A day doesn’t pass without mention of the environment at the moment, and for good reason. But as stories flood in about the damage done to our natural world, it can be all too easy to take a backseat and think that it’s best left to the experts.
The truth is, though, that a huge collective effort is needed to change the course of climate change, and everyone needs to play their part. Even the simplest, individual changes can make a huge difference – especially when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint.
To help you start thinking of ways you can live more consciously, here we look at 12 easy changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Cut Out Single-Use Plastic
Single-use plastics are a blight on our natural world, damaging precious ecosystems and impacting marine life across the food chain. And while the world is slowly waking up to the realities of these damaging plastics, there’s still more to do.
Committing to cutting out single-use plastic is one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. And it’s easier than you think, with more plastic-free products out there than ever before.
- Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
Of course, plastic can’t be avoided altogether, and in many cases it’s better than the alternatives. But with that comes the absolute need for household recycling; a little effort from everyone could make all the difference in our fight against plastic reaching landfill.
Local councils in the UK do an excellent job of encouraging recycling; they also couldn’t make it any easier. With dedicated bins and free food waste bags, recycling is easier than ever – so we should all do our bit to break the cycle.
- Get Yourself a Reusable Cup
Regular commuter? Then you’ll know all too well the number of single-use items you can go through day-to-day. From food packages and water bottles to the dreaded coffee cup; it’s easy to accumulate large amounts of plastic and waste when you’re on the move, but there is a solution.
A reusable cup, water bottle and lunch box can help save hundreds of single-use plastics from going to landfill, so it’s well worth investing if you’re conscious of how much plastic you get through during the working week.
- Eat Less Meat
We’re not ones to point the finger at meat-eaters, but it’s now a truth universally acknowledged that we could do to slow down on our meat consumption. The meat industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters, so making the decision to cut meat from your diet, even if it’s just for a couple of days a week, could make all the difference.
If you think you’d struggle to live without meat, try to add some variety to the mix. Beef, chicken and pork are the three main types of meat consumed in the UK, and this puts immense strain on the production of just three types of animals. Instead, talk to your local butcher about different cuts, so your impact is reduced and you try something new.
- Buy Local
Whether you’re a meat-lover, a vegetarian or a vegan, the truth is that a lot of our food travels a long way to reach our plates, meaning it racks up its own carbon footprint just to get to our bellies. Big supermarkets are partly responsible for this, as part of their relentless pursuit to price competitively.
That’s why, by committing to buying local, seasonal produce, you can dramatically reduce the amount of energy and resources it takes to feed you and your family. From farmers markets to allotment cooperatives, there are lots of ways to get your hands on homegrown local produce, and we promise it will be well worth the effort.
- Reduce Food Waste
A lot of the food we buy ends up in the bin, meaning that all that energy, time and resource spent cultivating and getting it to our kitchen cupboards was wasted. Indeed, food waste accounts for a huge proportion of carbon emissions from UK households, so it’s important to avoid throwing food out where you can.
There are lots of easy ways to reduce household food waste. For starters, only buy the food you know you’re going to eat; this can be achieved through careful meal planning. You should also make use of leftovers, or freeze them for later. Basic changes like these might sound simple to some, but they’re worth remembering.
- Turn Down that Thermostat
It’s amazing what difference a couple of degrees makes. Say you regularly turn your thermostat up to 22°C; turning it down to 20°C will not only save you a shedload of cash, but it will save huge amounts of energy, ultimately reducing your household carbon emissions.
We know there’s nothing worse than being chilly at home, but by clicking the thermostat down and donning your best woolly jumper, you’ll be surprised at the positive impact this can have.
- Research Green Energy Initiatives
Thousands of homes across the UK aren’t equipped with the appropriate insulation, meaning that millions of tonnes of energy are wasted each year in heat loss. Thankfully, the government knows this, and has a range of initiatives to help households bolster their home’s insulation and, ultimately, waste less energy.
A quick search of green energy initiatives in your local area, and you’ll be well on your way to getting your home properly insulated by the government, often for free. Give it a try and see what kind of help you can get.
- Fit a Low-Pressure Shower Head
We all like a shower, but did you know that they’re responsible for more wasted water than any other household appliance? The good news is, there are ways to cut down on how much water you use while showering – without physically avoiding having a shower altogether.
Modern shower heads are built to use less water while still delivering decent enough water pressure for you to clean those luscious locks. If your shower head is a little old, upgrading it could make all the difference in how much water you use while showering. Failing that, make that 10-minute shower more of a 5-minute shower.
- Drive Less
Easier said than done, we know, but driving remains a major contributor to carbon emissions, so much so that the government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
It could be said that we take driving for granted here in the UK, with many of us reaching for the car keys without thinking about it. But, some trips could easily be completed on foot, by bike, or, dare we say, via public transport – all of which could help to reduce your carbon footprint in the long term.
- Maintain Your Car
We know lots of people rely on their car to get from A to B, and that using it less is just out of the question. In this case, it’s important to stay on top of your car’s maintenance and upkeep; there are lots of regular checks you can do that will help reduce your car’s environmental impact and make each journey more ecological.
First, always make sure the tyres are inflated to the right pressure, so that the car can run as efficiently as possible. You should also avoid using air conditioning, as this wastes fuel. Stick to speed limits too; they’re in place for more than just safety, helping to limit pollution and maintain air quality.
- Combine Trips
As touched on earlier, driving is second nature and it’s easy to use your car for everything. But, quick trips and errands are what have the biggest impact. That’s because your car isn’t running as efficiently as it would on a longer journey, meaning it burns more fuel and releases more harmful emissions.
If you’re having what we like to call an odd-jobs day, try to combine trips out in the car so you get all your jobs done in one journey. This will help reduce the impact of all those quick trips.
What We’re Doing to Reduce Our Carbon Footprint at Bristol Aquarium
At Bristol Aquarium, we are hugely passionate about conservation and caring for the natural world. As individuals and a collective, we have made conscientious decisions and changes to our day-to-day lives to help reduce our carbon footprint. Here are just a few of the things we are doing to help the environment.
We are regularly in contact with our suppliers with a view to reducing the volume of plastic used. It is always our intention to use suppliers who are able to support our business goals and also subscribe to our environmental policies. This extends throughout our business, but is perhaps most pertinent in our café and gift shop, where we are continuing our efforts to reduce the volume of plastic packaging and products.
Recycling is one of the pillars of our carbon footprint reduction drive – with extensive effort to limit waste sent to landfill and actively recycle as much waste as possible. We work closely with an eco-friendly sanitary collection provider to remove waste from our site in the greenest possible manner.
And, perhaps most importantly, we organise and produce displays and events which raise awareness of the importance of caring for the planet. By providing clear, usable information and guidance, we hope a trip to Bristol Aquarium can inspire visitors to make their own life choices which will help reduce their carbon footprint.
We hope this guide gets you thinking about all the simple ways you can reduce your carbon footprint. For more from Bristol Aquarium, or to find out more about our brilliant aquarium, visit the homepage today.