Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK and a big contributor to climate change, it is therefore damaging our planet. While a large part of air pollution comes from vehicles on roads, factories, and burning fuels, we can still do things as individuals that can make a difference to our air quality.
Here are 10 simple things we can all do – at work, on the road and in our communities.
- Compost organic waste
Sending waste to landfill contributes to both air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. By composting your garden waste and any food waste, you can turn it into a nourishing meal for your vegetable patch or garden instead.
- Keep an eye on your energy use
Using less energy can cut your air pollution footprint. Consider installing energy-efficient appliances and lightbulbs, insulating your home and upgrading your windows. Find some more energy-saving tips here.
Installing a smart meter can help track energy use and reduce energy waste while servicing your boiler will help it run as efficiently as possible and cut your energy use and carbon emissions too.
- Choose 100% renewable energy
Fossil fuels are big contributors to air pollution, generating both harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases. Choose to power your business with 100% renewable electricity and help clean the air.
- Go solar
Generating electricity from solar panels doesn’t produce greenhouse gases or air pollution, making them a clean and sustainable way to power your home. If you install solar panels and generate more electricity than you need, you can sell any excess electricity back to the UK Grid.
On the road:
- Keep your vehicle serviced
Keep your vehicle regularly serviced as cars and vans pollute the air with gases and particles from the fuel, plus particles from tyres, brake pads, road surfaces and more. But regularly serviced vehicles cause less air pollution than poorly maintained vehicles. Diesel vehicles can give off even more particles than petrol vehicles, so be sure your diesel particle filter is emptied regularly.
- Upgrade your car
If you can, consider upgrading your car to a more environmentally friendly model. Electric vehicle engines emit far less harmful carbon emissions and air pollutants than fossil-fuelled cars and produce no exhaust emissions when driven. So, switching to a hybrid or electric car can help reduce your impact on local air pollution and keep the air around you cleaner.
The UK Government recently announced that petrol and diesel cars and vans won’t be sold from 2030 onwards. If you can’t go electric or hybrid, look at the emissions data for the car you’re planning to buy, particularly its nitrogen dioxide and particulate emissions to understand what its impact would be on your local air pollution and carbon footprint.
- Increase your step count
Upping your activity level isn’t just great for your overall health it’s good for the planet too. Walking or cycling rather than taking the car, particularly for short trips, helps reduce emissions of dirty particles, nitrogen dioxide and greenhouse gases. For longer journeys, consider using public transport or sharing a car.
In your community:
- Shop consciously
Same-day online delivery can be a temptingly easy way to shop – but it leads to air pollution from cars and motorbikes, not to mention mountains of packaging waste. Most of us buy more than we need but shopping less frequently and more locally can help reduce the air pollution caused by factories.
- Encourage future generations
Kids nowadays are environmentally aware, making school gates the ideal place to help cut air pollution. Instead of driving to school, walk or cycle if you live close enough. Encourage your children’s school to manage waste sustainably: vegetable gardens can be as much fun at school as they are at home.
- Plant more trees and greenery
Supporting local garden initiatives or starting your own can help improve the long-term air quality in your local community. Plants help clean the air around them by consuming CO2.
At BES Utilities we are committed to helping clean the air and reduce air pollution by offering a 100% renewable electricity product for businesses.