We live in a world where all of our actions impact the planet.
While doing simple activities, such as driving to work every day or drinking out of a water bottle, may not seem like harmful things to the planet, in the end they all add to our carbon footprint.
With the planet needing our help more than ever, it’s imperative that we all make changes to our lifestyle as soon as possible.
Keep reading on to find easy ways we can all help reduce our carbon footprint.
1) Drive Less
Even though this is harder to do with winter in full force, gas emissions are a big issue in terms of our individual carbon footprint.
If possible, try to limit your driving to only when absolutely necessary. The easiest way this can be done is by walking and carpooling.
If you’re planning on meeting friends for dinner, ask one of them if you can carpool with them.
If you’re in need of groceries or dinner but there are places right down the street from your home, go with your local options instead of driving somewhere else.
If you have a co-worker who lives in your area, ask if you can coordinate carpooling times with them.
If you’re going out for a night with your pals, carpool in an Uber instead of having everyone take their own.
Once spring rolls around, think about walking or biking to places more often.
This won’t only help the environment, but it will also be an amazing way to fit in some exercise!
No matter what arrangement you come up with, staying cautious in general will help to make a difference in your contribution to gas emissions going into the environment.
2) Donate, Donate, Donate
We all tend to get carried away with the amount of stuff we store in our houses.
But as we find out every year during spring cleaning, there’s always stuff we can live without.
If you find yourself free during a lazy Sunday, prioritize time for looking into your basement and/or your closets for items you can live without.
Once you have applied the full Marie Kondo approach to decluttering and determined the items you’re ready to let go of, instead of throwing items in the trash, you can host a garage sale or donate items to your local Salvation Army or shelters.
This will help eliminate further waste into the world and give your items a second life!
3) Buy Second Hand
Purchasing secondhand items has become a popular way of shopping over the years.
Not only does it usually lead to a good bargain, but by buying used or previously owned you’re helping to eliminate waste that often comes with mass producing new products.
In terms of clothes, you’d be amazed by how much of your carbon footprint is determined by what’s hanging in your closet and how you’re shopping for it.
If you’ve ever wondered how your shopping habits have impacted the environment, take a look at a fashion footprint calculator from thredUP. This will help guide you towards better shopping habits and give you easy tricks you can use to help lower your carbon imprint.
4) Eat Locally
This is a step you can easily accomplish the next time you’re in need of groceries.
Choosing to eat locally is a great way to not only support local farmers and possibly eat healthier, but it’s also an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Since local foods don’t have to travel as far as others, this is a great way to save on gas emissions.
In order to eat locally, check out your local farmer’s market.
If there are farmers in your area, check around those areas to see if they host any fruit or vegetable stands.
If you live in more of a city or urban environment, you can also always check out your neighborhood grocery stores to see what locally sourced goods are available.
5) Grow Your Own Food
Even though we’re still in the middle of winter, spring will be here soon.
If you’re in need of a new hobby or just want to take up something more outdoorsy, think about trying gardening once the weather has turned around.
Growing your own vegetables and fruits isn’t only a great activity, but it will give you the chance to literally enjoy the fruits of your labor while also being eco-friendly and contributing oxygen into the air.
If you live in an apartment complex and don’t have the option to grow an outside garden, simply buy a couple of potted plants and store them wherever you have the best natural light.
Tomatoes, basil, squash, etc., the options are endless for what and how much you can grow.
6) Unplug Your Devices
It’s a common misconception to think that if electronics aren’t being used, then power isn’t being wasted.
But the truth is, even if electronics are plugged in but not turned on, power is still being used.
If possible, when leaving a room or done with an electronic, like a hairdryer or a straightener, make the effort in unplugging the cord fully, not just turning the power off.
Doing so will help save power usage.
A habit to get into is, before you leave a room, unplug all devices and lights around you.
If you have a tendency to forget, instead set a reminder on your phone to unplug all devices at a certain time or before going to bed.
7) Use Tote Bags
Did you know that approximately 500 billion plastic bags are being used each year?
And it’s believed that 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris are floating in our oceans?
With these startling numbers, companies and local governments are finally taking the initiative to eliminate plastic bags altogether. But even though we’re currently in this process, there are still ways to go before they’re actually gone.
In the meantime, to avoid the use of plastic bags, use tote bags that you can take with you everywhere.
Not only are tote bags fully reusable, but they often come in cute patterns and different sizes.
Whether you’re hitting the farmers market, going on a full-on shopping spree or just going to the grocery store to pick up a few items, tote bags are the perfect option that will keep giving in usefulness.
8) Save on Lighting
As we all spend most of our free time within the comfort of our own homes, it only makes sense that we use a fair amount of lighting in our houses. But with all the energy that lighting uses, making little changes will help to make a big difference in your carbon footprint.
The first and easiest way to save on lighting is literally to reduce your light usage.
Simply try to use as much natural lighting as you possibly can. If it’s the morning and the sun is perfectly shining into your home, rely on the sunlight instead of turning on a lamp.
When it gets dark and you’re in need of a little light, try to use as few lights as possible and consider lighting as many candles as you possibly can. Not only will this help set a relaxing mood, but it will also fill up your room with amazing scents!
As we all need to rely on lights at certain times, think about making the switch to LED lighting. Not only does LED lighting last longer than other lights, but they are significantly more energy efficient than other lighting possibilities.
9) Be Creative
We’re all familiar with the saying, “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
As far as reusing goes, just a little bit of creativity goes a long way!
While it can be easy to just throw something out, using your creative side to repurpose and upcycle can help get further use out of a product and eliminate potential waste.
While you may look at a broken tennis racket and think its only garbage, with use of your creative side it can become a racket mirror.
Have a broken chair or an old ladder? Use parts of your chair for shelf space or turn your ladder into a bookcase.
There are all kinds of creative ways to repurpose, you just have to think outside the box a little!
Inspire Others To Do the Same
There’s no better way to help make a difference than by inspiring others to do the same.
While the current state of the environment is public knowledge, sometimes others need a little bit of a push to help make a difference themselves.
In order to inspire others, tell your friends, family and coworkers about the eco-friendly changes you’re making.
You can do this with a conversation or by making effective Facebook or Instagram posts. Just making people aware of how truly easy it is to make eco-friendly changes, can help inspire them to reduce their carbon footprint as well.
You can always offer an incentive to those you’re closest to and make it a challenge.
Run a small competition within your office or with close family friends and whoever reduces their carbon footprint the most will get a prize!
While this may not directly reduce your own carbon footprint, it can collectively reduce the total carbon footprint we make.
What Do You Think?
I just hauled a load of stuff to our local woman’s advocacy resale shop because I was feeling guilty about all the stuff I just keep throwing away when I could donate it.
I also started buying products from small business owners who focus on zero waste products like my friend Jesse at Tiny Yellow Bungalow and buying clothes from my local thrift store or Thred up.
Have you been thinking about ways to recycle and reuse already? Tell me in the comments what you’ve been doing?