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Our carbon footprint is the effect we have on the Earth by emitting greenhouse gases (both directly and indirectly). It's measured in tonnes of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere and does not paint our civilisation in a good light.
We can't blame it all on huge machines and big corporations. You also pollute. In your day-to-day life, your small daily actions are leaving a trail and increasing the overall amount of CO2 in our environment.
We are all (some much more so, some less so) threatening the sustainability of our planet. From using plastic bags to spraying deodorant, there are countless things we do without even realising that are continuously damaging the environment.
“The average household in Spain emits more than 12 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.”
How to know how much you are polluting
Often, we can make a huge personal contribution by assessing our habits and getting rid of those that we don't need, or replacing them with others that don't have the same environmental impact.
Before we look at how we can reduce our footprint, we should determine, in plain terms, our annual contribution to CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.
It's surprising to learn that a one-person household can produce more than 3 tonnes of CO2, solely through electricity consumption (excluding other energy sources). Similarly, an average-sized vehicle covering 15,000 km a year can emit 2.5 tonnes of CO2.
How to contribute to sustainability
Before we performed these calculations, it seemed like it would take a large group of people to emit 1 tonne of CO2, but now we have realised the significant individual impact of our actions.
If these actions can have such a huge effect on the health of our planet, it's clear that if we correct them, we can create a reduction of equal impact.
If we want our planet to survive, something has to give. We need to consume:
1. Less energy
Although electricity is one of the energy sources that produces the least pollution, it is also one of the ones that we use the most, meaning that our lives are filled with habits that require unnecessary consumption.
- Only use the washing machine and dishwasher on a full load. Avoid using the tumble dryer.
- Use extension leads with switches to avoid phantom power consumption, which is costing you EUR 5 a month.
- Use a flask to keep drinks hot instead of reheating them in the microwave or on the hob.
- If you haven't already, switch to LED bulbs.
- Keep your fridge clean (with no ice build-up) and away from heat sources. Don't put hot food in the fridge.
- Take quick showers instead of long baths.
- Turn down your heating: lowering the temperature by just 1°C results in 300 kg less CO2 emissions.
- Turn down your air conditioning: consumption of 1 kWh represents emissions of 650 g of CO2.
- Always look for appliances with the best energy efficiency rating possible.
2. Less plastic
In addition to the high levels of harmful gases emitted during their production, plastics and microplastics are practically indestructible and have a huge impact on ecosystems. This is why we must:
- Recycle: put all plastic in the yellow container.
- Only use paper or fabric bags, reusing them as much as possible.
- When making purchases, always opt for products in cardboard, metal or glass packaging. If you can't avoid buying plastic packaging, choose larger sizes; manufacturing a 1.5l bottle generates less pollution than a 0.5l bottle.
3. Fewer fossil fuels
A good portion of the CO2 emissions come from exhaust pipes. Specifically, a vehicle powered by fossil fuel (petrol, diesel) is the least efficient as it is the one that generates most emissions per passenger transported:
- Use non-polluting vehicles: bicycles and scooters, or public transport in those cases and cities where fleets with low or zero emissions have been made available.
- Avoid using the car for short journeys and keep it in good condition so that the emissions match those designed by the manufacturer.
- Switch to electric or hybrid vehicles wherever possible.
The electric car is undoubtedly the future of sustainability. In Endesa we already have a 100% green tariff for which you pay the same every month regardless of your consumption.