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What can we do?

The average person in the UK has a carbon footprint of nearly 8 tonnes.

To get to zero carbon by 2040, we all need to reduce our own footprint.

A lot of the things that can make a difference are really simple to do, but we know that lots of people are not doing them.

So if you are, share with friends and family to encourage others to take part and do their bit.

Most of the ideas here will also help you save money. For more money saving ideas and support visit our money advice page.

Make low carbon journeys

  • walk or cycle to school, the shops or to work
  • consider using public transport if possible
  • car share for regular journeys, such as to work or school
  • reduce the need to travel for business by looking at online meetings
  • join your local car club and save on insurance and running costs
  • think about making your next car an electric vehicle (find some advice from Electric Car Guide)
  • take the train for longer domestic journeys rather than flying

Fight against food waste

  • plan your meals at the start of each week
  • buy loose, where possible, as this is often cheaper and fresher and will also encourage you to buy only what you need
  • learn how to cook and bake new recipes using leftovers

Save energy

  • find out if you are eligible for free energy saving improvements for your home
  • switch off the lights – lighting costs account for around 15% of your household energy bill
  • use LED light bulbs
  • turn your thermostat down a notch – by reducing the temperature at home by 1°C, you could cut your annual energy bill by £75 and reduce your carbon emissions by 300kg.
  • cut down on draughts - draught proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy and money, and the materials are cheaply available from high street DIY stores for as little as £200
  • switch to renewable electricity – most energy suppliers now offer a green energy tariff.

Shop local

  • support independent businesses
  • reduce traffic on our roads
  • improve air quality
  • you will also be supporting your...
    • local economy
    • independent businesses


  • carry your own reusable cup
  • take your own cutlery to work or on a day out
  • buy your fruit and veg loose
  • use a reusable bag for your shopping

Save water

  • take shorter showers
  • turn the tap off when brushing your teeth
  • make sure you have a full load in your washing machine and dishwasher
  • use a bowl for washing up
  • boil the right amount of water needed for your cup of tea

Other things to try

  • find some ideas online: there are a few online apps to help you track your footprint, like Giki Zero[external link]
  • consider reducing the amount of meat you eat regularly and buy it locally
  • switch to paperless billing to prevent excess paper being printed
  • plant for shade
  • check what’s happening locally and join in
  • sign up for flood alerts from the Environment Agency

How can I help make Darlington sustainable?

Install our web app.