15 Easy Ways to Decrease Your Carbon Footprint
You might already know the basics of living an eco-friendly lifestyle, like recycling and shortening showers. We gathered lesser-known tips that could save you money AND help out our planet. It’s hard to feel like one small change in your lifestyle can make an impact on the environment, but it does! Simply switching to a reusable water bottle can save 156 single-use plastic bottles per year from slowly decomposing in a landfill.
In Your Home
- Wash your clothes on cold. Most of the energy used when you do laundry actually comes from heating up the water. Using cold water keeps threads strong and improves the lifespan of your garment. A win-win.
- Make your own household cleaner. Avoid harsh chemicals and switch up your cleaning routine. A quick search for “homemade household cleaner” gives you tons of recipes. You probably have everything on hand already!
- Replace your bulbs with LED or CFLs! They are up to 85% more energy-efficient than incandescent lights. They even last longer than traditional lightbulbs.
- Unplug electronics when not in use. TVs and desktops still use significant energy, even when left on standby. If you’re heading on vacation, add unplugging your devices to the to-do list.
- Repurpose furniture. Check out antique stores, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist to find furniture near you. Turn it into a fun DIY project with a fresh coat of paint and new hardware. Think about selling your old furniture instead of tossing it.
- Pack your essentials in reusable containers. Bring a reusable bag next time you grocery shop. Small containers in lunchboxes can replace plastic baggies. When traveling, opt for refillable containers for shampoo and conditioner vs. single-use plastic bottles.
In Your Community
- Start a neighborhood clean up group. See if you can encourage your neighbors to pick up litter in your community. Host a competition to see which block or family can collect the most trash. Even if it’s just once a year.
- Start walking. Walking not only improves your physical health, but it is also better for the environment. You would be surprised at what is within walking distance in your community.
- Incorporate eco-friendly practices into your work. Start a committee to make your office more eco-friendly. Recycling paper scraps, switching to reusable drinkware, and unplugging desktops when not in use are great ways to start a “green office.”
- Skip the plastic cutlery. When you order takeout, ask for no silverware and use the utensils you have at home. You can also buy a metal straw to use instead of plastic ones.
- Fix your own clothing when holes appear or buttons fall off. If you’re ready to get rid of clothing, donate or sell to a thrift store instead of tossing in the trash.
- Opt for rechargeable batteries. How nice would it be to know you don’t have to run to the store for new ones?! Regular batteries cannot be recycled like rechargeable ones can.
- Clean up your recycling. If your recyclables are dirty they are going to end up in a landfill. Around 25% of what ends up in recycling bins can’t be recycled!
- Start a compost bin. Food and lawn scraps make up a large amount of the average family’s waste. It makes great fertilizer for your home garden. If you don’t have the need, consider donating to your community garden.
- Support your local farmer’s markets. Buying produce from local farmers reduces fuel and materials that are usually needed to transport food to grocery stores.
Calculate your carbon footprint here to see which of these tips is best for your lifestyle.