5 surprising ways you could be increasing your carbon footprint

5 surprising ways you could be increasing your carbon footprint

If you’ve recently bought clothing or shoes online and then sent them back, you might want to consider a report by the BBC, which makes a startling revelation.

It shows that each year, £5 billion of waste is generated because many of the items we return are sent to landfill instead of going back to the retailer.

It’s as surprising as it is shocking, and is largely because retailers are not geared up to deal with returns. This means they would rather send them to landfill, or sell the returned garments to discount retailers who then ship them around the world.

Either way, the article brings home how easy it can be to inadvertently contribute to the issue of waste pollution and climate change, even when you are actively trying to reduce your carbon footprint.

So, with this in mind, read on to discover five ways you might be increasing your carbon footprint without even realising it.

1. Having a “long” shower

While having a long hot shower might make you feel great, the energy used to deliver the water and heat it could significantly increase your carbon footprint.

While it might be seen as a more environmentally friendly option rather than having a bath, taking longer than you need in the shower could significantly reduce its benefits.

According to research by Veissmann, showers are the household appliance that typically use the most amount of electricity, beating tumble dryers and plasma televisions.

Furthermore, a study by Mira showers revealed that people showered on average for seven to eight minutes, and 40% of UK adults showered for leisure not necessarily to stay clean.

With this in mind, cutting down the amount of time you spend in your shower may help significantly lower your carbon footprint.

2. Leaving lights and plugs switched on

Leaving televisions and computers on standby is known to use electricity. Another, lesser-known way of using energy is to leave telephone chargers plugged in after using them and leaving lights on when you nip to another room.

Turning off lights whenever you leave a room, as well as turning plug sockets off at the mains, could help significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Additionally, it could help deal with the financial effects of the skyrocketing energy prices.

3. Overspending at the supermarket

Food waste can significantly increase your carbon footprint. While it’s understandable to be tempted by a retailer’s offer that seems too good to be true, if it only results in you then throwing the additional food away, it’s going to be harmful to your pocket and the planet.

Instead, only buy the amount of food you’re likely to consume before it goes off. One way you can help ensure this is to check the sell-by date before putting food in your basket.

4. Filling your fuel tank

A full tank of fuel adds a surprising amount of weight to your car, which is likely to mean it uses more fuel while you’re driving it. This could reduce the efficiency of your vehicle, and probably increase your carbon footprint.

Instead, consider putting the amount of fuel you need into your tank, and if you do high milage, put half to three-quarters of a tank in at a time. This reduces the weight of the fuel you’re carrying, and could help increase your vehicle’s efficiency.

5. Running washing appliances half-full

While opting for the half-load setting or “quick wash” on your dishwasher or washing machine may sound like a good way to reduce energy consumption, care should be taken.

According to consumer watchdog Which?, waiting to fill the machines up and then running a full load is likely to use less energy and reduce your impact on the environment.

It reveals that by reducing the use of your dishwasher or washing machine by once a week could save you around £16 per appliance over a whole year, or a total yearly saving of £32.

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