5 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
When your saving energy, your also reducing your carbon footprint
Most people these days are concerned with global warming. In an attempt to combat global warming, people are trying to reduce their carbon footprint, which is the amount of carbon dioxide you help to release in a year. To put things in perspective for you, the average carbon footprint per person worldwide is 4 tons a year. In the US, the carbon footprint per person each year comes to 20 tons. That’s quite a difference!
Reducing your carbon footprint doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact there are quite a few simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint that are relatively inexpensive—some of them can, in fact, save you money! So not only is reducing your carbon footprint good for the environment, it’s good for your wallet.
Here are 5 ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint.
#1: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint in the Kitchen
The food you eat influences your carbon footprint in several ways. First, certain foods produce more carbon emissions than others. Secondly, the way food is produced can increase the carbon emissions released. Lastly, the further a food is shipped, the more carbon fuels are burned in transporting it. Let’s take a look at how different food choices can affect your carbon footprint with each of these 3 factors.
First, animals produce carbon dioxide by their very nature. Therefore, animal food products—meat, dairy, and eggs—have a higher carbon footprint than plant food products. One way to reduce your carbon footprint in the kitchen is by eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat and dairy. Not only does this help reduce your carbon footprint, but it’s cheaper—meat and dairy are more expensive than fruit and vegetables—and it’s healthier to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. It’s a win-win situation.
Secondly, organically produced foods produce less carbon emissions than those that aren’t. The pesticides and chemicals used in non-organic produce, for example, are produced in factories that release tons of carbon emissions. Buying organic can help to reduce your carbon footprint.
Lastly, buy your food locally, whenever possible. Local food does not have to travel as far and reduces the carbon emission needed to transport. You may not be able to buy out of season fruits and vegetables, but you’ll be helping the environment.
#2: Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
While you can make your home more energy efficient by buying lots of expensive products, there are also some easy ways that anyone can reduce their carbon footprint by changing a few things they do at home that won’t cost an arm and a leg.
Start with your thermostat. By lowering your thermostat by just a degree or two, you can not only save on your energy bill but reduce your carbon footprint significantly. You likely won’t even notice a degree or two change in temperature.
Closing your curtains during the winter time keeps your house warmer and keeps your heater from working harder to heat the house.
Turn off your lights when you’re not using them. During the daytime, take advantage of sunlight to light up your home. Make sure that your lights are all turned off when you’re not home.
Most electricity is produced from fossil fuels and adds carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Lowering your energy usage saves you money and prevents unneeded carbon emissions.
#3: Consider Alternative Transportation Methods
Instead of driving your car to work, consider taking the bus, carpooling with coworkers, or riding your bike. Automobiles produce a lot of carbon emissions every day and by using alternate transportation methods, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
In addition, keep flying to a minimum. Airplane flights produce a significant amount of carbon waste. Consider taking alternate methods of travel, such as the train. Plan vacations close to home, so as to avoid producing more carbon emissions than necessary.
Transportation is one of the major producers of your carbon footprint, however, if it’s necessary to use your car…
#4: Make Your Car More Energy Efficient
It might be tempting to go out and buy a brand new hybrid or other energy efficient car, but if your car is still in good shape, you’re better off keeping it for now. Production of energy efficient cars ironically produces quite a carbon footprint. Keep your current car for as long as it’s good, but here are some ways to make it more energy efficient.
Don’t carry around unnecessary items. The larger your load, the harder your cars works and the more gas it uses. This raises your carbon footprint every time you drive.
Don’t drive aggressively. It may seem like you’re getting somewhere faster by speeding around slow drivers and accelerating to reach stop lights before they turn red, but studies show that it doesn’t gain you much time—and it uses a whole lot more fuel.
When you have errands to run during the week, do them all on the same day. Driving around town to do errands every day to some of the same locations is not very efficient. By doing all your errands at once, you can save on fuel and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
Keep your tires fully inflated. If your tires are low, it takes more work for your car to drive, and more work means more fuel.
If you find that you do need to replace your car, go for a hybrid or energy efficient car. Also consider diesel cars. You can easily convert a diesel car into a biodiesel car, which also helps to reduce your carbon footprint.
#5 Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Factories produce lots of carbon waste, and every time you throw away and replace an item that could be reused or recycled, you continue the cycle of production and waste. Recycling items uses less energy than it does to manufacture it from scratch, so every time you recycle, you reduce your carbon footprint.
Written and contributed by Jodi Wegner, Jodi is a freelance writer who is interested in energy issues.
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