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How to keep your contractor carbon footprint to a minimum

Paystream News

Kerry Hull

Tuesday 2nd Jun, 2015

Businesses and individuals throughout the UK are increasingly focusing on reducing their excess carbon dioxide emissions and keeping their carbon footprints to a minimum.

But how exactly can contractors keep their emissions to the lowest level possible?

What is a carbon footprint?

The term carbon footprint refers to the stamp a person, vehicle, project or business has on the environment.

For example, if they use a large quantity of carbon in their day-to-day operations, then their carbon footprint will be significantly bigger than for someone who is taking care to keep their impact on the environment as low as possible.

Working as a contractor often requires a lot of travel, as well as large amounts of paperwork, it can be challenging for some contractors to manage their carbon footprint effectively.

Due to the varying nature of contractors' work, some will naturally have a bigger carbon footprint than others. For example, it is unfair to compare the emissions of a construction or engineering contractor with those of an IT specialist.

In light of this, we have produced this brief guide to reducing carbon emissions to help make the UK a cleaner and greener place to live and work.


Contracting can involve a lot of travelling, with individuals often having to take job opportunities all over the country.

Switching to a public transport-based commute rather than driving themselves could not only reduce their carbon footprint but it may also have health benefits for a contractor.

This is according to a study carried out by doctors at the University of East Anglia's Norwich Medical School earlier this year, which discovered that travelling by bus or train instead of by car helped to lower a person's body mass index (BMI).

Lead author of the paper health economist Adam Martin commented: "For those with a commute of more than 30 minutes, there was an average reduction of 2.25 BMI units, or around seven kg (over one stone) for the average person."

Energy-saving devices

Another way that contractors can keep their carbon footprint to a minimum is by using energy-saving devices in their workplaces wherever possible.

For example, installing low-energy light bulbs in an office, or by using electric vehicles to get from job to job can help to significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions, improving a contractor's green credentials.

Online expense submissions

In addition, businesses are increasingly adopting a paperless approach in a bid to not only improve the security of their data and increase efficiency, but also to reduce the impact they have on the environment.

This is something that limited company and umbrella company contractors can also adopt by submitting their expenses online rather than in paper format. Not only is it quicker and more efficient but it's also more environmentally friendly.

At PayStream, we have an online portal and a smartphone app available for both limited company and umbrella contractors that allows them to not only keep track of their incomings and outgoings on the go, but they can also submit their expenses whilst on the move, further helping to keep paperwork to a minimum and improve a contractor's carbon footprint.

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