Blog post

Seven top tips to reduce your environmental impact

This year is shaping up to be an important year for green issues, with controversy surrounding President Donald Trump and the global climate debate, as well as wildlife extinction and air pollution in the news agenda.

By Rosemary Horry - 12 February 2017

Now’s the time to think about little changes that can be made to reduce our environmental impact.

Here’s how you can help:

Tip 1 – Watch your energy consumption

Switch those incandescent light bulbs to energy-saving fluorescent ones. Not only will you reduce the amount of power you consume, you’ll also save money on electricity bills. Think about other ways in which you can cut your electricity usage.

Many electronic devices such as chargers for phones and cameras, televisions and computers, continue to draw energy even when in the “off” position. To avoid this phantom power use, unplug such devices, or plug everything into a power strip which you can turn off when not in use. Remember to switch off computer monitors, printers and other equipment at the end of each day.

Tip 2 – Go vegetarian for a day

Experts suggest that we reduce the amount of red meat in our diets, so why not go vegetarian one day each week? Recent studies have found that livestock production contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and has other environmental impacts too.

Tip 3 – Recycle old technology

The chances are that you’ve got an old phone or laptop lying around. Think about de-cluttering your life and donating your old technology to charity or send them off for recycling.

Tip 4 – Conserve resources

Water: Only turn the tap on when necessary and make sure you get those dripping taps fixed.

Paper: When you do need to print, make sure that it is on the duplex setting (so it prints on both sides of the paper) and be sure to recycle when you have finished with it. Buy recycled paper but also look for paper that is processed chlorine free (PCF). Chlorine is sometimes used to bleach paper to make it white, however this process is harmful to the environment and to human health. PCF paper is made without this type of chlorine processing and is also made using recycled paper.

Tip 5 – Do some gardening

Swap chemical fertilisers and pesticides for organic substitutes. Chemicals eventually seep into the water table and can affect local wildlife. Try starting a compost bin in your garden to turn organic waste into natural fertiliser. You can also make your garden more animal-friendly by putting up bird feeders and planting pollinator species or fruiting trees.

Tip 6 – Buy in season and avoid packaging

Choose local food where possible to reduce the distance from ‘producer to plate’, which will lower your environmental impact. Try to eat foods that are in season. They’re often tastier, cheaper and better for the planet.

Tip 7 – Travel smart

You can reduce your CO2 production by using public transport, car sharing with others or ditching the car for short journeys in favour of cycling or walking.

Find out more about the University of Derby’s environment policies and activities.

For further information contact the Corporate Communications team at or call 01332 593953.

About the author

Rosemary smiling

Rosemary Horry
Senior Lecturer in Environmental Management

Rosemary is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Management. Her current role is within the College of Science and Engineering, in the School of Built and Natural Environmental. She tends to be involved in modules that discuss sustainability and environmental management issues and is currently the Sustainability Lead within the school.

View full staff profileView full staff profile