Making greener choices

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There are many steps we need to take to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and it can feel overwhelming to know where to begin.

Many actions to reduce emissions can also improve our lives in other ways – for example by improving our physical and mental wellbeing and reducing costs.

It’s important to remember that it’s not too late to start making some changes to reduce your carbon emissions, and help create a healthier, happier, greener North Somerset.

Together we can make a difference.

Transport

  • set a mile rule - commit to walking or cycling to anything within a certain radius of your home
  • if you need more confidence on two wheels book free adult cycle training
  • if you have to go further - use a ride share or public transport
  • keep your car in good shape and use it wisely:
    • get it serviced regularly and keep the tyres pumped up
    • use fuel efficiency measures - cruise control on long trips, lower your speed on the motorway to 60mph and use the accelerator and brakes more gently
  • fly less. See if you can get somewhere by alternative means - such as car, train, or boat - or choose a staycation
  • buy or lease an electric car 
  • for more information about bus travel, walking and cycling, car-sharing and community transport go to our Transport section

Energy

  • switch to a renewable energy provider
  • turn down your heating thermostat by one or two degrees
  • turn off radiators in unused rooms
  • fit radiators with reflectors
  • take a shorter shower – set a timer for five minutes
  • wash clothes at 30 degrees to use less energy and make them last longer
  • line dry clothes rather than use the tumble dryer
  • switch to energy efficient lightbulbs – LEDs use a lot less energy and last longer
  • turn off lights when you leave the room
  • turn devices off at the plug when they're not in use, rather than leave them on standby
  • only fill the kettle with the water you need
  • when cooking, try the microwave – it’s quicker and a lot more energy efficient
  • use lids when cooking on the hob
  • use the eco settings on appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine
  • when replacing old appliances buy more energy efficient models
  • use a smart meter to monitor energy usage and see the difference your changes are making
  • draught proof windows and doors
  • insulate your home 
  • install solar panels to power your home 
  • find out if you qualify for a grant to improve your energy efficiency from our Bright Green Homes project
  • for more information about the funding and support for improving your home, go to our Housing section

Food

  • consider your food choices more carefully – animal-based foods have a much higher carbon footprint than plant-based
  • eat less meat and dairy – have a meat-free day at least once a week
  • eat more plant-based proteins like lentils and beans
  • switch high carbon meat for lower carbon alternatives – if you usually use beef mince, try pork or turkey mince instead
  • when you do eat meat, buy the best quality you can afford and use less of it
  • when cooking meals with mince, half the amount of meat and add a plant-based protein or extra vegetables to the sauce instead
  • buy from UK farmers – many are already working towards becoming net zero and raising welfare standards
  • buy fruit and vegetables in their correct season – out of season produce from other countries is usually transported by air
  • cook from scratch more and buy less processed food which usually has a much higher carbon footprint
  • try growing your own fruit and vegetables
  • for more information about eating a more sustainable diet, read page 26 of the Spring 2022 issue of North Somerset Life

Waste management

  • adopt a 'no-landfill' approach – refuse to buy anything that cannot be reused or recycled
  • reuse and refill where possible – use zero waste shops to fill your own containers:
  • recycle as much as you can including electrical items and food waste
  • reduce your food waste by planning for meals and buying only what you need
  • compost the food waste you do make and use it in your garden
  • switch out single use plastic items for things that last, or are made of sustainable materials, such as bamboo, cloth, metal, or wax
  • purchase carefully - if you have to buy, try to buy used or second hand, or ask if you really need it
  • clothing and fashion items:
    • buy vintage or second-hand clothes
    • try to buy natural over synthetic materials - clothing fibres can get into the water supply through washing and contribute to pollution
    • donate or reuse old clothes for projects
    • if you need to buy new, look for companies with Fairtrade or sustainable practices and certifications
  • for more information about waste management, go to our bins and recycling section

Rewild

  • green your spaces – grow flowers, plants, trees, herbs, fruit or vegetables
  • don't use herbicides, pesticides or weed killer
  • plant more flowers for bees and other pollinators
  • encourage wildlife with bug hotels, bird feeders and ponds
  • if you have a garden, avoid excessive trimming and pruning and let grass and hedges grow
  • if you don’t have any outside space, grow in pots on windowsills and in sunny spots around your home
  • for more information about how we're enabling wildlife to flourish across North Somerset, go to our rewilding page

Talk

  • join the North Somerset Giki Zero group to work out your carbon footprint before you make any changes so you can see the impact on your emissions of making different choices 

  • join the Climate Action North Somerset Facebook group to share tips, ideas and support for reducing emissions with like-minded people

  • contact your MP – they want to know about the key issues for constituents so it’s important you let your MP know that urgently tackling climate change is a priority for you

  • spread the word – talk to your friends, family, neighbours, colleagues and managers about why tackling the climate emergency is an important issue and encourage them to take steps to reduce their own carbon emissions

Businesses

Leadership

  • make a plan for energy management - draft policy and guidelines so that everyone knows your targets and initiatives
  • set an example - use your position to encourage change in other partner or community businesses but setting up networks, conferences, or groups
  • develop work from home policies and options to reduce employee travel into the office
  • invest in the development of green technology and innovations

In the office

  • set up workplace recycling areas and water bottle fill stations
  • swap out plastic catering supplies for renewable or compostable materials
  • repair and reuse office furniture, hardware, or machinery instead of buying new, or convert to new made of sustainable materials or with energy efficiency
  • switch from paper usage to cloud computing or a remote data management system 
  • use electric vehicles for your fleet, or install GPS to track fuel usage and distance, so you can make efficiency changes

Planning and buildings

To find out more information about how you can introduce green energy measures into building and planning, see our climate change page in the Planning section. 

Volunteer or join a community group

There are a number of community groups in North Somerset which work together to reduce carbon emissions and promote green change in their local area.

Resources