From reducing waste to buying local, households can do a lot to reduce their carbon footprint. According to data shared by Citu, an average family in the UK produces 2.7 tonnes of carbon every year by heating their home. Everyday activities such as using electricity generated from coal or gas, heating homes and driving cars emit greenhouse gases. The products you buy also contribute to carbon emissions because they require fossil fuels in manufacturing, packaging and transportation.
Fortunately, households can reduce their carbon footprint by being environmentally friendly. Although going green sounds daunting, you can achieve the best results by following simple steps. Replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs and upgrading your heating controls, for example, are simple and effective ways to reduce energy waste in your home. Keep reading to discover other practical ways to reduce your household carbon emissions.
Perform a home energy audit
The first step to making your home greener is to perform an energy audit. A home energy assessment helps you understand your home’s energy use and what steps you can take to reduce energy use. Some of the energy saving opportunities you will discover during an audit include replacing your old dial thermostat with a programmable thermostat and cleaning your air ducts. You may also want to change your showerheads to ones that use less water or upgrade your kitchen appliances to energy-efficient models. Insulating your home and installing double-pane windows are other great tactics that home energy auditors recommend to reduce your home’s carbon emissions.
Take advantage of renewable energies
Much of the electricity you use in your home is produced in coal-fired power plants. These plants pollute the environment with toxic fumes, contributing to climate change. Fortunately, the average family can reduce their environmental impact by switching to renewable energy. Electricity generated from solar, geothermal and wind power can significantly help your home reduce carbon emissions, as no greenhouse gases are emitted during electricity generation.
In addition to making your home greener, wind, solar and geothermal energy help you save money on your electricity bills. Many energy companies offer greener tariffs at lower prices. You can also install solar panels in your home and enjoy zero monthly energy bills. When you choose solar panels, you only pay for the equipment and installation.
Make recycling and reuse a priority
Throwing garbage in landfills doesn’t sound harmful, but it is. Note that landfills are a major source of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce your family’s carbon footprint, you need to encourage recycling. Teach your kids to recycle household items like glass, plastic, steel, aluminum cans, magazines, and newspapers. In addition to recycling waste, your family can minimize resource consumption and carbon emissions by reusing furniture, toys, clothing, and packaging materials. For example, instead of buying new furniture, you can reupholster, repaint, and refurbish old furniture. Also, turn old packaging materials into decorative items, repair tires before replacing them, and donate toys and clothing.
Use reusable diapers
Disposable diapers have many environmental impacts as the production process requires liters of water and produces tons of waste that must be treated on site. When thrown into landfills, the diapers take around 250 years to decompose. Here they emit toxic gases like methane, one of the main causes of global warming. Although disposable diapers are sometimes necessary, using reusable diapers from time to time can help reduce your family’s overall carbon footprint.
Cloth or washable diapers require 98% less raw materials for their production compared to disposable diapers. Additionally, manufacturers use ethical methods to make reusable diapers. Typically, waste produced during production is recycled and used to make plush toys. Other benefits of using cloth diapers include cost savings, reusable packaging, and support for local businesses selling reusable diapers.
Be aware of what you eat
The food you and your family eat every day has a significant impact on the climate. Globally, food production accounts for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, with dairy and meat producing the most carbon emissions. To ensure that your household decreases its carbon footprint, consider consuming less red meat. This means eating vegetables, fruits and grains more often. If you must consume a diet with meat, reduce cow and sheep meat as they produce methane in large quantities.
In addition to reducing meat consumption at home, buy locally produced foods. Indeed, transporting foodstuffs from other regions by boat, train or plane requires the use of fossil fuels for gasoline and the cooling of perishable foodstuffs during transport. As a result, the rate of carbon emissions increases. Other practical ways to ensure your household eats sustainably include growing your food, buying in season, reducing your food waste, composting, and avoiding eating highly processed meals.
Household carbon emissions represent a significant percentage of the total carbon footprint in the UK and globally. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for the average family to reduce their impact on the environment. This includes recycling, repurposing and reusing household items, investing in energy-efficient appliances, eating sustainably, using cloth diapers and switching to renewable energy.