Household carbon culprits and how to reduce them

published Jun 30, 2022
2 min read

There’s been a lot of talk over recent years of the impact our actions are having on the planet. As we all know, carbon emissions are one of the most harmful elements that are affecting the environment with households contributing up to 40% in the UK!

In order to meet 2030 targets of slicing CO2 emissions by 55%, there has been a focus on finding solutions through addressing average household lifestyles.

In this article, we will have a closer look at the most common carbon culprits and how we can reduce them.

Energy Efficiency

According to Ofgem, on average, the UK household uses around 2,900 kWh of electricity and 12,000 kWh of gas a year. The amount of electricity and/or gas is often influenced by the area in which you live, the age and size of your house, the number of people, the efficiency of your boiler and whether it is gas or electric.

Reducing energy usage can be achieved through being more mindful of daily habits such as not leaving lights on or leaving phones and other devices on charge.  Furthermore, we can improve our household energy efficiency by opting for LED or halogen light bulbs, washing clothes at a lower temperature and using solar-powered devices where possible.

Household Waste

The C B Environmental group has observed that Brits are guilty of producing over 1 tonne of waste per average household and an astonishing 6 tree’s worth of paper every year!

Recycling is becoming a slowly increasing trend, with the average household recycling rate growing from 41.2% to 45.5% between 2010 and 2019. This is a step in the right direction, however, more needs to be done to make further environmental impacts.

Making changes to our daily routines and shopping habits can help to prevent the amount of harmful waste that is negatively affecting our environment. Invest in a reusable bottle or ‘to-go’ cup for your beverages when out and about. Be mindful about the amount of food you buy each week – devise a list before going and only buy what is necessary to reduce waste. Buy local produce if possible and try and reduce the amount of meat-based products consumed.


Gas heating is another one of the largest climate-changing contributors. Not only do a substantial amount of the UK’s gas boilers produce more emissions than Britain’s gas-fired power stations but also, they produce detrimental amounts of nitrogen dioxide. Consequentially, the CBI stated that to reach net-zero targets in 2050 the installation of new gas boilers will need to be banned by 2025.

Ways of reducing your carbon emission from heating can be through utilising heating controls such as a thermostat. You can also invest in installing renewable heating systems such as heat pumps or geothermal heating.

Moreover, check your windows are double glazed for more effective insulation, especially if you are living in an older house.


In 2020, Statista found that an average of 25.7 million people in the UK live in a household that has at least one car with the average vehicle emitting around 1,682,383 grams of CO2 per year. Depending on your circumstances, there will be multiple ways in which you can alter your carbon footprint without having to travel less.

Public transport is considered a more sustainable method of travel as it reduces the number of vehicles on the road. Likewise, walking or even cycling where possible can greatly improve your carbon footprint. This is also becoming a more accessible option with cities remodelling to provide increased pedestrianised areas and cycle lanes.

The fate of the environment is becoming an increasingly pressing issue but with slight changes in our lifestyle habits ranging from what we eat to how we travel to work, we still have the opportunity to make a positive change.