Everyday Emissions: What Daily Activities Have the Largest Greenhouse Impact

In just one year, the average Western European lifestyle produces 15 tonnes of carbon emissions, while the average American produces 16.5 tonnes of carbon emissions. With many experts claiming that a global temperature rise of just 1.5 degrees will create irreversible damage, we all know that we need to do what we can to reduce our carbon footprint. So what every-day activities are the biggest culprits in contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and what steps can you take every day to help reduce your carbon footprint?

Cleaning Up

While we all know that running energy-hungry appliances like heaters, washers and air-conditioners has a huge impact on our carbon footprint. One of the largest culprits of everyday emissions is washers and dryers. One load of laundry creates a huge 700grams of CO2 emissions, if you do just one load of laundry a week, this equates to over 36 kg of CO2 emissions a year. Making sure you only wash with full loads and ditching the dryer for air-drying clothes can help to reduce your carbon footprint.

So, now we have clean clothes but what about ourselves? Twelve minutes of singing in the shower will contribute a further one kilogram to your daily greenhouse gas emissions tally. The longer your shower, the more emissions you contribute.


Coffee Time

We all love a good coffee, but when sipping your cup of morning brew it may be worth sparing a thought for the environment. Just boiling the water with an electric kettle contributes 115grams to your daily greenhouse gas emissions, when you add in the emissions released in the production, transport and sale of the milk and coffee, this all starts to add up.

Popping out to your local Starbucks won’t be doing the environment too many favours either. One large latte produces 340g of carbon emissions, with milk representing a large portion of these CO2 emissions. When an average of 95 million cups of coffee are consumed in just the UK every day, that morning brew might not be seeming so appealing. If you love your coffee too much to give up though, then it may be worth switching to milk alternatives or drinking it without milk altogether.


Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

What we eat has a massive role in our greenhouse gas emissions. If for breakfast you opt for porridge or cereal made with an average amount of milky goodness you will have added 300grams to your daily greenhouse gas emissions. While ordering the 8-ounce sirloin steak for dinner every night, over the course of a year, will contribute 0.8 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Switching to a vegan-based diet is one way to dramatically reduce your carbon footprint.

Time to go to Work

The average American driving a 30-mile round trip to work every day will contribute an annual 4.3 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions. While walking or cycling is best for the environment and a great healthy option for getting to work, public transport is the next best option. If there is no choice but to drive, then carpooling just three times a week can reduce your carbon footprint by 0.8 metric tonnes.

With global greenhouse gas emissions an ever-present issue, it is the responsibility of us all to help limit our carbon footprint and help tackle the climate crisis. While policy changes are needed, recognising the individual effect that we have on the environment and adapting our everyday activities to live a more sustainable lifestyle is one way we can all help to stop global warming and climate change. So whether you choose to switch to milk alternatives in your coffee, walk to work or ditch the dryer, every little bit helps.


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