Some simple steps to reduce your carbon footprint

A few simple ways that will help you to start reducing your carbon footprint.

Cllr L PepperThere are many ways that you can start to reduce your carbon footprint.
 

Insulate your home

Insulating your home helps reduce the amount of energy needed to heat it. A quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home. Insulating your loft, attic or flat roof is a simple way to reduce heat loss and reduce your heating bills. Draught proof your house by blocking the edges of doors and windows. Replacing an inefficient gas boiler can also yield important energy gains.

Downscaling to a smaller home could also make energy savings.
 

Change a light

Replace halogen bulbs with more energy efficient LED bulbs. According to They consume at least 75% less energy than traditional lighting.
 

Turn off electronic devices

Turn off your television, DVD player, stereo, and computer, when not in use. Careful use of technology and appliances not only saves energy, it'll also saves money when your monthly bill arrives.
 

Adjust your thermostat

Lower your thermostat. You can save 3% on your heating bill for each degree you lower your thermostat.
 

Use less hot water

It takes a lot of energy to heat water. Use less hot water by taking shorter and cooler showers and washing your clothes in cold or warm instead of hot water (and hang them on the line rather than using the dryer). If we boil too much water to make a tea, that can double the carbon footprint of the tea, irrespective of the transport and the production emissions.
 

Cut down on meat consumption

Production of red meat and dairy are especially carbon intensive (cows are primary offenders and an estimated 1.3 to 1.5 billion cows live on the planet, that's a lot of methane!) It's generally agreed that you could cut your carbon footprint by around 20 per cent by switching to a vegan diet. Please note latest research. A 'flexitarian' diet which includes one portion of meat a day has a lower carbon footprint than a vegetarian diet that includes dairy, according to a major new study. By giving up meat and supplementing your intake with dairy products such as Halloumi cheese, yogurt and crème fraiche, vegetarians are only fractionally improving their carbon footprint.

The research shows they would be better cutting down on dairy products, increasing their fruit and vegetable intake and eating meat once a day for protein and energy. They call this a "two thirds vegan" diet. Here in the UK, the average healthy two-thirds vegan diet contributes the equivalent of 762.7 kg of Carbon Dioxide emissions (CO2e) per-person, compared with 1,265.2 kg for a vegetarian diet that includes dairy.
 

Buy locally and only what you need

Buy from your local markets. It reduces your carbon footprint (and usually tastes better). Food which requires an intensive production process (as well as air freight to reach shelves), has greater environmental impact. UK households waste 4.5m tonnes of food a year that could have been eaten, worth £14bn. This amounts to £700 for an average family with children. Household food waste represents 70% of all food waste triggered after the food has been grown or produced, with potatoes the single most wasted food.
 

Avoid products with a lot of packaging

On average, packaging accounts for about 5% of the energy used in the life cycle of a food product making it a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. And for some products, the packaging used has an even bigger impact on climate change than the fuel used to ship it to market. Plastics and their by-products are littering our cities, oceans, and waterways, and contributing to health problems in humans and animals.
 

Recycle and reuse

Recycle and reuse household items by taking them to your local charity shop or repair café. Any new purchase comes with an embedded carbon price tag. The embodied carbon in everything we buy (particularly single use or throw away stuff), has a real, big impact on our climate. Your phone and all the components has quite a big carbon footprint. Reuse and reduce should form the pillars of your sustainable ideology.
 

Buy second hand clothes

Fast fashion expels 1.2bn tonnes of CO2 a year (more than the aviation and shipping industries combined) - the wear-once-then-toss attitude permeating high street fashion means that racks of flimsy clothes are quickly transformed into one million tonnes of waste a year, much of will be incinerated or added to landfill. Vast number of microplastics contained in artificial materials, are released into the water supply each time it's washed. Up to 35 % of the microplastics in the ocean are from clothing. On water usage too, fast fashion is a vast drain - an estimated 79 billion cubic metres of fresh water is consumed each year by the industry, and 10-20,000 litres of water is swallowed in the production of a shirt and a pair of jeans.
 

Drive less or switch to electric

Walk, cycle, carpool or go on public transport. Take a train to Europe. A plane out & back to London to Paris takes 3.5 hours producing 244Kg CO2. Travelling by Eurostar takes 2.75 hours and produces 22Kg CO2 per passenger. That's 91 % less! Electric cars are much cleaner and over their lifetime comparable or even cheaper in cost than petrol or diesel cars. Overall, aim to cut down on your vehicle usage.
 

Check your tyres

Keeping your tyres inflated properly can improve your petrol mileage by more than 3 percent. Cars spew out up to 306,000 extra tons of carbon dioxide per year because their tyres are under-inflated. These emissions directly contribute to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
 

Plant a tree

A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime (planting is best done between October and April).

 

Why not make 2021, the year to create an eco-friendly garden with a vegetable patch, bee & bird boxes, rewilding your garden or lawn, planting a tree, using environmentally friendly weed killers & garden equipment, composing your garden waste and only burning dry garden waste (clean timber, cardboard or paper-plastics, rubber, paint and oil cause pollution and are harmful to our health).Please have your fire early morning or evening to avoid causing a nuisance to your neighbours.

Lastly, a special thank you to all our local town & parish councils, residents, clubs, churches, voluntary and campaigning groups for making Uttlesford green and clean. Your support is greatly appreciated

 

Cllr Louise Pepper

Portfolio holder for Environment and Green Issues and Equalities

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