Wednesday, 13 March 2019 07:44

Not quite 365 practical ways to make a difference, but almost

Not quite 365 practical ways to make a difference, but almost

Years ago I read a book by Joanna Yarrow called HOW TO REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. I found it very informative and in my normal fashion made notes as I went along.

Over the years I have changed many of our daily habits at home using these notes as a guide. I thought you might find my summary useful as you work towards reducing your carbon footprint.

Not quite 365 practical ways to make a difference, but almost:

Heating and cooling

  • Sun and shade
    • Plant deciduous trees to provide summer shade
    • Fit awnings.
  • Draughts
    • Fill in gaps to stop draughts
    • Keep doors closed
  • Insulation
    • Insulate your roof
    • Double glaze
    • Close curtains and blinds as sun goes
  • Air conditioning
    • Rather improve insulation and natural shading
    • Encourage an natural breeze

Electricity and electronics

  • Lighting
    • Maximise natural light
    • Use CFL’s where possible
    • Turn lights off
  • Electronic appliances
    • Be label conscious when buying new appliances
    • Switch off properly
  • Mobile phones
    • Unplug charger when not in use
    • Pass your old phone on


  • Stoves
    • Use gas where possible
    • Have a smaller convection oven for small meals
  • Cooking techniques
    • Cook in batches
    • Use smallest pot needed
    • Match the pan to the ring
    • Use flat bottomed pans/pots
    • Don’t preheat oven
    • Turn oven off a few minutes before food is cooked
  • Refrigeration
    • Location is everything
    • Keep outside of fridge clean
    • Check temperature
    • Defrost regularly
    • Check door seal
    • Keep fridge tidy, not too full, not too empty
  • Drinks
    • Boil only as much as you need
    • Drink tap water

Washing and cleaning

  • Dishes
    • Use a washing up bowl, or put the plug in
    • Soak pans before washing
    • Only use dishwasher when full
  • Cleaning products
    • Use reusable cloths and sponges
    • Opt for concentrated products where possible
    • Use products that work well at low temps
  • Laundry
    • Use a front loader washing machine
    • Wash at low temperatures
    • Avoid the prewash unless really grubby
    • Hang clothes out to dry
    • Only tumble dry when necessary
    • Check labels on clothing before buying. Try not to buy ‘dry clean only”

Gardening and DIY

  • Water use
    • Harvest the rainwater
    • Invest in a grey water system
  • Backyard
    • Rake leaves, don’t use a blower
    • Plant trees
  • Compost
    • Make your own compost
    • Set up a wormery
    • Buy a Bokashi bucket


  • Eating local
    • Buy local and seasonal
  • Food chain
    • Quality not quantity
    • Eat sustainable fish only
  • Direct buying
    • Shop at local markets and shops
    • Skip the supermarket where possible
  • Clothing
    • Buy to last - good quality classic clothing
    • Look after your clothes
    • Swap with friends
    • Recycle and redesign
    • Buy 2nd hand
  • Buying less
    • Eat before you shop
    • Avoid disposables
    • Fix things, rather than buy new
    • Buy quality to last
  • Packaging
    • Buy non-perishables in bulk
    • Choose products sold in refillable containers
    • Use foil sparingly (resource and energy intensive)
    • Don’t use disposable bags – take your own
    • Avoid packaging made from mixed materials – harder to recycle
    • Reuse plastic containers
    • Avoid single sachets
  • Recycling
    • Share newspapers and magazines
    • Recycle your paper, glass, PET plastic, cans
    • Buy recycled products


  • Baby care
    • Make your own baby food
    • Lend, borrow, swap baby equipment – don’t buy
  • Toys
    • Buy 2nd hand toys
    • Use a toy library
    • Limit the number of toys
    • Don’t buy toys that require batteries 


  • Computers
    • Make your next computer a laptop
    • If it must be a desktop, buy a flat LCD screen
    • Recycle old equipment (E WASTE)
  • Office equipment
    • Unplug equipment overnight
    • Use paper on both sides when photocopying
  • Energy saving
    • Switch off lights and equipment when not in use
    • Buy energy efficient equipment and appliances


  • Hotels and holidays
    • Stay on your own continent
    • Eat the local food when on holiday
    • Keep your towels and linen for more than one day
  • Celebrations
    • Celebrate earth day by switching off every 22 April
    • Avoid balloons and tinsel
    • Use LED fairy lights
    • Give less stuff, rather think of an experience or service to give
    • Tie parcels with ribbon rather than using selotape


  • eco driving
    • slow down
    • avoid excess drag or weight
    • pump your tyres
    • get your car serviced regularly
    • use the right gear
    • drive smoothly


How to reduce your carbon footprint by Joanna Yarrow (

You might also be encouraged to order her book and read it for yourself. Find a second hand copy, share it with your friends!


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