The top 10 ways to reduce your carbon emissions right now

Getting to net zero may seem daunting, but there are steps all of us can take to reduce our emissions and help combat climate change...

1. Walk or cycle to work

Replace some or all of a journey with walking, running or cycling.

In a recent TravelWest survey, people who choose to walk or cycle to work reported higher levels of satisfaction than those who travel by other modes.

Known as “Active Travel”, it’s a great way to be more sustainable and keep fit!

Find out more here

2. Have a meat and dairy free day

Most of us will have heard of “Veganuary” or “Meat-free Monday”.

As well as the health and financial benefits of eating a more plant-based meals, the environmental benefits are significant.

In fact, a plant-based diet that cuts out all meat, fish, dairy and eggs would reduce an average person’s carbon footprint by 50%...!

Read more here

3. Ditch single use plastics

Small steps like taking your own reusable tote bags to shops, changing to a bamboo toothbrush, swapping cling film for beeswax wraps or using your own cutlery for takeaway lunch all make an impact.

As well as saving waste from landfill, you're helping to reduce demand (and therefore production) of single-use plastics, which are manufactured by using fossil fuels.

Read more tips here

4. Switch to an EV

If you’re in a position to do so, replacing your petrol or diesel car with an electric vehicle when you need to upgrade is one of the smartest things you can do on your journey towards net zero.

While the upfront cost can be more, the running and maintenance costs of an EV are far less than their fossil-fuelled cousins.

To help with cost, ask your employer if they have a salary sacrifice scheme, consider leasing an EV or sign up to a car club.

Find out more here

5. Choose 100% renewable energy

Despite the rise of seemingly environmentally-friendly tariffs, not all “green energy” tariffs are, well, green.

Partly because of demand on the Grid, at peak times, even some green energy tariffs are supplemented with power sourced from fossil fuels.

Uswitch and Rightcharge are two comparison websites that can help navigate through “greenwash” to get a tariff that is best for you and the environment.

Find out more here.

6. Support local and buy seasonal

In a world where convenience is king, we’ve become accustomed to fruit and vegetables being available in our supermarkets all year round. But our appetite for out of season produce means that not only is produce sourced from abroad and transported to the UK which is a heavier impact on the environment, it’s often picked days before it reaches our supermarket shelves so will have lost some of its nutritional value too.

Buying food from farmer’s markets, or supporting local shops boosts the local economy, reduces transportation costs and environmental impact, and ensures you receive fresh, quality produce that is in season.

Read more here.

7. Rent or repair

We’re used to a library lending books, but there’s a growing number of “libraries” that are lending things other than books, which is tapping into the increasingly popular sharing economy.

As well as Share Bristol which can lend anything from sewing machines and strimmers to tents and travel cots, Bristol is also lucky enough to have several Repair Cafes, where volunteers can help you bring your own household goods back to life.

Read more here

8. Charge smartly overnight

Did you know the electricity you use is at its cleanest, greenest and cheapest at night?

Using smart technology/devices with inbuilt schedulers or a tariff that makes the most of the overnight off-peak hours (usually between 11pm-8am) can reduce the environmental impact of the electricity you use and can save you money too.

Find out how here

9. Just one degree

Now the weather is turning colder, it’s tempting to turn up the heating! The average temperature in 17 million homes in the UK is 20 degrees, but turning your thermostat down by just one degree is not only better for the planet as less fuel is being used to heat our homes, but could also save you around £80 annually on your utility bill.

Using a timer on your thermostat also helps to heat your home only when needed and there are grants available to improve the energy efficiency for those who need financial assistance.

Read more here.

10. Spread the word

One of the best things we can do to help address climate change, is to lead the way and talk to or show others what we’re doing.

Known as “Social” or “Behavioural contagion”, human beings are biologically designed to mimic others in their vicinity to forge connections with others and fit in.

If you’ve found a great sustainable product or a particularly good renewable energy tariff, let others know. And if the lack of action to tackle climate change frustrates you, talk or write to your MP.

We all have a voice we can use and collectively, we can drive change.


For more steps you can take now, head to our Take Action page.