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Reduce my Carbon Footprint 100 Ideas that work

Avoid using tap water to water your garden as tap water creates much carbon in its creation. Capture your rain water in old dustbins or barrels for the garden. The processing of tap water creates much carbon and so this can really help with your quest to reduce my carbon footprint.

Avoid buying bottled water. Apart from being ridiculously expensive (it’s just water!) it may have travelled half way round the planet to get to you. Surely tap water in your own reusable container will do?

Dont put your glass into your council recyling bins - put it in glass only bottle banks. Why ... well UK Councils and I suspect everywhere alse are given funds based upon the weight of recycling material they collect. Glass is heavy so they like having its weight added to your recycling bin as they get paid more. However when glass is mixed up with all your other recyling waste it is not possible even using the latest high tech Material recovery Facilities (MRF's) to properly recover it. Glass can only have a maximum of 50g of impurities per 1,000 kg. When it is mixed with all other waste it cannot be recovered anywhere near the required level. So as it cannot be reused as glass it usually ends up being wasted and used as aggregate in building and roads. A good glass recycling facility taking glass from bottle banks will achieve around 2.5g per 1,000 kg. If you have to make glass from its raw materials (sand, soda ash and limestone) then you require 1,800 degrees of heat. Melting existing glass and reusing it requires only 900 degrees. So put your glass in a bottle bank. This is a good option to take in your quest to "reduce my carbon footrprint"

Insulate your home. Ideally do it with a product that is not manufactured from carbon rich materials. Consider using insulation made from sheep fleece as it itself comes from a renewable resource.
Turn down the thermostat on your heating by one degree and see if anyone notices. Keep going until they do. Do you really need to sit in your house in the dead of winter in a T shirt? Put on a something warmer and enjoy a cooler house. The warmer the house the better for all sorts of bugs that make you ill, so keep it cool. You also burn more calories keeping your body warm – so lose weight whilst watching TV in a cool home. This is a good option to take in your quest to reduce my carbon footrprint.

Try not to buy new things that you will rarely use as they will have a huge embodied Carbon cost, from their manufacture. So instead of buying why not try and borrow things from friends.

Switch to energy efficient light bulbs and switch the lights off when no one is in the room – obvious but we leave them on.

Check your vehicles tyre pressures. Incorrectly inflated tyres will use much more fuel. As some sources quote a fuel saving of 10% over tyres that are just 10% too soft - this is a another good easy option to take in your quest to reduce my carbon footrprint

Why not leave the car and walk to the shops once a week.

Obviously recycle everything.

Do not buy a new car. Thinking of buying a brand new car as it will save carbon... well before you do consider the embodied carbon costs of the car. A car weighs 1,000 – 2,500 kgs. All of these Kg were once something that was mined or extracted from the planet. After it has been dug up it then gets refined in some way (usually using huge amounts of energy) to turn it into something else – think of iron ore being turned into steel. This product then gets shipped around a bit more and more energy is used to turn it into something else, maybe a sheet of steel. This sheet then travels off and gets turned into a car door and then gets transported again to another factory and eventually becomes your new car. Just think of all the thousands of components in a car that must be created from scratch and how much carbon gets released! The more complex the car and the more rare and highly processed components it contains the more carbon was released in its production. Whilst the Toyota Prius is the "darling" of the publicity conscious driver, it must have a massive embodied Carbon cost. So far Toyota have not released this data. No car company has yet come clean on the true embodied costs of their new cars – for good reasons – its horrific. A four year old car will be almost as fuel efficient as a new one. It will probably take you more than a hundred years for your small fuel saving to offset the embodied costs of your new cars production. This is a good option to take in your quest to reduce my carbon footrprint - save your money and do not buy a new car.

Use a propelling pencil as nothing is wasted.

Use a fountain pen rather disposable plastic pens.

Do not put your supermarket vegetables into separate little plastic bags – it’s just a waste of bags. Use your own reusable bag to cart all of the goodies home.

Print on both sides of the paper and use recycled inks.

Measure the fuel economy of your vehicle and after try all the techniques to see how much you can improve it. Just gentle acceleration and deceleration will give a noticeable saving and change gear lower at say 2,400 rpm. If it’s not blazing hot then do not run the air conditioning. Doing this in my car improves fuel consumption by 32%. This is an easy and satisfying task in your quest to reduce my carbon footprint

Use cleaning products that are not derived from oil – so look for vegetable based ones.

Wash your clothes at low temperatures, the detergents still work and the clothes don’t mind.

If you really really must wash your car then why not do it on the lawn, then the lawn gets water also and the water does not just wastefully go down the drain.

Books are lovely things and we all should have them, but we don’t have enough trees for all of us, so why not listen to books as audio files. And you don’t have to pay for them as thousands of classics are on the web and downloadable legally for free – don’t believe us – see http://librivox.org/

Put an old house brick in your toilets cistern/tank to reduce how much water it uses. Do not leave the tap running whilst you clean your teeth – it’s just wasting it.

Stop daydreaming in the shower and hurry up as loads of hot water is being wasted. If you get up late you know that you can shower in less than half the time.

Microwave opens use less than half the energy of a normal electric/gas oven to heat the same food.
Buy local food that is naturally growing in season. Do you really need to eat strawberries flown in from the other side of the planet? You want to eat fresh food, so what better that stuff growing locally.

Grow some vegetables in your garden or get an allotment. Compost all you suitable waste.

TV and Music – turn them off when you are not using them as “standby” still uses power. Surely you can’t be such a giant couch potato that you cannot press the off button.

Go on – try public transport – take a book or an iPod and try it, can it be that bad?

If you cannot manage this why not try and share a journey in a car with someone. It will halve the costs of the journey and they may be the most entertaining person you have ever met.

Stop reading this for a couple of minutes and have a good roam around your home and see what is plugged in and turned on but not in use. I bet you will find a few things like phone chargers slowly wasting electricity.

Eat less meat. Yes I know you like it but meat production is a big drain on the planet. If you can’t eat less then look at eating wild game, venison and pigeon are delicious.

Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones.

Buy a motorcycle! Small ones are light and very fuel efficient. Even the very enjoyable bigger ones are much more fuel efficient than a small car.

That tumble dryer is a magic thing, but it burns energy and carbon like no tomorrow – your stuff can still dry outside on a warm day.

Consider switching to green electricity, but look carefully at how it’s generated as much of it is not very green when you consider the overall net impact. See Carbon Offsetting Approaches to help you decide.

Why not have you next holiday in your own country and avoid the carbon disaster of a flight.

Please send us your suggestions to add to this ever growing list...