Cut your carbon emissions

Simple steps you can take to cut your carbon emissions

We’re in a climate crisis, and at times this can feel overwhelming. But we can all do something to help the environment and the time to act is now.

If we all make at least one change – big or small – we will make a difference.

Action that is good for the environment often benefits us in other ways too – such as by saving money, helping us keep fit, making the air cleaner, helping nature thrive and creating new jobs.

At home

Cartoon graphic showing how to cut carbon emissions at home
  1. Switch to LED: Replace existing light bulbs with LED bulbs, to save energy and money.
  2. Don’t fill to the brim: Only fill up the kettle with the water you need.
  3. Plan ahead: Batch cook your meals and re-heat them using the microwave, to save energy and reduce food waste.
  4. Turn it off: Switch off lights and unplug your appliances and electronics when you’re not using them
  5. Take a shower: Swap long soaks in the bath for short showers and use a water-saving shower head.
  6. Change your energy source: Swap boilers for air source heat pumps and install solar panels for electricity.
  7. Keep the heat in: Install wall, floor and roof insulation, and use curtains, blinds, rugs and draught excluders.
  8. Get green energy: Switch your energy supplier to one that invests in renewable energy
  9. Wash up well: Only run your dishwasher when it’s full or use a washing-up bowl instead of a running tap.
  10. Get smart: Install a smart meter to understand how you use energy and how to reduce it.

Find out how to get a smart meter on

Read more on how to keep your energy bills down and your home warm, and funding for home energy improvements available through the council.

In your garden

Cartoon graphic showing how to cut carbon emissions in the garden
  1. Plant native species: Plant trees, shrubs, plants and hedgerows that are native to the UK, to support wildlife.
  2. Create animal habitats: Build bird and bat boxes, bug hotels and hedgehog houses, leave grass long, and don’t tidy up those piles of leaves, branches or rubble.
  3. Grow your own: Grow fruits and vegetables, in pots, gardens or allotments, to save money and eat healthily.
  4. Install a washing line: Dry clothes outside on the washing line when the weather is fine.
  5. Go wild: Plant native wildflowers to attract insects and pollinators.
  6. Keep it natural: Lay real grass and permeable surfaces, instead of artificial grass or paving, to reduce flooding and protect soils and wildlife. Let your grass grow to provide habitat and nutrients for insects. 
  7. Collect water: Install a water butt to collect rainwater, which can be used to water your garden.
  8. Enjoy the darkness: Reduce exterior lights on your home or in your garden, to protect wildlife and save energy.
  9. Provide water: It’s essential for life, that includes animal too. A bird bath or small water feature will help attract a variety of creatures. 
  10. Go green: Create a green or living roof on any flat-roofed structures, such as your garage.

At work

Cartoon graphic showing how to cut carbon emissions at work
  1. Think before you print: Only print out documents or emails if it is absolutely necessary.
  2. Ditch your notebook: Use computer programmes like OneNote to take notes or use scrap paper.
  3. Reduce single-use: Take a re-usable mug and water bottle to work with you, instead of buying single-use containers.
  4. Stay home: Work from home if you can and if you need to go into work, avoid the rush-hour traffic.
  5. Switch off: Turn off your laptop and monitor if you’re leaving your desk for a while.
  6. Use active travel: Leave the car at home and walk, cycle or run to work instead.
  7. Stay online: Arrange for meetings, conferences and training to take place online, to reduce travel.
  8. Ask questions: Ask your employer how they are reducing your company’s carbon footprint, or if you’re self-employed, investigate how you can reduce your own emissions. Set up a climate change club at work or encourage your employers to offer climate training.
  9. Invest wisely: Challenge your company’s pension scheme if they are investing in fossil fuels.
  10. Link it: Send hyperlinks to shared files and documents rather than sending attachments, to save energy.

Your lifestyle

Cartoon graphic showing how to cut carbon emissions with your lifestyle
  1. Follow the waste hierarchy: Reduce, re-use, recycle – in that order.
  2. Buy less: Ask yourself ‘Do I need it?’ and ‘Will I use it?’ before buying anything.
  3. Make do and mend: Fix, mend or re-purpose items that are broken, rather than throwing them away.
  4. Have meat-free days: Adopt a flexitarian diet by going meat-free at least one day per week.
  5. Plan ahead: Plan your weekly meals, make a shopping list and use up leftovers during the week so you don’t waste food. 
  6. Buy local: Shop in your local, independent shops and buy local, organic products wherever possible.
  7. Enjoy sustainable holidays: Fly less, enjoy holidays in the UK, and use public transport for day-trips closer to home.
  8. Campaign: Join a lobbying or activist group for environmental issues.
  9. Refuse plastics: Say no to single-use plastic straws, carrier bags, packaging, bottles and coffee cups.
  10. Explore electric: Buy or lease an electric car, to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. 
  11. Leave the car at home: Use public transport or active travel for shorter journeys. 

Graphics illustrated by Liz Kay

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