Because of global warming and rapid climate change, we now know that “carbon footprint” is a real thing.
This article will demonstrate how even seemingly harmless daily activities can have a negative impact on the environment. But, at the same time, even every small change in your habits can positively reduce your carbon footprint.
However, a layman might wonder, “how can I decrease my carbon footprint?” and what does it even mean?
What Is Carbon Footprint?
A carbon footprint measures greenhouse gas emissions caused by our actions (either directly or indirectly). These gases include carbon dioxide and methane, which trap heat in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming. Thus, it’s time to step up our individual efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
However, this cannot happen overnight. But, how about making small changes to our actions by understanding how our everyday activities impact the environment? First, ask yourself, “what are the things i can do to decrease my carbon footprint?” Let’s look at how carbon footprint is calculated.
How Is Carbon Footprint Measured?
Your carbon footprint is calculated based on your lifestyle and regular activities that emit greenhouse gases. Some of the most basic everyday activities, such as using plastic bottles or bags, taking long showers, leaving chargers on, and so on, can have a significant negative impact on the planet. However, one’s carbon footprint is primarily determined by four factors:
- Electricity Use: Includes how much electricity, natural gas, and other fuels you use. Also, consider the source of waste, and whether you recycle or send it to landfills.
- Transport Use: Depends on whether you own a vehicle and how frequently you use it. It also includes the public transport you use, distance and mode.
- Dietary Choices: What you eat and where it comes from. The more energy it takes to produce and ship your food, the worse it is for the environment.
- Purchasing Habits: Buying new products such as electronics, household goods, and clothing on a regular basis. Your carbon footprint is determined by where and how the items are produced.
How To Decrease Carbon Footprint?
Understanding your carbon footprint can help you reduce the environmental impact of your consumption. Here are some tips to reduce carbon footprint:
Download the My Footprint App to calculate your environmental footprint by taking everyday challenges on energy, food, and nature to help reduce your negative impact on climate change.
Choose Organic And Local Food
Beef and lamb have a carbon footprint roughly three times that of pork, poultry, or farmed fish per 100g of protein and 24 times that of pulses like beans and lentils.
According to Prof. Gill, calculating the true climate impact of what we eat is tricky. “Carbon footprints of food vary with how it is produced and where it comes from, and thus changes with the seasons,” she explains. People who want to make their diets more climate-friendly can reduce waste and cut back on red meat and dairy. To understand more about how to decrease carbon footprint, opt for seasonal fruits and vegetables.
How Can I Do This?
If you can’t give up meat right away, start with Meat-Free Mondays. Skipping one serving of beef every Monday for a year saves the equivalent emissions of driving 348 miles in a car. Also, try substituting meat with plant-based alternatives, including our favorites – Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. Finally, aim to consume foods that are low on the food chain, like most fruits and vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Turn The Lights Off When Not In Use
The United States consumes approximately 23% of the world’s energy while possessing only 5% of the world’s population.
The answer to the question, “how can I reduce my carbon footprint?” is right in your own home. Turning off lights and appliances when not in use is one of the most simple tips to reduce carbon footprint. In addition, unplugging electronic devices when not in use is frequently overlooked. You can install motion-activated lights, and energy-saving LED bulbs as well.
How Can I Do This?
Instead of leaving electronic devices powered on, even when not in use, simply turn them off; also, unplug them entirely. Heavy energy-consuming appliances, such as dishwashers, air conditioners, washing machines, and dryers, should only be used when absolutely necessary. At other times, consider completely unplugging them to reduce your carbon footprint.
Ditch Single-Use Plastics
Americans use 100 billion plastic bags with an average of 365 plastic bags per person, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture.
Foil, unlike cling film, can be recycled. So, if you’re going to use foil, make sure to put it in the recycling bin, once done! You can also say no to plastic cutlery by carrying a spork, reusing your cutlery, or opting for compostable alternatives, saving 466 pieces of unnecessary plastic per year. Finally, to reduce carbon emissions, use loose leaf tea with a tea strainer instead of plastic-sealed teabags.
How Can I Do This?
Reusable food wraps are a great alternative to regular foil. They’re all-natural, environmentally friendly, and compostable. Carrying reusable or steel straws with you is another great tip to reduce your carbon footprint. You can avoid using plastic wrap by storing leftovers in reusable containers. Check out these sustainable tea brands with some amazing loose tea options, if you want to know more about “how can I reduce my carbon footprint.”
Use Public Transport
Mass transit saves 37 million metric tons of CO2 in the US alone; this is the equivalent energy consumption of 4.9 million US households.
Petrol cars and taxis tend to emit a lot of CO2 per kilometer traveled. However, these greenhouse gas emissions are usually divided among a small number of people, making it a very energy-intensive mode of travel. Thus, trains, buses, and coaches transport a larger number of people and are often more eco-friendly modes of transportation.
How Can I Do This?
Walking or cycling to your destination is one of the best tips to reduce carbon footprint. It’s a great way to get some exercise and do good for the planet. Moreover, there is no better way to reduce your carbon footprint than to fly less. If needed, buy carbon offsets that fund ecologically regenerative projects like planting forests and wetland restoration. Try carpooling with others on your next long commute. It can save a notable amount of gasoline, especially on long trips. Finally, electric vehicles are a great way to answer your question of “how can I reduce my carbon footprint?”
Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle
Globally we dump over 2.12 billion tons of waste per year. And at least 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from food loss and waste.
So, did you really expect us to discuss carbon footprints without the mention of reducing, reusing, and recycling? If you’re wondering “how to decrease your carbon footprint?” cutting down on your waste is a great way to do it.
How Can I Do This?
- Reduce: Think carefully about your purchases. Save water by opting for quick showers instead of long ones to reduce carbon emissions. Grow your own vegetables, compost them or buy in bulk to avoid unnecessary packaging.
- Reuse: Opt for reusable items like straws, coffee mugs, and water bottles instead of those plastic ones! To reduce your carbon footprint, choose products with longevity in mind; repair them over time instead of constantly replacing them.
- Recycle: If you can’t reuse or avoid purchasing an item, consider recycling it to reduce carbon emissions. To decide on the “things I can do to reduce my footprint,” the answer is first to reduce, and then reuse, before opting to recycle.
Climate change is real but not uncontrollable. So, when you drive a car, buy a pair of sneakers, or grill a steak, you contribute to releasing carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It’s referred to as one’s carbon footprint.
In the long run, small changes can make a big difference. And one of the best tips to reduce our carbon footprint is to recognize that each of us can help fight global warming, by making climate-friendly choices in our daily lives.
Remember, the lesser (carbon emissions), the better (planet!)
If you care about the planet as much as we do, we’re sure you’d be interested in these 50 tips for zero-waste living.