Top 10 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
February 11, 2011
Filed Under Environment
Contributed by Cindi Pearce, Catalogs.com Info Guru
Your carbon footprint is essentially a compilation of the greenhouse gases (GHG) that you individually produce based on your lifestyle. A carbon footprint is often referred to as the amount of carbon monoxide that a person or company or event is responsible for producing and is the measurement of our activities and the impact they have on the environment, particularly on the climate and how it is changing as a result.
A good and environmentally aware citizen — and even those people who don’t give a damn but should — needs to take steps to reduce his contribution to greenhouse gases. When our climate begins to change because of greenhouse emissions this is detrimental to our health and to the environment. We can all make choices to reduce our carbon footprint by changing our lifestyle. Even small seemingly insignificant changes can make a big difference.
Here are the top ten ways to reduce your carbon footprint:
10. Use the clothesline
Take advantage of the good weather and hang your wet clothing, sheets and towels outside. Your mother and grandmother used to do this all the time.
9. Do full loads
When you do your laundry, completely fill the washing machine with clothing. Don’t do half loads. This saves on electricity, water and laundry detergent. Additionally, do the same thing when you use your dishwasher. Load it completely before running it. It may take a couple of days to get a full load but, again, this lessens your carbon footprint as well as saves you money.
8. Collect rainwater
Put a big bucket in your yard to collect the rain. You can install rainwater storage tanks and the runoff from the gutters on your roof goes directly into the tank. This is called harvesting rainwater. Wash your hair in it. Water your plants. If it goes into a tank it can be heated and used for all kinds of purposes, including bathing and washing dishes.
7. Back off the hot water
Your bath water does not have to be boiling hot. In fact if it is too hot you risk burning yourself when you get into the tub or the shower. Turn down the heat in your hot water tank by two degrees. This isn’t much yet it makes a noteworthy difference.
6. Minimize errands
Do all the shopping in one fell swoop. Go to the grocery store and to the dry cleaners and the post office in a single trip. Be as efficient as you can in planning your errands. Shop online whenever possible. This greatly reduces your carbon footprint because you are using less gasoline.
5. Shorten your workweek
Perhaps your boss will consider letting you work from home one day a week. This is a great way to help reduce greenhouse gases because one less person is on the road. Walk when you can and ride share when you can’t walk. Ride a bike more often. Don’t take as many air flights.
4. Insulate your home
You will be amazed at the reduction in your heating and air conditioning bills, which indicates you are using less energy, which is the goal. If your refrigerator is more than 15 years old get a new one. Purchase one that has an “A” rating, which means it is energy efficient.
3. Get back to nature
Chip and shred the leaves, sticks and branches in your yard, turning them into mulch. This garden task is easy with a chipper-shredder. This reduces the amount of waste that you produce. Cut your own firewood and heat your house with a wood stove or fireplace.
2. Process your own food
Consider processing your own food. Try canning your garden foods. Learn how to dehydrate food using a home food dehydrator and how to grind your own meat. Anytime you can grow food locally or buy it locally this benefits the environment as well as the local economy. The concept is to think globally but eat locally. When you purchase food at the grocery store that food very well may have traveled across the country, which involved the burning of fossil fuels. When you shop at a farmers’ market or grow your own food fewer fossil fuels are used. Do not buy bottled water. The bottles add up and end up in a dumpsite somewhere. Invest in a composter and start composting your garbage, which yields benefits in the garden, too.
1. Turn it off
Turn off all household appliances when you are not using them. This includes the lights, the television, computer, the radio, DVD player and anything else that requires electricity. Invest in energy saving controls, switches and power strips. Not only will this reduce your individual carbon footprint, but it will save you money.