How to reduce your carbon footprint through daily actions

by Daniel King

We were recently asked "Which actions can we take to reduce our carbon footprint?" by the people over at porch.com as part of their 'Q&A with the experts' series.

Here's what we had to say.

Reducing your carbon footprint isn’t an easy, overnight job but it is an important one.

Thankfully, there are lots of small steps you can take to start making a difference. If all of us made these small changes, the difference could be massive!

Our top 5 actions to reduce our carbon footprint at home are:

  1. Eat less meat. There’s no denying that industrial meat farming has a huge environmental impact. Whether that’s from deforestation for grazing or growing feed, to the intense water use and methane emissions. It’s unrealistic to ask everyone to go vegan, but if we all reduced our meat consumption, this would be a great start.
  2. Buy local produce. As well as eating less meat, reducing your food’s air miles can drastically help reduce your home carbon footprint. Check out local butchers, delis, and grocers instead of big supermarkets and ask where the produce comes from.
  3. Meal plan before you shop. Global carbon emissions from food waste are 6 times higher than the whole aviation industry. If food waste was a country, it would be third on the ‘highest carbon footprint’ list – just behind the USA and China. By meal planning and writing a shopping list from that plan, you can make sure you only buy what you need which in turn, reduces food waste.
  4. Walk and cycle more, use the car less. Getting out in nature by walking or cycling is a great way to help reduce your carbon footprint and improve your mental wellbeing. It’s not possible for a lot of people to switch to these methods for their commute, so how about taking public transport or car-pooling? This can still reduce your carbon footprint!
  5. Be a conscious consumer. We’re unfortunately living in a throw-away generation. When something looks worn or broken, it gets thrown away and a replacement is bought. Items are getting cheaper and more poorly made making this way of consuming unsustainable. Trade-related freight currently makes up 7% of global carbon emissions and as our consumer habits intensify, it is expected to increase fourfold by 2050. This will go from 2,108 million tonnes (2010) to an expected 8,131 million tonnes (2050). So before you buy, consider if you really need it. Can the old version be repaired? Can you buy the item second hand? Will the new version last? Is it made from eco-friendly materials?

Make sure you read the rest of the answers by experts on 'How to Achieve a Zero Waste Lifestyle' too!