These 5 Things Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Have you ever calculated your carbon footprint? 

It’s pretty straightforward. All you need to do is head over to the EPA’s carbon footprint calculator, plug in a couple of data points, and there it is: the amount of carbon emissions you’re generating on a yearly basis.

But in case you don’t have time to do that yourself, we pulled the stats together for you. If you’re like the average U.S. resident, you’re emitting around 16 tons of carbon dioxide per year — four times higher than the global average. 

A carbon footprint refers to the total amount of greenhouse gasses generated by an individual (or other entity, like a business or country) on an annual basis. And when you consider that the climate crisis is reaching alarming levels, you can see why it’s in everybody’s best interest to lower their carbon footprint. 

Pretty much everything we do on a day-to-day basis contributes to our carbon footprint. We get in our cars and drive, we book cross-country flights, and we plug our phones into charge. You’d be surprised how many of your everyday actions generate emissions! 

However, lowering your carbon footprint doesn’t mean you have to uproot your entire lifestyle. Small actions make a big difference, too!

Here are five easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

1. Take an alternative form of transportation instead of getting in the car.

On average, Americans drive 14,263 miles per year, according to the Federal Highway Administration. And given that every mile emits roughly one pound of CO2 in the atmosphere, that means each driver pumps 14,263 pounds of the stuff into the air annually.

Of course, ditching your car altogether isn’t a realistic solution for most people. Some cities aren’t exactly walkable, while others have little to no public transit options. (We’re looking at you, Los Angeles!). However, if it’s possible in your area, taking public transit, walking, or biking makes a big difference in reducing emissions. Plus, getting some fresh air and exercise is a great health perk, too. Win for you, win for the planet.

If you do happen to live in a place like L.A., or in another car-centric area, you can consider taking the leap to electric vehicles. Not only are they cleaner, but they also cost less to charge than it does to fill up a gas tank.

2. Eat low on the food chain at least once a week.

That means prioritizing veggies and cutting down on meat. Raising livestock contributes heftily to greenhouse gas emissions, with beef being the biggest culprit. On average, 110 pounds of greenhouse gasses, including methane, are released per 3.5 ounces of beef produced.

Again, you don’t need to give up beef and other meats entirely to cut your carbon footprint. But you can reduce consumption to a few days a week to make a difference.

Another tip? Buy local fruits and veggies whenever possible. Local produce means fewer emissions because truckers don’t have to haul it long distances from the farm to the supermarket.

Ok, this is a joke but you get the point

 3. Switch to green energy.

Sounds like a chore, but switching energy providers is as easy as clicking a few buttons online. Within minutes, you can pick out a green energy plan that powers your home with renewable energy. Renewables generate emission-free energy and save consumers money in the long run.

4. Hit the thrift store.

The fast fashion industry isn’t exactly known for its eco-friendliness. Over one billion tons of CO2 enter the atmosphere on account of fast fashion —  10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And we won’t even get started on the devastating impact the industry has on the world’s rivers, oceans, and other delicate ecosystems.

Find a thrift store near you and reduce your carbon footprint

 You can avoid fast fashion by buying pre-loved items at thrift stores or consignment shops. Donating gently used clothes will also keep them from sitting in a landfill and leaching toxins into the air and water.

5. Use the cold water cycle for washing clothes.

Back with your thrift haul? Throw those clothes in the wash and put the cycle on cold. Using cold water is less energy-intensive than hot water. And line dry while you’re at it. Powering your dryer also takes significant amounts of energy!

Reducing our carbon footprints is a key success factor for the battle against climate change. It might sound cliché, but trust us: these small actions can make a big difference!

by | Aug 9, 2022

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