8 ways to reduce your carbon footprint

Western consumer culture is having disastrous effects on the environment, there is no doubt about that. It may come to mind that one person’s actions won’t make a huge difference to our oceans and forests, but your lifestyle makes more of a difference than you think.

Here is a list of simple but smart things to do to lower your carbon footprint:

Use reusable bags when you go shopping – Having one at hand will mean that there’s no need to buy one. It not only reduces the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean or on landfill sites, but will save you five pence every time.

Shop at plastic free stores – This will reduce the number of shoppers at major supermarkets and cause them to reconsider their packaging options. Buying groceries from markets helps to support local farmers and decreases food miles. Here are a few stores around London to which you bring your own containers and jars:


Think eco-friendly holidays – This may be the hardest thing to do, as the quickest way to get to your destination would be by plane. Aeroplanes contribute to climate change and global dimming because engines release harmful gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide. Try finding alternative travel options and consider staying in eco lodges.

Reduce your meat intake – Animals require vast areas of land and clearing land for cultivation is common. Once mass producers realise that demand for meat is decreasing, less land will be needed for cultivation and this in turn means less deforestation. Madeleine Wild from Forum For The Future states “Your diet makes up 75% of your personal carbon footprint (on average)- eat more plant-based foods, meat rarely”.

Buy your grooming products from waste-free stores or make your own – Stores like Lush sell products without the packaging. Alternatively, you could switch to making your own soaps, shampoos and toothpaste. You might be surprised at how much healthier and cost effective this change could be. Some ingredients that are required may already be in your kitchen. Not only would it be healthier for you, but it would lessen the billions of tonnes of non-recyclable plastics that get thrown away each year.

Commute by bike – When you get the opportunity, commute by bike or on foot. Once you know the main cycle routes to work, for example, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t take up cycling before. Bikes are cost efficient and do not contribute to greenhouse gases like cars and public transport do.

Go paper-free – This includes bank statements, letters from your energy providers and using online books instead of the physical form. Deforestation is a real issue and technical advancements mean that everything can be accessed on a single device; having all your apps on your phone or tablet is the way forward.

Research where you buy your clothes and shoes from – Most fashion brands use dyes that are toxic to marine wildlife and human health. We are all guilty of buying into outlets that aren’t ethical, but if you don’t agree with a company’s manufacturing process, don’t buy from them. The Guardian explains how dyes are harmful:


“The next ten years will make or break the future” expresses Wild. Our everyday habits, and western consumer culture as a whole, needs to make a swift change.

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