Whether you are just getting started, or a seasoned environmentalist, there are always things we can change to cut our own impact on the environment. Many of them save money and can also be life enhancing too. Changing some of our regular habits can help cut our carbon footprint, reduce our impacts on animals and wildlife or even move away from products which drive deforestation. Some changes take 15 minutes, other are more about changing aspects of our lifestyles and doing things differently. Here are some ideas to get started and we have split them out into Little changes and Planet savers to make it easier to pick the ones which work for you and your lifestyle.
- Swap dairy for Plant based milk
Cut your carbon footprint, and the amount of land needed to feed you!
- Plant based milk has a carbon footprint of under half that of normal milk.
- Oat milk has one of the lowest carbon footprints of any plant based milk.
- Wash your hair with a bar of shampoo
This will help you cut back on plastic, save money and chemicals too.
- Shampoo bars tend to be more natural with fewer chemicals.
- Save a huge amount of plastic – no more shampoo bottles and some are so good you don’t need conditioners.
- Less plastic clutter in your bathroom.
- Run your dishwasher eco setting
Save money, save hot water and still have clean dishes.
- The water in eco mode only gets heated to 50C rather than 60C for many normal washers.
- Using the eco model could save you 50kg of carbon over the year if you’re a regular dishwasher user.
- Less energy used means a smaller electricity bill.
4. Stop using single use plastic water bottles
Saves money, tap water is free. Cuts plastic waste.
- Save money – why pay for something that comes out of the tap for free?
- Save plastic. The average UK person will use 150 plastic water bottles every year.
- Bottled water has a carbon footprint that is almost 300 times that of tap water.
5. Don’t buy any new clothes for 3 months
Save money, cut water use in some of the world’s most exploited areas and reduce support for fast fashion.
- There are £10bn worth of clothes unworn in cupboards across the UK.
- To make one pair of jeans can use 5,000 litres of water, that’s 4 months of showers.
- People don’t wear 50% of their wardrobe some of it brand new.
6. Take the train
One of the least carbon intensive ways to travel with no traffic jams.
- Trains emit 85% less carbon than cars.
- For a 100 mile journey a petrol car pumps out over 30kg of carbon, a train is just 4kg per person.
- As well as carbon dioxide cars pump out other air pollution such as nitrogen oxides which are especially harmful to young children.
7. Switch to renewable energy
This is one of the biggest reductions you can make, it doesn’t need to cost more, and you can do it in half an hour.
- The average UK household emits over 950kg of carbon very year from electricity, you can cut this to under 100kg (until you go off grid then it’s zero).
- The most heavy carbon emitting electricity companies emit 18 times more carbon than the greenest.
- Green electricity prices are now comparable, and sometimes cheaper, than standard tariffs.
- The more people who demand green electricity the more investment will go into renewables.
8. Stop flying long haul
Long haul travel is one of the worst things you can do for the environment. Cutting one flight will make a huge carbon saving.
- Air travel has higher emissions than many other forms of travel because on top of the fuel burnt the vapour trails that planes leave create a certain type of cloud that traps heat.
- Save money because flying is expensive.
- A flight to Orlando (one of the most popular long haul destinations) creates over 2 tonnes of carbon emissions, that’s more than a year’s food for the average UK person.
- Cuts down on airport mayhem and security checks.
9. Cut out red meat
Move to a diet that has no, or very little beef and lamb. This is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint in your diet. It also saves you money, and is kinder to cows and lambs as well.
- Cutting red meat can reduce the impact of your diet by around 25%.
- A diet without red meat reduces the amount of land needed to feed you by over 40% because of all the land needed for animal feed and grazing.
- Soy plantations are leading to deforestation especially of the Amazon, 85% of soy is for animal feed.
- Red meat has a carbon footprint of almost 20 times that of most fruit and veg.
10. Turn thermostats down in your home.
Turn your thermostat down by 1C and see how it feels. Cut carbon emissions and gas bills.
- 68% of UK households could turn their thermostats down by 1C and still be at 18C or above (the level considered comfortable).
- Cut your gas bills through winter.
- The typical UK household could save over 300kg of carbon emissions.
- Within UK homes, space heating and domestic hot water account for 79% of household energy requirements so it’s a good area to make significant reductions.
If you want to find out more, we have built Giki Zero, a digital eco planner to help you cut your environmental impact by up to half.