Your feedback is essential to help us improve - click here to take our 3 minute survey.

5 ways to reduce your carbon footprint and save money

5 ways to reduce your carbon footprint and save money
Image source: Getty Images


Knowing how to reduce your carbon footprint can be a good way to save the planet and save money. I’m going to explain a few practical ways that you can do this.

Depending on your lifestyle, some of these suggestions may be easier to implement than others, but doing something good for the environment whilst saving money is a win-win situation.

What is a carbon footprint?

Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases that you create. It can be quite complicated to calculate your exact footprint because there are so many variables.

However, there are plenty of great ways you can make a dent in your individual footprint without needing to get too deep into the science or calculations. Many of these suggestions will also help put a dent in how much you spend!

How to reduce your carbon footprint

Here are five ways that you can help look after the environment and spend less money.

1. Check what’s on your plate

There is a bit of a misconception that eating a healthy plant-based diet is expensive. If you go to the supermarket and fill your trolley with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, it’s going to work out a lot cheaper than if you were to purchase lots of animal products. One US study found that meat-eaters spent $1,196 more per year than people eating a plant-based diet.

Eating vegetables is also better for the planet. Food makes up around 26% of global greenhouse emissions. A vegan or even vegetarian diet can massively reduce your footprint. Food waste is another key area to look at and is responsible for around 6% of emissions.

Here are some straightforward ways you can spend less and reduce your carbon footprint:

  • Buy local
  • Eat a diet of mostly fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Try and control your portion sizes
  • Reduce food waste
  • Avoid processed and man-made foods

2. Shop sustainably

When it comes to shopping, it can be hard to know where to begin. Thankfully there are some easy steps to follow so you can spend less money and reduce your carbon footprint:

  • Buy quality products that last and avoid the trap of ‘buy cheap, buy twice
  • Take a reusable bag out with you when shopping
  • Shop vintage or second-hand stores
  • Avoid buying clothes that you don’t really need

3. Drive less

Transport is probably the area that has received the most negative press in terms of carbon emissions. Around 28% of greenhouse gases come from transportation. For the most part, driving less will help to reduce your footprint. If you decide to walk or cycle instead, this is also going to cost you less and help you get fit!

Not everyone can get around just using their feet or a bike. Making the most of public transport services is another option to reduce how much time you spend driving. Depending on where you live, using buses and trains might also be cheaper than the cost of owning and running a car.

If driving is essential, don’t worry. Here are some dead easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint and save money:

  • Drive more efficiently
  • Check your tyres are inflated properly
  • Service your car regularly (more upfront cost, but better in the long run)
  • Use cruise control
  • Try and keep your car as light as possible – no unnecessary weight in the boot

4. Travel slower

Not everyone is in a position to take a lot of time when they travel. You might only have a certain amount of annual leave each year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t travel a little slower.

Rather than frantically jetting around to lots of different places just to tick them off, why not try visiting destinations at a slower pace and getting to know somewhere properly? If you like to stay active – cycling or hiking trips are an awesome and cheap way to experience a new place.

Flying less and exploring at a more leisurely pace will reduce your carbon footprint and your holiday costs.

5. Make greener investments

This one is probably going to help make you money rather than save you money. By choosing greener investments, your money will be supporting more environmentally friendly businesses.

ESG investing and environmentally friendly companies are becoming more profitable as long-term investment prospects. Green investing is also becoming easier than ever before and some share dealing platforms will even help you be more green.

Pay 0% interest on new purchases and balance transfers for 22 months – and earn reward points every time you shop!

The M&S Shopping Plus Credit Card* offers shoppers a 22-month 0% interest period on both new purchases and balance transfers. Not only that but you can also earn retail reward points every time you spend – whether in store at M&S, or elsewhere.  21.9% representative APR (variable)

*Affiliate Partner.

Was this article helpful?
YesNo

Some offers on The Motley Fool UK site are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.