The average person in the UK has an annual carbon footprint of about 12.19 tonnes – a fairly staggering amount.1 When we’re talking numbers like that it can feel overwhelming and perhaps impossible to start combatting climate change.
But it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint there are a number of small (and larger) steps you can take. Some of these can even help you save money.
Here are some ways you can get started.
Small changes you can make straight away
Reduce your energy usage
Only use your heating when you’re home and really need it. Dry your clothes on a line, or rack, rather than use a tumble dryer. Also, you could replace light bulbs with LED bulbs. LED bulbs may be more expensive to buy, but they can save you money and energy over the long term.
Switch energy provider
Some energy providers offer energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar, rather than fossil fuels. Look at how your current energy supplier stacks up against competitors in the market. You may find there's another provider that offers a more affordable and cleaner way of getting your energy.
Be selective about your shopping
Buying only the things you need can have an immediate impact on your finances and your carbon footprint, as can buying recycled or pre-owned goods where possible. And, although it may cost more at the outset, buying better quality – from clothes to white goods – can save you money in the long run as they’ll last longer.
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If possible, opt to walk, cycle or use public transport instead of driving.
Changes you can make over the longer term
Holiday closer to home
Flying makes up a substantial amount of our carbon footprint; taking trips that don’t require a plane journey can significantly reduce your overall impact.
Make home improvements
If your home – including your loft – is well insulated it should improve its ability to retain heat and reduce your reliance on central heating, as can double or triple glazing your windows. This may in turn save you money by reducing your energy usage.
Create your own energy
Renewable energy, such as solar and ground source heat pumps, can significantly reduce your energy use and your bills over time, however they can be expensive and time consuming to install. If you’re considering installing a renewable energy source, check whether you’d be eligible for any government benefits, or subsidies like the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive.
Upgrade your car
When it comes time to buy a new car, and as they become more affordable over time, an electric or hybrid vehicle may be an option, meaning you can minimise the amount of petrol you use. If you’re in London, driving an electric, or plug-in electric hybrid vehicle, can help you avoid the daily £11.50 Congestion Charge fee.
Make green investments
If you’re an investor, look at sustainable options that enable you to have a positive impact. More than half of UK investors have increased their sustainable investments over the past five years.2
When it comes to saving and reducing your carbon footprint every little bit counts. The sooner you start, the more impact you’ll be able to have.
You can use the World Wildlife Foundation’s Footprint Calculator to assess your current impact:
And you can see more about how to build your savings: