Five Practical Tips to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint (And Save Money)

There are many ways to reduce your impact on the environment, and not all of them are that difficult. In fact some of them can even save you money while you do your bit to curtail the destruction of life on earth. Five Things outlines a few painless changes that we could all make and stops well short of insisting we are doomed and should all go and live off-grid in a smelly self sufficient commune.

1) Your right foot

This one should be a fairly obvious start. You know when you are driving your car? On the road? Well try just relaxing your right foot a little bit. Rev the ol’ lump a little lower, and if you drive a manual (stick if you are Stateside) you could even change gear a touch earlier. Saves petrol (gas to our American cousins), reduces emissions, saves you money, might even save your life as slower drivers won’t be crashing so often. Finding this difficult? Try turing off the Motorhead CD and listen to talk radio instead. Oh yeah and make sure your tyres are pumped up and turn the air-con off once in a while too.

2) Your square eyes

Here’s an interesting fact. We all know that LCD and plasma televisions consume less power than chunky old CRT’s right? But did you know that as we are all replacing our worn our cathode ray goggleboxes with shiny new LCD devices the average power consumption per TV set is actually going up? The reason of course is that we are now buying such huge screens that the benefit from an energy point of view is being cancelled out. So what can you do? Well if you’ve not upgraded yet and are thinking about it how about asking yourself this simple question. Do I really need a 150 inch wall mounted HD TV to view soaps, talent shows and 24 hour rolling news making my lounge look like a cross between ace 80’s Schwarzenegger vehicle Total Recall and the stuff of Orwellian nightmares? You probably don’t live in a Sports Bar so why not buy a smaller but better quality set that suits the size of your room? And don’t forget to turn them off rather than leave them on standby overnight.

3) Let there be light

…and let there not. Remember when you leave a room you can turn your lights off. Even if you have replaced the bulbs with energy savers no energy is better than low energy.

4) Bin there done that

Tins, bottles, newspapers, clothes, plastic bags…there are collection bins for all manner of household waste. Use them. Even better, if like most of the UK you are provided with multiple bins or bags for your waste don’t be negative about it and moan, use them properly. And if you have a problem with that maybe you should stop reading the Daily Mail. OK so most of these schemes aren’t ideal (for a start half this recyclable stuff is shipped halfway across the world for sorting) but when you consider that there is a floating island twice the size of the USA made of plastic rubbish trapped in currents in the North Pacific there are worse choices.

5) Bit much like hard work that

No. Work is what you (hopefully) do during the day. At a place with other people who probably don’t want to be there either. Why not amuse yourself by encouraging a bit of social and environmental responsibility around your office. Suggest that people turn off their PC’s overnight, that they consider whether they really need to print every single e-mail they ever get sent, if they can recycle their toner cartridges rather than throwing them in the bin, if the last person out of the office at night can turn off the lights, if old noisy power hungry desktop PC’s can be replaced with sleek efficient laptops, if a recycling policy can be implemented, if they can offer incentives for people to cycle to work…you get the idea – use your imagination, it’ll make your day go quicker and if your company runs with the idea you may even find that it gives you a break from the more mundane aspects of your job once in a while.

These steps may seem like a small start, but with so many millions of people capable of making these type of changes – and more – the combined impact could be huge.

BOLA TANGKAS