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How to reduce your carbon footprint

Some simple actions you can take that will help keep the planet healthy for generations to come.

Bikes at canal

We hear a lot about climate change and the devastating effects carbon pollution is having on the planet. From extreme flood events to food insecurity caused by altered weather patterns, there's no questioning that carbon pollution is leaving its toll on the planet. It can be difficult, however, to work out what you can do to help.

Here are some simple actions you can take that will help keep the planet healthy for generations to come.

Change your light bulbs

An easy fix you can make that will help the planet every day is to switch all of the lights in your house to energy efficient LED bulbs.  Not only could you save up to £35 a year on your energy bills, replacing these inefficient bulbs could make a real impact on our national energy consumption.

Unplug your gadgets

Completely powering off your gadgets isn't just good for your devices, it's good for the planet. What's even better is unplugging your chargers when they're not in use and pulling the plug instead of leaving devices on standby.

Take public transport or car share

The average motorist now spends three full years of their life driving, with each car emitting its own weight in carbon dioxide every year.  Walking, cycling or taking the bus or train to work helps to slash down the number of cars on the road. There are also clear benefits with car sharing using a site like Tripshare West Lothian.

Choose a laptop over a desktop

Laptops, unlike desktop computers, are designed to be energy-efficient, because battery life is a major factor to laptop design. According to EU Energy Star, a laptop can be up to 80% more energy-efficient than a desktop. Energy-efficient LCD screens, hard drives, CPUs and adaptors all factor into making makes laptops much better tools for the planet.

Filter your own water

If you still buy packaged bottled water, you're doing the planet a major disservice. Beyond the environmental toll of the plastic waste from each 16 ounce serving, consider just how far your water was transported before you bought it in the supermarket. If you live in most western countries, tap water is perfectly suitable for consumption, especially if you filter it yourself.

Adjust your thermostat and your curtains

Simple adjustments to moderate the temperature in your house can make a big difference for the planet. If you keep your house one or two degrees cooler in the winter you can make big savings on your energy bills. Similarly, closing your curtains at night keeps in warmth. There are several energy-efficient curtains on the market that use insulation to help maintain the temperature of your home.

Buy local food

Purchasing foods that are both in season and grown locally can drastically cut down the carbon emissions of the vehicles used to transport out of season fruit and veg across the world. According to the Worldwatch Institute, food travels 1,500 miles on average between the farm and the supermarket. West Lothian has local food co-ops which sell fresh locally grown produce.

Plant a tree

This classic way to give back to the environment is one of the most efficient ways you can cut your carbon footprint. Trees provide shade and oxygen while consuming carbon dioxide. Just one 10-year-old tree releases enough oxygen into the air to support two human beings. If you can't physically plant a tree, you can support a tree planting program in Brazil by searching with Ecosia and help the environment for free.

Print or digital

People have been debating the environmental costs of consuming news online versus reading the print paper since the beginning of the digital media revolution. Newspapers, according to one study, cause roughly their weight in carbon emissions. However surfing the web expends energy, the amount of which varies based on the device you use.

The best policy to adopt when it comes to news consumption is to be mindful. If you subscribe to a printed paper, be sure to recycle it. If you prefer online news, chose an unplugged laptop or e-reader, rather than a plugged-in device for the majority of your browsing time.

Chose energy-efficient kitchen appliances

Though not the classiest option, microwaving your food is faster and often uses less energy than the oven. The real task at which microwaves excel is bringing water to a boil - and you won't even sacrifice taste. If you are using the oven, your food will cook faster on the upper shelf because heat rises.

 

For information on how to measure your carbon footprint and ways to reduce it go to the Energy Saving Trust website.