Trying to lower your carbon footprint can feel like climbing a mountain, but it doesn’t have to. There are simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint. (Think of it like climbing a hill before you tackle a mountain.)
Reducing your carbon footprint has meaning, even when it’s small.
Ever Wondered How You Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?
It’s easy to feel like your impact doesn’t do anything, but it’s more than you think. Whether you start hunting for sustainable packaging to reduce waste or installing solar panels for clean energy, you’re making a step in the right direction.
Tip #1: Drive Less
Wanna hear something nuts? Transportation makes up more than 25% of all emissions. Sure, that counts planes, trains, and automobiles. But it also means that reducing your carbon footprint might start with… well, making some footprints!
Walk or Bike
Walking and biking are great ways to get around and improve your health. Win-win!
Carpool or Use Public Transportation
Another way to lower your carbon footprint (and your transportation costs!) is public transit and carpooling. Think of these as community resources. The more you use them, the more accessible they are for everyone!
Tip #2: If You Must Fly
Let’s be real, you can’t always avoid flying. But, there are ways you can improve your impact with thoughtful travel plans.
Choose Nonstop Flights
This one’s pretty simple. The more direct your route, the fewer emissions you cause. Switching flights can mean zigzagging back and forth, and going out of your way to get where you want.
So treat yourself to that nonstop flight! It’s better for your mood and the environment!
Yeah, remember that “treat yourself?” Save your money and fly coach, because business-class fliers leave a much bigger carbon footprint. We could get into some math, but the long and short of it is that business, premium, and first-class tickets are as wasteful as they are expensive.
Fly coach and get yourself a meal out somewhere fun!
Tip #3: Adjust the Temperature
Energy waste at home doesn’t just raise your electric bill. It also increases your carbon footprint! If you like set-it-and-forget-it solutions, you’ll love these easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint at home.
Set Your Water Heater to 120F
Hot showers are bad for your skin and the environment. Drop your water heater temp to 120F (48/49C) for a simple way to lower your carbon footprint.
Lower the Thermostat in the Winter and Raise It in the Summer
Everyone talks about this one, but it’s worth repeating. The less your home needs to be heated or cooled, the lower your carbon footprint will be. That doesn’t mean you have to freeze! Air-source heat pumps are 3x more efficient than traditional heating systems.
Tip #4: Change Your Laundry Habits
What’s the carbon footprint of … a load of laundry? (It’s bigger than you think!) Even energy-efficient dryers tend to use electricity for heat, making them less efficient than gas options. Here are a few ways to lower the carbon footprint of your laundry routine.
Wash Clothes in Cold Water
Since most laundry detergents work in cold water, this switch won’t make a difference in the cleanliness of your clothes. But, it will lower your electricity bills. Nice!
Air / Line Dry Clothes
If you want a change that packs a punch, try air-drying your clothes. Fabrics like cotton, linen, and wool love to be air-dried. Better yet, it won’t fade your old tees the way a dryer does!
Tip #5: Turn It Off
If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, don’t forget the passive ways you use electricity. Ever heard of ghost electricity? It’s power that devices are sucking on constantly when they’re plugged in, even when they aren’t on! Not cool.
Turn Off Lights if You’re Not in the Room
We’re all guilty of it. But we can do better, for our electrical bills and our environment. Let’s turn off the lights.
Unplug Appliances When Not in Use
Think of it this way. Your appliances are kinda like puppies. If you leave them alone with food, they’re just going to keep eating. Unplug your appliances so they aren’t constantly snacking!
Tip #6: Change It Up
Anything that uses electricity is taxing on the environment, but some things are better than others. With a little time and some thoughtful investments, you can reduce your footprint long-term!
Change to LED or CFL Light Bulbs
We’ve all heard this one, but it’s another set-it-and-forget-it tip. Switch to energy-efficient bulbs and they’ll last you for years. Plus, you can usually get them for free or at a discount from your provider!
Look for Energy Star(C) Products When Replacing / Buying New Appliances
If you do a home energy assessment, inefficient appliances will send up a huge red flag. When you’re ready to replace your fridge or stove, take time to find things that meet Energy Star standards.
Tip #7: Seal It Up
Isn’t there a saying about leaks and ships? Or a metaphor? Anyway, here we’re talking about leaks and cracks in your home. So, check your seals!
Insulate Your Home
Did you know that you can lose a lot of your heating and cooling right through your walls? Have an insulation contractor look things over and update your insulation. You’d be surprised how much of a difference it makes!
Seal Cracks in and Around Windows
Is replacing your windows an unnecessary luxury? Nope! Upgrading from single-paned to double-paned windows can dramatically reduce heating and cooling-related costs (up to half a grand a year).
Tip #8: Eat Less Meat
When we think about greenhouse gases, most people think of carbon dioxide. But methane is 80x more powerful than carbon dioxide.
And a big source of it is cows. (Plus, each pound of beef takes around 1,847 gallons of water to raise. And there’s been hundreds of acres of deforestation to make space for cattle farming. Yikes!) Turns out that steak is more expensive than you thought, huh?
Tip #9: Use Less Water
Wait, what? Yeah, using water takes energy! Water has to be pumped, transported, and cleaned before getting sent to your place.
Not to mention water shortages that are happening all over the world, from entire countries in the Middle East to multiple states in the United States. Ben Franklin said, “When the well is dry we know the worth of water.” That hits close to home.
Be Mindful of Water Usage (Teeth Brushing, Washing Dishes, Etc)
A quick and easy way to lower your water usage is to install low-flow shower heads and faucets. But, you can also start mindfully using water. Do you leave it running while you brush your teeth? It might be time to kick that habit.
Tip #10: Use Native Plants in Your Landscaping
This one is super simple, stick to growing local foliage. Plants that are acclimated to other climates may need you to import fancy soil additives or water more heavily. Support local biodiversity with naturally occurring plants!
Tip #11: Shop Smarter
The impact of e-commerce is bigger than most people think. How are we supposed to navigate it? You can always choose slower shipping methods and to offset the carbon footprint of your purchase, but that’s not the end of it!
Don’t Buy Fast Fashion
We can start by quitting fast fashion and finding eco-friendly places to shop. If those low prices have your heart, start by browsing your local thrift shops. You never know what you’ll find!
Avoid Impulse Buying
A great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to purchase thoughtfully. Add things to your shopping cart and wait a week. If you still feel like you need them, go for it! (Plus, a lot of companies will send you a discount code 😉)
Tip #12: Buy From Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Companies
Whether you want sustainable dog products or alternatives to fast fashion, you can find planet-loving companies to support. It’s easy to forget, but your spending power has value. (I mean, it’s literally called “spending power!”)
By voting with our dollar, we show companies what we expect from them and that we aren’t willing to compromise our planet for our purchases. So, treat yourself and put your money where your heart is!
Tip #13: Bring Reusable Bags When Shopping
If a zero-waste online grocery store isn’t your speed, invest in some shopping bags. Let’s be real, some of those patterns are cool! Plus, single-use plastic bags are being banned in cities across the U.S. and around the world. And some stores will charge you if you don’t bring in your own bags!
(Long story short: get some reusable bags in a style you like and break up with single-use bags for good!)
Tip #14: Use Renewable Energy
There are loads of renewable energy options available. If you’re a homeowner, you could install solar panels and possibly get a tax cut. Renting a place? Your utility company might offer renewable energy options!
Tip #15: Plant a Tree or Save One
There are a lot more than 15 ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but let’s think about protecting trees. These powerful carbon dioxide sponges exhale the stuff of life: oxygen. Planting and protecting trees is a gift to the world and our future generations!
At the end of the day, reducing your carbon footprint has meaning. If everyone in the U.S. became vegetarian, that would reduce emissions by 280 million metric tons per year. Imagine what we could do if we could all share just a little bit of optimism! Even the smallest steps in the right direction can make a big difference.
Businesses that invest in sustainability see an increase in both new and returning customers, learn more about how we can tighten your relationship with customers.