How to Reduce your Carbon Footprint

Below are several actions you could take everyday to reduce your carbon footprint, and therefore live a more sustainable life...

  • Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use. Use the 'power down' settings on your computer to automatically shut down your computer at lunchtimes, night-time and weekends. Leaving a PC monitor on standby overnight produces enough energy to microwave 6 dinners!

  • Switch off unnecessary equipment including printers, scanners, chargers, TV’s and radios. If you're not going to use your computer for a while, turn off the screen. Screen savers may save the screen but they don't save energy.

  • In the UK, 66,000 homes could be powered by the energy we waste annually, equivalent to 2 power stations worth!

  • Turn it off at the plug - £1 billion worth of energy is wasted in the UK every year by people leaving appliances on standby.

  • Use energy saving light bulbs as they save energy and last much longer than standard bulbs, therefore saving you money.

  • Consider walking, biking, taking public transport or car sharing to work or college. Walking to work is free and keeps you fit, it also means less cars on the road. Start by using alternative ways of getting to work or college one day a week to start with and build it up over time.

  • Consider where your food comes from. Buying local fresh produce means that it has travelled less miles to get to you, it has therefore used less carbon. 95% of fruit and 50% of vegetables eaten in the UK are imported; try growing your own at home, they only have to travel a few meters and they taste great!

  • Don’t waste food, only buy what you need. In the UK alone we throw away 8.3 million tonnes of food each year. Avoid unnecessary 'Buy One, Get One Free' offers (BOGOF) and plan meals to save money and reduce the amount of food that is wasted. Go to to find out more information on how to plan meals and for great leftover recipe tips.

  • Reduce, reuse and recycle your waste. By disposing of your waste responsibly you can help to save materials and resources from being sent to a landfill site. Bedford College provides recycling containers across the sites, please use them wherever possible. To find out more about reducing, reusing and recycling your waste in Bedford Borough, visit the council’s website.

  • Turn down the heating and insulate your home. By turning your heating down by just a couple of degrees you can not only save energy but also money. Remember to shut windows, curtains and doors to retain heat, especially in the winter. You can apply for grants on insulating your home. To find out more about this scheme, please visit the Energy Saving Trust’s website.

  • You can calculate your own carbon footprint by going to the Carbon Footprint website.

  • You can also complete a free Home Energy Check which can tell you how much energy you are currently using in your home, and steps you can take to reduce your energy bills. They also do a Water Bill Check. Visit the Energy Saving Trust’s website.

There are many reasons for leading a more sustainable lifestyle. These include the need to:

  • Reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere by cars, factories, animals, landfills, etc. as the excessive release of this gas into our atmosphere is linked to climate change and global warming.
  • Reduce our reliance on resources such as oil, coal and gas.
  • Prevent wastage of energy and resources.
  • Encourage a “greener society”.
  • Slow down the destruction of natural environments.