10 ways to reduce your carbon footprint every day

Updated: Jan 26, 2021

As long as we are alive and breathing, we will always be releasing carbon into the atmosphere. With the acceleration of technology, more and more carbon is entering the atmosphere and environments. This tragedy does not only apply to plants and animal; people are also at risk. However, there are ways we, as humans, can reduce the amount of carbon we feed the planet. If we want to continue living on this Earth, we must respect the planet and the balance of nature. After months of research, I have narrowed down 10 significant ways we can give back to the planet and save our environment.

1. Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

These three words are not new for us. If something is no longer wanted/needed, consider giving it to someone else! Avoid buying items in bulk if you know you will have waste. Try to purchase the appropriate amount of a product. When purchasing paper, plastic, glass, or metal, recycle it at your nearest facility, if possible. If you do not have recycling in your area, try to repurpose the products! Check with your locals, as well. Many people use recycled materials to create art and sustainable products.

2. Live Minimally

Going hand-in-hand with reducing your purchases, a minimalist lifestyle will decrease your carbon footprint. Living minimally does not happen overnight. Start by decluttering and recycling/donating items you no longer use. Also, get in the habit of asking "do I need this?" before buying something. That small question holds a lot of power. If you do not need something, do not buy it. You will notice that most of what you will keep will be high-quality items that can be reused over and over again. Less products means less production. Less production means less carbon!

3. LEDs

LED lights are a highly energy efficient form of lighting. Switching from standard light bulbs to LED bulbs will decrease your lighting energy by 75%! They also last 25% longer than standard light bulbs. An astonishing 95% of the energy in LEDs is converted into light and only 5% is wasted as heat. Less lighting energy use reduces the demand from power plants and decreases greenhouse gas emissions, such as CO2.

4. Watch Your Water

We are running out of fresh water, globally. By reducing the amount of water we use, we can better protect against future drought years. Conserving water is also important because it keeps water clean while protecting the environment. A good way to conserve water is to ensure that all faucets in your home are turned off, keep the water off while brushing teeth, and, if possible and/or necessary, invest in a water-saving dishwasher. There are several machines that actually reduce the energy and water used!

5. Buy Local and Homegrown

Just like us, food travels, too. By shopping locally, you are purchasing goods produced in your community. However, when you shop at the grocery store, many of the foods you buy travel over 1000 miles to reach your plate. By cutting down on these miles, you are reducing the environmental impact of your food. Also, you are supporting local farmers and gardeners, while conserving their land.

6. Invest in a Bicycle

As soon as you buy a bicycle, you are saving money! A high-quality bike will likely outlast a used automobile. Bikes also do not produce CO2 emissions, unlike scooters or vehicles. I understand that not everyone lives in a bike-accessible location, but, if you do, please, invest in a high-quality bike. Riding a bike is both great exercise for you and great for the environment!

7. Clean Energy

What is clean energy? Clean energy is energy produced by sustainable resources. The most common forms of clean energy are windmills, hydro-generators, and solar panels. You choice may vary depending on your location. Even though the upfront cost may be on the pricey end, you will not need to pay for energy again. Also, you are helping the environment by reducing the amount of oil and coal energy produced!

8. Take Care of Your Car

Constantly going back-and-forth hitting the accelerator and the brakes cause your car to use more gas and waste more carbon into the atmosphere. Using cruise control as much as possible is a great way to combat this issue. Keep your tires inflated to the recommended level. When tires are not inflated properly they increase the wear-and-tear of the tire and fuel costs. Also, getting regular oil and filter changes will contribute to a cleaner engine and lower vehicle emissions. These small changes will help you make a difference everyday you use your vehicle.

9. Fly Less

Airplanes require a lot of fuel, which, in turn, produces a lot of carbon dioxide. Flying emmits three times more carbon into the atmosphere when compared to vehicles. An easy fix is to reduce the amount of flights taken. If flying is the only option, I suggest doing your research. Many airline companies are putting in an initiative to reduce the pollution produced from the planes. I personally like JetBlue. They are the first US airline company to go completely carbon-neutral. Alaska Airlines also seems to be moving in the same direction.

10. Become a Gardener

Growing your own produce is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint. If it is a large outdoor garden, a small indoor garden, or even just a single plant, you are reducing your carbon output. Plants remove carbon from the atmosphere in a process called photosynthesis. The more plants grown, the more carbon that is removed from the air. You also benefit from the plant as a form of food, too! Not only will you have less waste, you could potentially sell your fresh produce as an extra means of income.

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