Climate change - What can you do?
We have set an ambitious target for the borough to become carbon neutral by 2040. To achieve this target, we will need everyone living and working in the borough to play their part.
You can also help by focussing on how you can lower your CO2 emissions, reduce air pollution and your overall impact on the natural environment, whilst saving money on your bills.
To prevent waste and pollution, we need to Reduce the amount we consume and the energy we use, Refuse to use items we can’t reuse or recycle, Reuse whatever we can instead of throwing it away, and where we can’t reuse, we should find ways to Recycle.
Take a look at our helpful hints and tips for ways for you to make a start in different areas of your home or when out and about.
Save energy when you cook
Use an electric kettle to boil water rather than on the stove and only boil as much water as you need because boiling extra takes more time and uses more energy.
Always cover pots and pans as your food will cook more quickly.
Don’t open the oven door repeatedly as you will let the hot air out and waste energy.
Batch bake your meals – saves you time and energy as you will only need to reheat.
Fridge and freezer
Defrost your fridge and freezer regularly to ensure they are working as efficiently as possible.
Don’t leave the door to your fridge or freezer open for a long period of time – the appliances will have to work harder to get back to the correct temperature (4 degrees Celsius for the fridge and -18 degrees Celsius for the freezer).
Reduce food waste
Try freezing food or using food scraps for compost.
Use your left overs for a ready-made lunch the following day
Share surplus food with family, friends or a neighbour
For ideas on how to use left-over food please see our Love Food, Hate Waste campaign.
When using a washing machine make sure you have a full load and wash at a lower temperature or on an Eco programme and air washing on a line instead of using a tumble drier.
If you are buying new household items such as cookers, refrigerators, tumble driers or washing machines choose a model with a high energy efficiency rating.
Turn off the heating in rooms that you don’t use often.
Turn off lights, computers, televisions and other electrical equipment when you are not using them. Between 9 percent and 16 percent of electricity in the home is used to power items on ‘standby’ mode.
Have a shower instead of a bath and take shorter showers.
Turn your thermostat down a degree to cut gas use.
Get a smart meter to keep an eye on how much electricity you use and identify power guzzling gadgets.
Set timers to use electricity when it is less carbon intense (usually between 1am and 5am). Check the National Grid’s tool to see the levels of intensity.
Switch to LED lighting. A modern LED bulb uses 80 to 90 percent less energy than a traditional light bulb which helps to lower your carbon emissions and your electricity bulbs. If you replace all the bulbs in your home with LED lighting you could reduce your carbon emissions by up to 65kg a year, equivalent to driving your car around 220 miles!
Take simple steps to prevent heat loss and keep your home warm such as moving furniture away from radiators, using thick or thermal curtains or blinds, fitting carpets with underlay, cutting draughts around windows and doors with draught strips. You can even pop a balloon up an unused chimney or cap it to keep heat in.
Consider investing in other forms of insulation such as improvements to roof, loft, wall and floor insulation, double glazing, upgrading your boiler, installing a heat pump or solar panels.
Check out our Energy Advice page for grants you may be able to apply for.
Grow more plants – all plants absorb carbon dioxide so the more plants we grow the more carbon dioxide is absorbed (carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which absorbs and emits infrared radiation – warming the Earth’s surface).
Growing plants such as ivy on the side of your house can help regulate temperatures, keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. This can reduce the use of central heating and air conditioning and reduce your carbon footprint.
Use hand tools rather than power tools – switch your petrol mower to an electric mower. Using hand tools may take longer but it can be good for your physical and mental wellbeing.
Composting food and garden waste stops it going into landfill or being incinerated.
Biodegradable waste in landfill produces the greenhouse gas methane, thought to be 70 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.
By composting waste you can reduce the production of methane and composting waste results in a great soil conditioner for your garden.
Use peat free compost. Peat bogs store huge amounts of carbon. By using peat free compost we can help to ensure that peat bogs remain intact and carbon dioxide isn’t released into the atmosphere. Encourage your local garden centre to stock peat free compost.
Avoid digging if possible. Soil holds a huge amount of carbon dioxide which is released into the atmosphere when we dig our gardens.
Avoid the use of pesticides, jet washers and plastic grass.
Leave an area of your garden un-mown as this will encourage natural pollinators
Plant a tree. Trees help to fight global warming.
Don’t leave your car idling eg leaving a car running when parked or stuck in traffic.
If you are likely to be waiting for longer than 10 seconds (but certainly for more than a minute) switch your engine off.
Contrary to popular belief idling for 10 seconds wastes more fuel than re-starting your car.
Avoiding idling time has a number of benefits including savings in fuel and maintenance costs, extending vehicle life and reducing damaging emissions.
For every ten minutes of idling one pound of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Carbon emissions have proven links to asthma, cardiac disease, cancer and lung disease.
Change your driving style – change gear earlier, brake sooner, don’t explore the upper reaches of the rev range. This will reduce wear and tear, maintain the efficiency of your vehicle and reduce carbon emissions.
Do you really need to use the air conditioning in your vehicle?
Using air con makes your vehicle work harder and increases carbon emissions.
Try opening the window instead but remember that if you are travelling at speed or for a long distance, this will cause drag on your vehicle which will also increase fuel consumption and emissions.
Look after your vehicle – check the oil, air filters and tyre pressure (low tyre pressure increases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions – a tyre under-inflated by 20 percent reduces the economy of your vehicle by around 20 percent).
Use your car less. A car left at home uses no fuel and creates no emissions. Obvious but true!
Could you walk or cycle? Could you use public transport? Could you car-share? Do you need to make that journey at all?
Shop local where possible. This doesn’t just mean buying at local shops but also buying products which are made locally, using locally sourced materials.
Many products purchased from ‘British’ companies are actually made abroad and will have travelled thousands of miles on its journey, releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Look carefully at the environmental and sustainability evidence on products and be wary of vague terms such as ‘green’ and ‘eco’.
Choose Fairtrade goods if possible. Fairtrade is about better prices, safe working conditions, fair terms of trade for farmers and workers and local sustainability.
Consider introducing more plant based meals. Try ‘Meat Free Mondays’.
Choose seasonal food. It is often cheaper, fresher, tastier and more nutritious as it hasn’t travelled so far.
Foods purchased out of season require more artificial resources such as lighting, heating, pesticides and fertilisers which all have a detrimental impact on the environment.
Consider using refillables for dry store cupboard goods such as pasta, rice, dried fruits or for cleaning products.
Avoid products containing palm oil. Palm oil is a significant cause of deforestation and is high in saturated fats.
Do you need that chewing gum? It takes about 50 years for chewing gum to start to decompose and between 500 to 1000 years to completely disintegrate.
Try a doorstep milk delivery from a local dairy that uses glass milk bottles that can be recycled.
Consider reusable cloth nappies. Sign up for trial packs from us.
Remember to take your own shopping bags.
Shopping online can have significantly less environmental impact than shopping in store because of the carbon emissions produced by customers driving to the high street or shopping centre and the electricity and heating used to power retail outlets.
Do you need next day delivery? Next day or express deliveries usually involve the products being transported by air travel rather than by sea or road and deliveries of multiple products are less likely to be consolidated into one package.
Be careful with returns. Between 30 percent and 40 pecent of online purchases are returned and 20 pwercent of these end up in landfill as they are not resalable by retailers. Read the item description and check the sizing of products carefully.
Buy less or buy second hand. Do you really need that extra pair of shoes or trainers?
Take a reusable water bottle when you are out so that you are not tempted to buy plastic bottles.
Take your own dishes when ordering a take away meal.
Take your own utensils if you are eating out at a restaurant that only uses single use cutlery or dishes.
Refuse plastic straws and plastic drink lids.
Refuse refills if you do not think you will eat or drink them.
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