5 Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint On A Low Income

smoking chimneys producing carbon emissions

Are you feeling the pang of guilt for not doing enough to help the climate crisis?

Predictions say life as we know it will change forever by 2050, so it’s more pressing than ever to start reducing our carbon footprint. 

We can all make a positive impact on the climate crisis, even on a low income. 

You don’t need a six figure salary to make sustainable swaps, there’s something everyone can do on every budget. 

So here it is: 

1. Switch Your Energy Supplier 

There are so many renewable suppliers in the market right now, they’re no longer hard to come by.

For the past two years I’ve chosen renewable energy providers because they genuinely offer cheaper deals.

According to Simply Switch, signing up to a green energy tariff with “100% renewable electricity and carbon offset gas, households can keep 1.5 tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere each year

The Benefit Of Switching To A Renewable Energy Supplier 

Your bank account will thank you. You’re more likely to save money by switching to renewable energy. This is due to advancements in technology, large scale production and more experience of dealing with renewables. The money you pay to a renewable energy company will only increase the positives, so your bill can hopefully stay competitive and affordable.

2. Eat Less Meat

poached egg with vegetables in blue plate on rustic looking table
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

You don’t have to become vegan. You don’t have to become vegetarian.

I went vegan last year for a grand total of three months. I understood the cost implications of taking up a vegan diet pretty quickly. It’s not all vegetables and fruit, as I found out. 

However, switching just one of your meals for a vegetarian alternative, or using lean meat such as turkey or chicken instead of red meat, can reduce your carbon footprint. 

You’ll find that no-meat dinners cost you less, and if you’re cooking from scratch, you’ll get more for your money as you’ll have plenty of leftovers for the week! 

If you’re still not sold, you can calculate which foods have the highest carbon footprint with the BBC’s nifty climate change food calculator.

For example, if you eat beef 1-2 times a week, it’s the equivalent of taking one return flight from London to Malaga.

That’s pretty crazy. 

The Environmental Benefits Of Eating Less Meat

Millions of square kilometres of forests have been cleared for cattle ranchers. The whole process of at-scale meat rearing is harmful to the planet, which is detailed in a Science Mag report. Chopping and burning trees to make way for cattle releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Cows produce methane which is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in our atmosphere. Lastly, the global transportation of meat means the meat you eat could have travelled thousands of miles to even get to a depot, let alone your dinner plate.

Eating less meat stops the ludicrous demand, reduces the need for millions of square kilometres of cattle ranching land, and signals to the industry that sustainable crops and farming are more profitable.

3. Plan Your Meals

Whilst recycling your food waste is better than chucking it in the bin, not wasting food in the first place is the best solution.

The best way to reduce food waste is to plan ahead.

Every week I create a meal plan for the week.

As a household, we purposely cook from scratch, and cook more food than we need to so we always have something in the freezer for dinner. 

Not only does this save money on our food bill, as we’re buying raw, fresh ingredients, it means there’s less food waste because we buy the exact amount we need. 

You’ll be less tempted by takeaways if you know what you’re eating every night. Plus, you’ll always have something in the freezer for those ‘do we HAVE to cook?’’ days! 

For vegetable skins, cuttings and ends, you can recycle these either in a food recycling bin, or make compost for your own veggie patch. 

The Benefit Of Planning Your Meals: 

Planning meals reduces food waste. Food waste, when sent to landfill, produces high amounts of methane which gets trapped in the atmosphere. This contributes to the warming of the planet.

You’ll also always have something delicious to eat on those evenings where you don’t want to cook!

4. Go Paperless

This is probably the easiest of them all, and it doesn’t cost you a penny. 

Rather than receiving bills and statements in the post, why not see if you can switch to paperless? 

Paperless documents are easier for you to store (move it to an email folder and forget about it). Plus it’s a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. 

If there’s only one thing you do from this list: make it this one! 

The Benefit Of Going Paperless:

Paperless is brilliant way to stop the cutting down of trees, which will in turn release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. You’ll be saving the trees that are saving us.

5. Embrace Minimalism 

Individuals are turning their backs on excess consumption and taking up a minimalistic approach to their possessions

Capsule wardrobes, buying second hand furniture, not shopping on fast fashion sites: small changes can make a big difference. 

Saying no to the newest thing saves you money. It also makes you focus on what’s actually important to you. 

Experiences, having fun with your friends and family, doing something completely new – these are all worth a lot more than the new smartphone in the grand scheme of things. 

You don’t have to denounce buying things for the rest of your life, just try to think objectively about what you’re buying and why

Can that money be spent on something more lasting like a weekend away with your loved ones? Or an experience day with a group of friends? 

You’ll soon find yourself revelling in a wonderful, meaningful life (and you won’t even need to buy a trendy oversized shirt with a questionable quote on it!).

The Benefit Of Minimalism: 

You’ll save money and feel more content with what you do have. Equally, you’ll realise how ridiculous most ‘trends’ are, and how classic, timeless style never goes out of fashion. 

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint 

When you take steps to reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll inspire other to do the same. 

Remember how influential we are as humans. 

Being social and connected to each other is at the core of being human. 

You can impact your friendship groups, family and colleagues, just by being aware of your footprint and openly discussing what you’re doing to reduce it. 

Ultimately, you have the power to help stop the climate crisis, or not. 

When your children are all grown up, what side of the story do you want to be on? 

The heroes that saved our world from crashing and burning? Or the by-standers who watched our beautiful planet go up in flames?

Paloma x 

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