26 things you can do to help combat climate change
Ways to save water:
- Water use really does drive up emissions, so firstly, look to reduce your water consumption by claiming your free water saving kit from Essex and Suffolk Water
- Replace one bath with a shower a week, which can use around half of the water used to fill up a whole bath.
- Contrary to the above point, when washing dishes as opposed to yourself, filling up a washing-up bowl uses less water than letting the tap run.
- If you already favour the shower over a bath, challenge yourself to take just one minute less in the shower. Those minutes and litres saved over time really do add up.
Ways to save energy:
- Switch your appliances off at the wall when not in use, as leaving them on standby can use as much energy as when they are in use!
- Wash clothes at 30 degrees or lower. Reducing temperature from 40 to 30 could cost you 40% less. A cooler wash also helps keep clothes looking newer for longer.
- In the summer, close your blinds and keep windows shut in the day. At night, open the windows to keep the property cooler and reduce reliance on fans and air conditioners.
- In the wintertime, invest in draught exclusion materials and treat yourself to a new jumper to reduce reliance on heating. Reconsider individual heaters altogether, which use up a lot of energy and can be very costly. We also tend to have a set number that we turn our thermostats to in cold months, so try and turn this down by just one degree. You won’t feel the difference, but it will save you energy and money in the long run.
- Maximise wash loads and take advantage of good weather days by hanging clothes outside. You could also invest in a clothes horse which is one of the best ways to dry your clothes for reduced wrinkles.
- When making hot drinks, only boil the kettle with as much water as you need. By doing this, you will save energy and water (and money!).
Reducing your emissions:
- Swap your car journeys. Choosing to travel by bike or public transport is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Every journey counts and the more journeys you swap, the more pollution you prevent.
- Swap your plane journeys. Going long-haul? See if there’s an option to go by train such as the Eurostar or national rail.
- Invest in electric. See if your new vehicle or appliance has an electric or energy-saving alternative.
- Slow down. Speeding uses up more petrol and emits more CO2, especially if a police car has to catch up to pull you over for speeding.
- Don’t engine idle. If you're going to be parked for more than 30 seconds, turn off your engine and restart when you are ready to move on. You're likely to use less fuel, reduce unnecessary emissions, improve air quality and avoid the risk of receiving a fixed penalty.
- Treat your home and garden to some plants and trees. Plants help to reduce CO2 levels and some can even absorb CO2, keeping air purer and cooler, especially in warmer weather.
- Recycle correctly by reading the packaging of the item you are throwing away. Consider buying items that have recyclable packaging in the first place or look into ways of appropriately disposing of hard-to-recycle items such as through organisations like Terracycle.
- Buy second-hand instead of buying new. This will discourage ‘throwaway culture’ and prevent the overflow of landfill and production emissions.
- You can also repurpose and renew items instead of throwing away to prevent ‘throwaway culture’. There are thousands of videos online that can teach you how to give almost any item a new lease of life through upcycling and it could save you money, too.
- Take the time to fix things, rather than buying new. It might be easier than you think.
- Eat greener by reducing meat consumption and eating food that is naturally in season. Eating things like mangoes in winter often means they will have had to be shipped from a hotter country as they won’t naturally grow in cold climates. Meat consumption is famously responsible for releasing greenhouse gases such as methane, CO2, and nitrous oxide.
Planning for the greener future:
- Reconsider paving your driveway and invest in robust flowerbeds. Plants absorb moisture and can help to act as a natural barrier to flash flooding and damp.
- Share! Whether this be having a housemate or moving in with a partner, sharing resources is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Get resourceful by making things for yourself. Grow your own veggies and herbs, DIY your own furniture through upcycling and shop locally.
- Lobby your MP’s and Councillors to take action by bringing climate change projects and initiatives to their attention.
- Speak within your local community to inspire others to make a change (or 26!)