4 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Everyday Carbon Footprint

It’s the middle of the afternoon and your daughter’s second-grade class has just returned from the playground. Sarah’s teacher settles her and her adrenaline-filled classmates down by passing out worksheets to introduce them to their carbon footprint by asking questions like: “How do you get to school?” and “How do you dry your clothes?”. Step 1 of “Introduction to Greenhouse Gasses”: Complete (aka Sarah innocently ratting you out for running a less than eco-friendly household — depending on how you look at it).

Like most areas in life, the first step towards improvement is acknowledging the problem (so hats off to Sarah for the honesty). Here is where we step in. We’re going to take that basic, elementary understanding and provide some reasonable – yet impactful – ways you can reduce your carbon footprint while doing your part to help save the planet, and avoid the judgemental wrath of your school’s PTA.

1) Ditch The Meat

For those hangry meat eaters out there, yes, I hear the record scratch too. But did you know 2,400 gallons of water is used to produce 1 pound of meat? Putting things into perspective here, that’s 533,280 gallons of water used to produce meat a year for a single person. Everything from the fossil fuels used in production to the square feet of land used for grazing and growing feed crops makes meat a devastating threat to our environment. I’m not suggesting you quit cold turkey here (pun not-intended), but let’s start by implementing Meatless Mondays. Or start experimenting with other meatless, high-protein alternatives to your diet such as tofu, quinoa, or lentils.

2) Take the Bus

In 2017, transportation preceded power for the first time as the top source of CO2 emissions, coming in at a whopping 1.9 billion tons of CO2 annually. That means vehicles (planes, busses, cars, and boats) emitted more CO2 than all electricity used in the world for the first time ever. Sure, the number of people converting to electric or hybrid cars is increasing, but we can take that a step further by utilizing public transportation for the city folk out there, or enforcing neighborhood carpools. You can even catch a significantly cheaper fare with ride-share apps that allow you to share your ride with other users commuting to the same area.

3) Invest in Sustainable Fashion

Your pursuit of investing in pieces that will last years and not break at the seams when thrown in the wash has another reason for you to be more mindful the next time you’re shopping. The textiles and fashion industry pose huge risk to our environment through the clothing life cycle. Fast-fashion is polluting the environment from chemical usage, to massive landfills and water waste. Being a conscious consumer is needed now more than ever, which makes your options easier to navigate. Shop brands that apply sustainable practices to their clothing production and are doing their part to save the planet. Also, look for brands that enable carbon neutral manufacturing and shipping like EcoCart. If your favorite brand doesn’t have this option, reach out to them and let them know that it’s important to you!

4) Go Plastic Free

If you think recycling your single-use plastic is enough to save the planet, think again. Of the 32 million tons of plastic waste, only 9% is restored from recycling according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Microplastic has found its way into our bodies and our marine life through our oceans, crops, and everyday household products. A 2019 study revealed that we consume 5 grams of plastic each week. Sound disturbing? You can make a difference.

Start by replacing all plastic water bottles in your household with durable, insulated steel water bottles that are easy to take on the go and will preserve the temperature of your beverage for hours. Next, stop paying 10 cents for a bag every time you’re at the grocery store and start bringing your own reusable bags. You’d be surprised at how much more you can fit! Lastly, bamboo cutlery. This is perfect for school or work lunches, casual gatherings, or even take out. They’re easy to clean, super lightweight to transport, and most importantly – biodegradable.

Making the smallest changes to your daily activities can make a large impact on the world. No act of change is ever too small and we hope you’re able to adopt a few of these practices into your daily routine to help future generations, like Sarah and her classmates, have a clean and cool planet for generations to come.

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