Ways to reduce your carbon footprint

Rainbow on WInd Turbines

What is a carbon footprint?

Greenhouse gases (GHGs), including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone, are emitted through the production and consumption of goods or services. A carbon footprint is a concept used to quantify the impact of our actions by tracking the amount of GHGs generated by our actions. We use a measure known as the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) to compare the emissions from various GHGs on their global warming potential (GWP), which is a conversion of the amounts of a GHG to the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide with the same global warming potential. This is why we call it a carbon footprint.

Anything we do in our everyday lives that requires the burning of fossil fuels, such as driving a car, flying in a plane, cooking, using a computer or even playing on a gaming console, contributes to our atmospheric GHG emissions. Each individual action is important and can create a butterfly effect for a big impact collectively. When one person makes a change, it raises awareness and often gives others the courage to change their own behaviours. You can take control of reducing your carbon footprint by the choices and decisions that you make. Understanding your carbon footprint can help limit the impact on climate change and the environment.

One of the added benefits of reducing your carbon footprint is that not only are you helping the environment, but also your wallet.


What can you do to reduce your carbon footprint?

Food, clothes and consumer goods

  • Consume local and seasonal produce
  • Adopt a low-carbon diet by limiting your meat consumption, in particular beef and lamb products, or cut it out completely
  • Only buy what you need
  • Cut down on food waste
  • Grown your own food
  • Bring your own bags when you go shopping to avoid single-use plastic bags
  • Look after your belongings such clothes and electronics
  • Consider the end-of-life treatment of your electronics – you need to upgrade your laptop; what will you do with your old one?
  • Consider buying refurbished or second-hand
  • Can you rent rather than buy the item that you’re interested in?


  • Use public transport or consider active travel (cycling or walking) when possible
  • If driving a private car, consider carpooling with friends, family or colleagues
  • Fly less, but if you have to fly, stay for longer

Energy and waste at home

  • Keep temperatures at reasonable levels – so instead of maintaining an average temperature of 25C throughout your house, drop your thermostat to between 18C and 20C, and only heat the room that you are using
  • Choose efficient household appliances with a good energy rating
  • Switch of any electronics at the wall when not in use
  • Replace lighting with energy efficient LED lighting to reduce your electricity bill
  • Improve your home’s insulation to reduce heat loss
  • Buy electricity from renewable sources or consider installing your own renewable energy systems such as solar PV panel systems, ground source heat pumps or air source heat pumps
  • Utilise the waste hierarchy to reduce the amount of waste you produce (prevention/avoid --> reduce --> re-use --> recycle --> other methods of recovery --> disposal)

The UK originally set out its approach to reducing emissions and combating and adapting to climate change with the introduction of the Climate Change Act 2008. This framework set a statutory target to reduce UK GHG emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050. This target was then extended to at least 100 percent reduction by 2050 with the publication of the Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener in October 2021. Take a look at Powering up Britain and the British Energy Security Strategy to find out how the Government plans to enhance the UK’s energy security and deliver on its net zero targets. You can have a go at the Department for Energy and Climate Change 2050 Calculator to create your own emissions reduction pathway for the country!


Sustainable Warmth Scheme

The Sustainable Warmth Scheme is a government initiative which Hartlepool Borough Council was successful in securing funding from, to help homes across the borough to become greener, while reducing fuel bills. More information can be found by visiting the sustainable warmth scheme page