How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

    Blog, Bruntwood,
    How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

    With Downing Street this week announcing that COP26 should catalyse the world’s strong fightback against climate change, there’s no better time to think about how we can all introduce small changes into our lives which, together, make the target of 1.5 degrees more achievable. We’ve looked at what this means in real terms, and steps we can all take to reduce our carbon footprint.

    Firstly, what exactly is a carbon footprint?

    Put simply, climate change or ‘global warming’ as it is alternately known, occurs when greenhouse gases are released due to the production and/or consumption of goods and services. ‘Greenhouse gas’ is an umbrella term referring to a number of gases which occur naturally (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapour) and several more which are synthetic (these are known as fluorinated gases). An overabundance of these gases causes heat to become trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, which warms the planet - just like a greenhouse traps in heat to encourage plants and veg to grow. As global temperatures rise as a result, weather patterns change and the associated ecology is disrupted. 

    Greenhouse gases are produced by cars and planes; by the manufacture of food and clothing; and by burning coal, oil and natural gases to produce heat or electricity. The amount of these gases which each of us give off through any of these activities is known as our ‘carbon footprint’.

    Why is this a problem?

    According to the United Nations, the global population will be at 10.9 billion by the end of the century. More people means more emissions - but it also means the planet’s natural resources are depleted even faster.

    Rising temperatures cause sea levels to rise as polar ice caps melt, with greater risks of flooding in some parts of the world, while others suffer droughts - both of which affect farming and impact heavily on people’s health as well as local, national and global economies.

    In order to manage the catastrophic effects of climate change, The Paris Agreement, which came into force in 2016, aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. To do this, our collective carbon footprint needs to be reduced.

    What can I do to help?

    We’ve put together 4 simple and easy-to-implement steps to help us all, as individuals, contribute towards reducing global carbon emissions and reaching that 1.5 target.

    1. Eat seasonally - When you buy your fruit and veg, think about what grows naturally in this country at that time of year. Foods which are out of season will have to be imported, usually by plane, meaning more greenhouse gas emissions as a result.

    2. Cycle or walk to work - If you can, try active commuting such as cycling or walking. On average, a car will produce 2.04 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, so that alone would be a huge reduction. Not to mention the huge benefits cycling has for mental wellbeing.

    3. Eco-friendly clothes - It may be hard to believe, but the manufacture of clothes accounts for around 10% of the world’s carbon emissions. Using an eco-friendly clothing label could be a step towards cutting your carbon footprint, since many of these labels employ less industrialised methods in creating their products. But watch out - several clothing companies which claim to run sustainable labels aren’t actually sustainable at all, so it’s a good idea to do your research. It’s also a good idea to recycle or repurpose clothes, where possible. And buying second-hand is another way of offsetting the impact of initial manufacture.

    4. Renewable and sustainable energy - Have you ever thought of having solar panels fitted to your home? Solar energy isn’t the only renewable energy source out there, but it is definitely one of the most accessible - and 100% sustainable. As the sun comes out every day, sunlight is a form of energy that can not be depleted - and it can cut out huge chunks of your energy usage, meaning your bills are reduced.

    And there you have it - hopefully, there’s an idea here which you can take away and start using today… Do you have any others? Let us know @Bruntwood_UK.

    Back to News & Events