Reducing your carbon footprint is not difficult. There are so many simple steps you can take that don’t take much effort. It will feel so good knowing your daily actions are making a difference in the world we live in. You don’t have to change your entire life to make a difference. Small consistent efforts everyday compound to make a huge difference.
Let’s dive right into eight different ways you can reduce your carbon footprint!
Eat More Plants
Did you know eating fewer animal products is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint? This includes all meats, cheese, dairy, and other animal products. These animals need lots of water, land, and food to live before we eat them or their byproducts. They are sort of like the middle man anyway. We eat them for the same nutrients they eat, not necessarily the animal’s nutrients.
Eating vegan is the best diet to reduce your carbon footprint but vegetarianism is a good start. Even adding in 1 to 2 plant-based meals per week into your eating schedule will make a huge difference. Not only does this way of eating help our earth but it also is very beneficial to our bodies. Instead of making a noodle soup with chicken broth, swap it for vegetable broth. It will make your soup savory just like the chicken while reducing your carbon footprint. For delicious vegan recipes check out The Zero Waste Vegan Cookbook!
Shop Used Clothing
When it’s time to shop for a new pair of jeans or a dress for that party coming up, visit a thrift store instead of Target. The fewer new clothes we buy the less waste we produce which in turn reduces our carbon footprint. Also, used clothes are usually discounted so it’s even better for your wallet.
You can find local thrift stores in your area by doing a Google search or looking on Facebook Marketplace for used clothing items. If you prefer online shopping check out ThredUp, Swap, and Poshmark. On these online shops, you will find used clothes for everyone in the family. They have anything from winter coats to summer sandals.
Use Reusable Shopping Bags
Every time you head to the store whether it’s to grab weekly groceries, household supplies, or pet items, take along reusable shopping bags. When it’s time to checkout kindly ask the cashier to bag your items in your reusable bags and voila you’ve reduced your carbon footprint! By not taking those plastic bags home, you reduce your waste so much. If you’re getting weekly groceries for the family, you could end up having twenty plastic shopping bags that go into the trash even if you reuse them. It’s so simple to take along your cotton tote bags and forever impact our earth.
Recycling is the activity of converting waste into new items. You can recycle plastics, glass, metal, and paper by creating separate bins in your home. Instead of throwing your plastic jugs and newspapers in the trash can, place them in the new recycling bin. When these bins get full take them to a local recycling facility and you’re ready to start over again. This reduces your carbon footprint by reducing the amount of waste you contribute to the landfills.
It is important to remember when recycling to review what can and can’t be recycled as well as cleanout your recycled items. You wouldn’t want to recycle a class pasta sauce jar with residue inside. Be sure to rinse them out first.
Composting is the activity of breaking down food waste and decomposing plants into rich plant material that betters the soil. Composting reduces your waste by reducing how much you throw into landfills. Instead of throwing out your potato peels or apple cores, place them in a composting bin in your kitchen. When your bin gets full you can either take it to a larger composting bin in your backyard or find a local composting place in your town.
When composting be sure to review what can and can’t be composted by doing a simple Google search.
Use Cruise Control
Most cars these days have cruise control where you can set a speed while driving and stay there without pushing on the gas. This helps use less gas and therefore reduces your carbon footprint. When your vehicle keeps revving back up to speed every few miles, you burn more fuel. Just remember when using cruise control it is very important to still keep your eyes on the road and be ready to break.
Plant Shrubs and Trees Around Your Home
Did you know planting shrubs and trees around your home helps insulate it? They create a wind and block the frigid temperatures or the blazing summer sun. When this happens your air conditioning or heater won’t work as hard or as much. This reduces your carbon footprint as you are reducing the use of electricity used in your home. Also by planting more trees and shrubs, you are helping the earth.
Rent Instead of Buying New
Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to rent instead of buying new items. This reduces your waste and consumption. For instance when you’re son needs a suit for the school dance, rent one instead of buying. He will most likely not need it for another year and it would just be sitting in the closet. Or if you need a bouncy house for a birthday party, rent one rather than purchasing one. If you plan to only use it once or twice in the next year it is probably best to rent.
There are so many ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Some are so simple, after a few times, you won’t think any different. Many of them will also save you money, who doesn’t love that? From adding nuts into your salad rather than ham to using your cruise control on the highway, you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint.
By,Molly LaFontaine (co-owner of Tyler + Molly)