What you can do
You can help tackle climate change by making small changes to your lifestyle, through the way you travel, by saving energy and water in your home and office, by reducing waste, re-using, repairing and recycling household items and making greener shopping choices.
Look out for the ‘small change big difference’ symbol to see how you can reduce your impact on the environment.
Walking, cycling, or taking the bus or train are less carbon intensive than driving. By using an alternative to your car, you could help reduce the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. Try to reduce your car use, such as the number of short trips you make in the car. Perhaps you get what you want nearer to home, or without travelling at all, for example, using local leisure facilities and shops or sometimes working from home. You can reduce fuel consumption by making some simple changes to the way you drive, for example, driving smoothly, sticking to the speed limits, and keeping tyres properly inflated. If every home in the UK installed just three energy-efficient light bulbs, we would save enough energy to power all our street lights.
The average household wastes £37 a year simply by leaving appliances on standby, so by turning off your appliances at the power switch, you’ll save energy and money. You can reduce your energy usage by turning your thermostat down by one degree, washing clothes at 30 degrees and switching your lights off when you are not using them.Nearly half of the heat lost in a typical home escapes through the walls and roof. By installing roof and wall insulation, you could save £400 per year in energy costs.
Turning off the taps when you are brushing your teeth or shaving can save up to five litres of water a minute.
A five-minute shower can use about a third as much water as a bath, so consider taking a shower instead of bath to save water. A dripping tap can waste a lot of water – just two drips a second can add up to about 26 litres of water a day! A new washer will fix the problem and can be fitted in minutes. Using a watering can instead of a hose will make a huge difference to the amount of water you get through in your garden. Reduce waste, re-use and recycle
Re-using items is the most efficient way to reduce waste so buy things you can reuse, rather than disposable versions, such as batteries.
- More than half of the clothing thrown away could be recycled – why not give them to charity shops or recycle them at clothing banks.
- Many charities and workplaces collect print cartridges for refilling.
- Buying in bulk and using concentrated cleaning products means you’ll use less packaging, reducing the amount you throw away.
The average drill is used for about 15 minutes in its lifetime. Sometimes, items don’t get used enough to justify buying them – try hiring things you don’t often use or borrowing them from a friend or neighbour.
- 10bn plastic bags are handed out by supermarkets each year, so by hanging on to your shopping bags and take some with you next time you go shopping, you can help reduce waste.
- To make long-term energy savings, look out for labelling schemes that identify energy-efficient products, from light bulbs to washing machines.
- Buying flowers, fruit and vegetables locally and in season can reduce environmental impact through reduced energy use.
You can find more tips for green living on the DirectGov website.