A carbon footprint corresponds to the whole amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) produced to, directly and indirectly, support a person's lifestyle and activities. Carbon footprints are usually measured in equivalent tons of CO2, during the period of a year, and they can be associated with an individual, an organization, a product or an event, among others.
The GHGs whose sum results in a carbon footprint can come from the production and consumption of fossil fuels, food, manufactured goods, materials, roads or transportation. And despite its importance, carbon footprints are difficult to calculate exactly due to poor knowledge and short data regarding the complex interactions between contributing processes – including the influence of natural processes that store or release carbon dioxide.
We've outlined our 10 favourite ways to reduce carbon footprint at home to help you on your journey to a greener future:
Reducing carbon emissions at home starts with ensuring lights, TVs and other electricals are off when not in use. Standby mode still consumes energy so it doesn't count, unfortunately.
This includes purchasing appliances with a good energy rating and using LED bulbs over traditional bulbs.
Don't use your tumble dryer if it's warm enough to line dry your washing and keep your thermostat at a comfortable 18°C.
Your waste needs to be processed, either at landfill or recycling plants. Reducing your waste helps reduce the energy required to process it. For help on reducing food waste, see our article here. For tips on cutting out plastic, read our article on going plastic free at home.
Products you can wash and reuse are an easy way to reduce your waste. Try swapping cloth nappies and sanitary products for reusable options, plastic straws for reusable metal ones, and plastic shampoo bottles for plastic free shampoo bars.
Plastic containers make great lunchboxes and there are lots of recipes you can create using leftover food.
Don't forget to check with your local recycling plant as some plastics and other materials may not be suitable for recycling.
If you can walk or cycle to your destination then this will help to reduce your carbon footprint.
This could include having solar panels on your roof or simply switching to an eco-friendly energy provider.
The meat production industry has a large carbon footprint, due to the large amount of energy required to mass produce to demand. Swapping to plant-based meals, even just a couple of times a week, can help significantly.