Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge facing our world today. Rising global temperatures, changing weather patterns, and more intense storms are all evidence that climate-induced changes will only get worse with time.
Human activities release greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere – using electricity generated from fossil fuel power stations, burning gas for heating, or driving a car. Within the UK it is estimated that business activities account for about half of all emissions.
If you’re wondering how much CO2 the average person emits, there are figures out there. One source is Our World in Data, which allows you to look at per-capita CO2 emissions.
You can minimise your carbon footprint and help the environment in many different ways. Whether at home, work, school, or while you travel, small changes can add up.
To understand what your carbon footprint is, you need to look at several key areas of your lifestyle, including:
Your home energy use and waste
You might be surprised when you learn how much energy is used to power your home. There's a lot of factors in play here, like if and where sources come from for electricity or natural gas use - but also what kind of appliances they are!
If you have a car or bike, then your footprint will be different. The frequency that it's used also matters because of how much fuel is required for each trip depending on where people live/need to travel to every day.
It's important to know where your food comes from and how much energy is used in processing it. The more energy-intensive it is to produce and ship your food, the worse for the environment it generally is.
Your shopping habits
You may be surprised to know that the lifespan of a product can have an impact on how environmentally friendly it is. How often you purchase new electronics, household goods and clothing will also determine your carbon emissions level.
How to reduce your carbon footprint at home
Insulate your home
Heating your living space can be an expensive and energy-intensive process. By insulating places, you can make sure your home retains heat during the winter and stays cool in summer. So, you’ll use less energy, reduce your carbon footprint (and your bills).
Switch to renewables
Energy providers are now offering greener tariffs. By switching to a company that provides electricity from solar, wind, or hydroelectric energy, you can reduce your household emissions.
Buy energy efficient
Whether it’s buying energy-saving light bulbs or choosing appliances with a high energy star rating, you can make your home more eco-friendly. Additionally, make sure to turn off and unplug anything you’re not using.
Use less water
It takes energy and resources to process and deliver water to our homes. Try turning off the taps when brushing your teeth, having short showers rather than baths, and only boiling the water you need.
Change your diet
The food we eat can have a significant impact on the environment. For example, meat and dairy products require a lot of lands, water, and energy to produce. They also create a lot of methane, a greenhouse gas. By eating fewer animal products, especially red meat, (or choosing a plant-based diet) and shopping for locally sourced food, you can make a big difference.
How to reduce your carbon footprint at work
Turn off the lights
Powering empty rooms and office space is a huge energy drain. By making sure you turn off lights and appliances when they’re not in use, you can make sure you’re not wasting power. You could also request to install automatic, movement-sensing lights and energy-saving LED bulbs to address the issue.
It’s never been easier to collaborate with others online. Whether through sharing documents using cloud storage or video conferencing instead of traveling, you can reduce your waste and emissions.
Cycle to work
Cycling and walking are two of the most environmentally friendly ways to travel. And, not only are they good for the planet, but they’re also good for your health. Your employer might even have a scheme that can help you purchase a bike.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Companies of all sizes use a host of different products in their day-to-day running. Whether it’s things like paper, electronic devices, packaging, or water, it all has a carbon footprint. By reducing the amount of waste you generate, reusing IT equipment, and recycling waste, you can make a real difference.
Eliminate single-use plastic
Single-use plastics may be convenient, yet they’re fairly dreadful for the environment. Not only do they pollute our waterways and oceans, but they also require energy to produce and recycle. You can stop using things like disposable coffee cups and cutlery to reduce your company’s carbon footprint.
Check here how we improve our climate emissions at Whatever Brands.