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10 ways to reduce your carbon footprint and save money

When it comes to saving and reducing your carbon footprint, every little bit counts.

Your carbon footprint is a way of showing the total amount of carbon emissions (carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases) released into the atmosphere as a result of your actions. These gases are known to trap heat, causing global warming.

Here, we look at ways you can lower your carbon footprint, and potentially save money.

1. Make your home more energy efficient

From switching to energy-efficient products to generating your own renewable energy – there are many ways you can reduce your carbon footprint at home. 

Heating, for example, can be expensive and use a lot of energy. Simple changes, like draft proofing lofts and unwanted gaps can reduce heat loss and the cost of keeping your home nice and warm. 

Explore: How to make your home energy efficient

2. Use less energy

Changing your daily habits at home can also make a difference and lower the cost of your energy bills.

Simple steps could help, such as not leaving gadgets on standby, drying your clothes outside when possible, instead of in a tumble dryer, and using less water. 

It takes energy and resources to process and deliver water to our homes. Try turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, having short showers instead of baths, and only boiling the water you need.

Explore: How to save money on energy

3. 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.

4. 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. 

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.

Explore more: How to make financial decisions you won't regret

5. Make changes to your diet

The food we eat can have a significant impact on the environment. For example, meat and dairy accounts for 14.5% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Food shipped from overseas also uses a lot more resources than local produce. 

Eating fewer animal products, especially red meat, and shopping for locally-sourced food can make a difference.  

6. Reduce food waste

When we waste food, we also waste the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. If it ends up in landfill, it also produces methane—a greenhouse gas that is more potent than carbon dioxide. 

You can reduce food waste by creating a budget, planning meals and storing your food carefully.  

Explore: How to save money on groceries and waste less

7. Drive less

If possible, opt to walk, cycle or use public transport instead of driving. 

If you were to travel between London and Glasgow, a journey in the average petrol car emits around 4 times more CO2e per passenger than the equivalent journey by coach.2

8. 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.

9. Upgrade your car when you can

When it comes time to buy a new car, and as they become more affordable, an electric or hybrid vehicle may be an option. It can help you minimise the amount of petrol you use. 

If you’re driving an electric or plug-in electric hybrid vehicle in London, you may qualify for the cleaner vehicle discount

10. Consider sustainable investing

Investors are increasingly choosing sustainable funds as a way to help create a better world. If you’re looking to invest and lower your carbon footprint – you may want to consider sustainable options that enable you to have a positive impact. 

Explore: What is sustainable investing?