You probably know the term “carbon footprint.” What does that phrase mean? It’s essentially how much greenhouse gas emissions are emitted when you use a specific product or service. There are many instances throughout the day that contribute to your carbon footprint.
We all have to take steps to work toward better habits. The planet needs us to take that action. Here are five things you can do to improve your carbon footprint.
1. Eat a Sustainable Diet
The food you eat has an impact. How often do you have meat and dairy? These items have a negative environmental effect from production to consumption. A couple of examples include how industries emit harmful greenhouse gases and drive global animal extinction.
It’s now recognized that plant-based diets are the best option for sustainability. You don’t need to skip meat and dairy altogether. However, you should do your best to try. There are many ways to make your diet more eco-friendly:
- Buy from local farms.
- Swap one to two meals for vegetarian or vegan options weekly.
- Eat more chicken than beef and lamb.
- Grab organic options at the supermarket.
- Find a bulk grocery store to get dry goods.
- Compost your leftovers.
If you make these changes, you’ll be able to reduce your carbon footprint.
2. Perform a Home Energy Audit
There’s no denying that your house contributes to your carbon footprint. Consider how often you use heating, cooling, water and more. You also probably have various appliances ranging from TVs to a refrigerator. These are all things that increase energy consumption and carbon outputs.
An energy audit will help you make particular changes. Take a look at your daily routine. How often do you take long showers, blast the heat and turn on lights? You can then pinpoint what needs to happen to improve your carbon footprint.
The best trick will be to simply use less. For example, you can switch off your faucet when you brush your teeth. Replace your old dishwasher with an Energy Star model. You could explore carbon offsets to sustainably heat your home, too. Many approaches can work to make your house more eco-friendly.
3. Don’t Buy Into Fast Fashion
Where do you buy your clothes? It can be tricky to find clothes that are both stylish and affordable. As a result, you might prefer to shop at stores like Zara and Forever 21 that sell fashionable clothes at low prices.
Those options contribute to 8% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Their operations require cheap materials and unethical labor to release clothing lines that match trends. A cycle then occurs that harms the environment.
You can take a few steps that help reduce your fashion-related carbon footprint:
- It’s best to limit how often you shop. Wear your current wardrobe for longer.
- Try to shop more at vintage and thrift stores.
- Buy from eco-friendly clothing brands.
- Pick articles with sustainable materials, including recycled cotton.
- Donate old items.
These efforts will make a difference. It’s not always possible to avoid popular fast fashion brands, so you shouldn’t feel guilty when you need to shop at specific stores. A few small adjustments go a long way.
4. Change Your Transportation Style
Your carbon footprint’s most significant factor will be transportation. The average passenger vehicle emits nearly five metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Therefore, you need to make an effort to drive less.
This point might be easier said than done. If you live in a rural location, you probably need your car to get to work and other necessary places. However, you should be able to make positive changes wherever you reside:
- Take public transportation.
- Don’t “put the pedal to the metal.” Try to drive more slowly and carefully to reserve fuel.
- Organize a carpool group for work and school.
- Keep your car in good condition to ensure it’s more efficient.
- Aim to walk or bike around town more frequently.
Try to incorporate certain habits into your life to be more sustainable transportation-wise.
5. Try to Achieve Minimalism
It’s essential to strive for minimalism as a whole. In general, you need to modify your lifestyle to work toward less maximalism. You can try various tactics to achieve this endeavor across the board. Here are a few tips to consider that hit each category we’ve already discussed:
- Reuse items like glass jars before you recycle them.
- Only buy clothes when necessary.
- Don’t cook more food than you can eat.
- Remove everything you don’t use from your kitchen.
- Declutter your home.
- Bring a reusable bag to the supermarket.
You won’t be able to become fully minimalist overnight. This practice will take time — but it’s essential to try when you want to reduce your carbon footprint. Do your best to use less.
Use These Ideas to Decrease Your Carbon Footprint This Year
Each person has a carbon footprint that impacts the planet. If we want to make progress regarding climate change, we need to address our carbon footprints. These small changes will make a difference.
Written by Jennifer Landis who is a writer and blogger.