocean-bound plastic vetted by some of the world’s leading UN-certified sustainable projects.

About the author 

Matt Tomkin

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
Subscribe to get the latest updates