Many journeys to UK and nearby European destinations have excellent rail links, and even long haul journeys can sometimes be made by other means. Remember we built a tunnel under the sea to get to Europe! Please visit LoCO2 or the Man in Seat 61 for advice about how to make overseas trips without flying.
‘Staycations’ – holidaying in Britain instead of going abroad – are all the rage, helping the British economy as well as the climate. This is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to avoid flying. For more information about holidays in the UK, see Visit Britain.
Weekend city breaks can crank up your annual carbon footprint by tonnes in a matter of hours, so try saving up your holiday and taking it in bigger chunks. That way you'll slash your emissions and have richer, more satisfying holiday experiences when you do travel overseas. Going a thousand miles for a 36 hour whirlwind tour of an unfamiliar city isn't just bad for your carbon footprint, it's a very bad way to get to know the place you're visiting too.
If you have to fly for work, there are two things you can to try to reduce this part of your carbon footprint. First, ask your employers if they can sign up to 10:10 as a business. Even if they can't sign up to 10:10, they still might be able to take up WWF’s One in Five Challenge.
10:10 is about reducing emissions here in the UK, so carbon offsetting does not count as a way to meet your 10:10 commitments.
Instead of jetting your way around the world, Stay Grounded.
The Energy Saving Trust is a non-profit organisation that provides free impartial advice to help you save money and fight climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from your home. Freephone your local Energy Saving Trust advice centre on 0800 512 012 or visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.
For advice on generating your own renewable electricity, check out YouGen.
Don’t leave it on or even put it on, Plug Out.
Using your feet to get to work is not just the cheapest, lowest carbon option: it's the healthiest option too. If you live close enough to your workplace, why not build a little extra time into your day once a week to try walking in. It's a great way to start your day too. See Walking Works for more information and WalkIt for city walking routes.
You get from A to B without any C when you Walk The Walk.
The open road, the wind in your hair, a smug sensation as you whizz past the morning traffic jams: all this could be yours if you try cycling to work once a week instead of taking your car. There are lots of schemes around to help you get started as a two-wheeled commuter. If you don't own a bike yet, ask if your employer is part of the government’s Cycle to Work scheme – you could get a flash tax-free bike like this. And if you live and work in London, why not take part in Cycle Fridays each week? They're a fun new way to take the edge off riding through London traffic in the morning.
Check out your options for getting to work by public transport at Travel Line.
If you don’t live near any colleagues and feel adventurous enough to try sharing a ride with someone you've never met once a week, you could get to know someone new on your way in to work with a car sharing scheme. The 10:10 Lift Share scheme links to a national network with over 350,000 members, so there’s sure to be someone heading in your direction. Find out more| Try it now.
Joining a car club saves the hassle and expense of owning a car, and can help you cut your carbon. On average, each car club vehicle replaces 22.5 privately owned cars and reduces unnecessary car journeys by 35%. Cars are parked in the street and are available at a moment's notice by booking online or over the phone.
The charity Carplus maintains a full list of car clubs and locations in the UK, making it easy to find the one closest to you. We're fans of City Car Club, who've signed up to the campaign and put 10:10 stickers on all 500 of their cars.
Food made from animal products tends to cause a lot of emissions, especially red meat and cheese. Eating too many of these foods isn't always particularly healthy either. Why not try having one meat-free day per week with Meat Free Mondays.
It’s delicious but it causes more CO2 than cars so go easy on the meat (see Ninjin - The Way Of The Vegetable Assassin).
It’s nice to have exotic foods from far away places once in a while, but if you don't want your diet to cause big problems for the planet then it's important to make sure the majority of your food is from sustainable sources. The easiest and simplest way to do that is to buy foods that are locally produced and in season. For simple advice on how to fill your shopping basket with the right things, check out the new Eat Seasonably campaign (where you can also find advice on growing your own food, which is even better).
As a rule, food causes more emissions if it’s highly processed – partly because it then needs to be refrigerated in the factory, truck, store and home. Hence as a rule it’s greener to buy ingredients and cook for yourself, though the less you cook vegetables the less energy it will take and the healthier they will be.
We all have things lying around that we don't want or use. Selling these (for example on eBay) helps avoid the need for new items to be produced – and it could make you some money too. Equally, buying secondhand makes sense both for the planet and your wallet. For even bigger savings, check on your local Freecycle site to see whether the thing you need is already being given away by someone near you.
Any ‘disposable’ product is a problem for the environment, whether it’s a plastic fork, a razor or a baby’s nappy. Try to stop using these types of products wherever possible.
Many types of home appliance now have to be clearly labelled with an energy-efficiency rating. Look for the Energy Saving Trust’s ‘Energy Saving Recommended’ before buying any home appliances, or visit their website to compare products online.
Not everything can be repaired but a surprising number of items can. If you have a broken appliance try phoning the manufacturer to see if they can send you a replacement part. For damaged clothes and shoes, try your local cobbler, tailor or dry cleaner. You’ll avoid the hassle and expense of buying replacements and get to feel good about bringing something back to life.
Resist the urge to buy the latest and Stick With What You Got.
Recycling everything you can helps avoid new items being produced from virgin materials – which usually takes far more energy and causes other environmental problems, too. Virgin aluminium can be twenty times more carbon intensive than recycled, so it's important that we all recycle everything that we can – and favour recycled products, too.
Even greener than recycling, of course, is creating less rubbish in the first place. Avoiding overly packaged food and goods is one sensible approach.
The smart thing to do with furniture, appliances or any other item that still works but is no longer wanted is to join the growing ‘freecycling’ movement. Freecycle is an online grassroots network of people who are giving and getting free stuff in their local area. It’s free and simple to use, and is already helping people save huge amounts of emissions, landfill and cash: www.uk.freecycle.org
Food scraps that get sent to landfill can turn into methane – a powerful greenhouse gas. So make sure your scraps end up on in the compost bin or in your kitchen waste box.
It’s easy to reduce your food waste with a little thought. The first step is to plan your shopping to make sure you only buy what you're actually going to consume – however good the supermarket 2-for-1 offers might look! The second step is to plan your cooking: make use of leftovers whenever possible and use the freezer to extend the life of food that you suspect you might not get eaten fresh.
The expiry dates printed on food and drinks packaging can be misleading: the only date that's important is the Use By date. Food can become dangerous after this time so you do need to check this before eating. However, Best Before dates do not mean deadlines by which food must be eaten, they are only intended to provide information about the best circumstances under which to eat the food – a bit like instructions to ‘serve chilled’ or ‘for best results cook in a conventional oven’. If your food item is past its Best Before date then that just means you need to hurry up and eat it! Sell By dates mean just that, and are there for retailers, not for customers to use.
Get more tips, tools and recipes from Love Food Hate Waste.
All water is worth saving but it’s the hot water that matters the most. So it makes sense to focus first and foremost on washing and washing up. Could you swap some relaxing baths for invigorating showers? And do you ever leave the hot water running when doing the dishes? If you have a dishwasher, don’t start a cycle unless it is full.
Most toilets waste around three litres of water every time they flush, but there’s a very simple way to overcome this design flaw — get a ‘hippo’. They’re very cheap (check with your local water provider as many give them away free to customers), will take you less than 5 minutes to install and will work fine in most cisterns. Order Hippos here.
Hoses and sprinklers throw out vast quantities of water, so if you're a keen gardener investigate ways to reduce the amount of mains water you consume. The RHS offer gardeners a range of good, clear advice on this topic.