Footprints for the future

boy walking on table, leaving footprints

Everyone's carbon footprint is based on the carbon emissions caused by the amount of energy we use at home and to travel every year. It's important because of its contribution to climate change.

If you want to work out your family's carbon footprint visit www.tesco.com/greenerliving – you'll find a carbon calculator under sustainable living.

To aid the UK's move to a low-carbon economy, the Carbon Trust, set up in 2001, is helping to introduce a system of carbon labelling for products.

Tesco Green Category director Andy Brocklehurst says, 'A product's carbon footprint will be measured from its origin to the end of its useful life.

For example, we could look at the ingredients used in a frozen ready-meal. Was any CO2 emitted while they were growing?

'Then we consider processing and the delivery to our stores. We also check the packaging, how much energy we use keeping the product frozen and how much CO2 emissions occur during cooking. All add to the total carbon footprint which will be shown on the pack.'

This means we'll be able to see the carbon footprint of products we use and it will help us make informed choices about how we can reduce our carbon footprint.

What can I do today?

Light globe

Save energy and reduce your carbon footprint with tips from the Energy Saving Trust (www.energysavingtrust.org.uk):

  • don't leave appliances on standby and unplug mobile phone chargers when not in use. Almost a billion pounds of electricity is wasted in the UK every year by people leaving appliances on standby.
  • install three Energy Saving Recommended bulbs. They last 12 times longer and will save around £100 on your bills over the bulb's lifetime.

Clean air act

Pumps at new Tesco petrol station

CleanAir is a clever little device that sits next to the petrol pump and captures any vapour that comes out of the nozzle or your empty tank as you fill your car. It then condenses the vapour to a liquid preventing the emissions going into the atmosphere. The liquid is stored and can be used again as petrol. Pumps at new Tesco petrol stations have this device and by 2010 all 420 petrol stations will have it fitted. Tesco sells nearly six billion litres of petrol every year. The vapour recovered by CleanAir from those six billion litres will create enough petrol to fill over 180,000 cars!

Q&A

Can I feed wild birds in the summer and what should I put out? Mrs J Pope, Surrey

Bird in a tree

The RSPB advises high protein foods in the summer. Put out black sunflower seeds and good seed mixes without loose peanuts. Or try mild, grated cheese, pinhead oatmeal and soaked sultanas, raisins and currants. Look out for Tesco's range of wild bird food including RSPB Premium Sunflower Hearts, £3·75/1·2kg (£3·13/kg), available in stores now.

Beavering away

Beaver under water

Beavers are back at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust centre at Martin Mere, contributing to diversity at this vital site. A family of four, two adults and two babies (known as kits), were introduced in July 2007. Centre manager Andy Wooldridge says, 'Beavers are the original creators of wetlands and play a huge role in forming wetlands and shaping the landscape.' Take the kids to see the beavers being fed, for details visit www.wwt.org.uk/visit/martinmere.

Recycle Now week

Recycle Now week – 2-6 June

This year's campaign (www.recyclenow.com) focuses on getting us all to recycle 'just one more thing'. Look out at your Tesco store.

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