20 Simple Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint 

Small steps for a safer planet

Yes, climate change is a real, serious, and global problem affecting the future of every living thing on this planet. Its not only one place or a few institutions but every single individual around the globe, who needs to make an effort toward carbon footprint reduction. It’s time every one of us leads by example in the battle for carbon reduction. Before we find out simple ways to reduce our carbon footprint, let us know what it is and how it’s measured.

How to measure your carbon footprint

ways to reduce carbon footprint_UCSUSA
Union of Concerned Scientists

Our carbon footprint is the total quantity of greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere, either directly or indirectly, by our actions. Our carbon footprint is measured in tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent), based on our lifestyle choices and everyday activities. A few of these factors include:

  • Energy usage
  • Food
  • Transport
  • Waste
  • Shopping habits

So how can you measure yours?

If you haven’t already come across this, here’s a Carbon Footprint Calculator to understand your impact on the environment, as an individual or as a household. It will help you realize what changes are required in your lifestyle and find the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

Simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint

You can minimize your carbon footprint and help the planet in many different ways. Every small change you make will contribute to the greater good of the Earth, whether you make them at home, work, school, or when you travel. So let’s explore a few of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint every day:

Best ways to reduce carbon footprint at home

1. Use energy-efficient home appliances 

led lights to conserve energy
GoodGuilt / Canva

Do you still use white appliances (i.e., refrigerators, washers, heaters) that are over 20 years old? Upgrade them to modern energy-efficient appliances with ENERGY-star labels, for impactful carbon footprint reduction. Opt for ceiling fans over air conditioners. Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs.

2. Insulate your home 

Practice insulation or weatherstripping – especially for doors, windows, walls, and the attic. By insulating these places, you keep warm air inside in the winter months and hot air outside during the summer months. This way, you consume less energy, decrease your carbon footprint, and cut down on utility bills. 

3. Reduce water wastage

To stop water wastage at home, follow these simple water-saving tips from our article. Invest in low-flow showers and faucet heads. Replace old appliances that waste water, with water-efficient toilets, washing machines, and dishwashers.

Related: Sustainable Ways To Save Water At Home

4. Improve your eating habits

One of the other ways to reduce your carbon footprint begins with what’s on your plate! Try to eat locally sourced, organic, plant-based, unprocessed foods from farmers within your local markets. Minimize food waste as much as possible. A vegan or plant-based diet helps decrease your greenhouse gas emissions by about 73%.

5. Switch to renewable energy 

Renewable or clean energy comes from natural sources like sunlight, wind, or water. So, another method of carbon footprint reduction is to switch your electricity provider to one that uses low-carbon energy. Check if your current provider (or another in your area) offers renewable energy solutions. If renewable energy is not yet available near you, then reach out to local government authorities to get it started in your community.

6. Minimize your fashion purchases

Avoid buying new products, especially if you can do without them. If needed, find second-hand clothes from thrift stores or join a clothing swap group in your community. So, save the planet while saving money. If you really need to (and can afford it), only buy clothes from eco-friendly brands that provide sustainable and ethical fashion choices.

7. Compost your food waste, and recycle when possible. 

Composting is really great for the planet, since food wastage is a big problem today. The same can be said about recycling items at home. Both are free, don’t require energy, and help reduce waste in landfills.

Steps for carbon footprint reduction at work

8. Go digital 

This is the first and most promising step towards carbon reduction for businesses. Your organization saves on paper, plastic, resources, and money, which would otherwise get wasted on simple correspondence and communication. A digital and green company will notice significant reduction in their day-to-day expenses, by implementing simple resource-saving steps.

9. Avoid single-use plastics 

Single-use plastics pollute our oceans and require energy to create and reuse. Avoid using disposable coffee cups and plastic cutlery to reduce your company’s carbon footprint.

Related: 16 Sustainable Swaps To Reduce Your Plastic Footprint

10. Walk, cycle, carpool to work, or use public transit

use public transit, ways to reduce carbon footprint
GoodGuilt / Canva

If you live close to your office, then ride your bicycle or even walk to work – two of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint. That comes with the added perk of improving your fitness and health. Use public transport or carpool to avoid daily solo-car trips and reduce pollution. And the best way, work from home if your company offers you that option.

11. Use office resources consciously

Just because you’re at the office and not at home, does not mean your sustainability practices go out the window. We spend most of our day at the office; so it’s necessary to be responsible for what we use while there and consciously save the planet, whether at work or home.

12. Consider carbon insetting and offsetting 

Compensate for your carbon emissions by funding projects within your own supply chain – insetting. Or support brands that reduce carbon emissions by giving back to the planet (e.g., by planting trees). 

13. Shut off when not in use

turn lights off, use public transit, tips to reduce carbon footprint
GoodGuilt / Canva

When your work day ends, shut off laptops, computers, servers, lights, fans, and air-conditioners when no longer required. Likewise, shut down appliances like coffee machines, microwave ovens, etc., on the office premises. If possible, disconnect these devices from their power outlets when not in use; this will reduce standby power consumption and avoid unnecessary energy wastage in your office. 

Great ways to reduce carbon footprint at school

14. Raise awareness 

Not everyone in your school or university might be completely aware (or interested) in discussing crucial topics like greenhouse gasescarbon emissions, or climate change. Begin early; start conversations by raising awareness of such critical problems, which impact the future of every young person. Simple activities like school projects and fundraising events help educate fellow students and their families about the importance of saving our planet. The power of change lies with the youth, so don’t let that go to waste!

15. Switch off and save school resources

When you end each day, ensure the school officials switch off computers, lights, A/Cs, or any other devices used throughout the day. If you are on the school committee or part of the student council, ensure energy-saving rules are followed strictly, especially for long breaks or on weekends. It will make a huge impact on the carbon reduction steps by your alma mater.

16. Eat locally; or pack school meals

While at school, eat food during your lunch breaks from local and small businesses, including your school cafeteria. Avoid ordering from big food chains that cook in bulk, don’t follow low-waste practices, add preservatives to food, waste single-use plastics, and, even worse, contribute to waste in landfills. Instead, help the local cafes or eateries in your community, by picking up your food and beverages yourself, thereby cutting down on the pollution caused by food delivery. Even better – pack healthy lunches from home before you leave.

17. Take local trips 

There is so much in our own backyards we have not explored yet, and much more to learn from our local communities. So, take field trips close to home instead of heading off to far-off destinations on planes, trains, or even buses. The simplest carbon reduction method is learning about your town or city and then helping it thrive, since you spend most of your youth there.

Great carbon reduction tips while you travel

18. Avoid flights as far as possible 

Planes are among the most polluting transport modes (along with cars). Opt for the train over plane travel, for carbon footprint reduction. If you must fly, choose a non-stop flight to aid carbon reduction. 

Related: Is Flying First Class Bad For The Planet?

19. Eco-tourism and green travel are the way to go!

Opt for an eco-tourist destination and smaller hotels/ motels that offer green travel and low-waste alternatives while staying with them. Do your research to find the right eco-friendly places to stay while you vacay. And most important, add reviews for them online and spread the word about these sustainable travel options, for fellow eco-friendly travelers to visit.

20. Rethink your travel choices

Vacation closer to home to satisfy your wanderlust. Remember, the more distance you travel, the worse your carbon footprint! And only use eco-friendly travel essentials. If you frequently travel for work, then endorse video-conferencing technology as a step toward carbon reduction, and cut business expenses as well. 

Let’s take the final step together…

It’s not just about the planet. When you reduce your carbon footprint, you maintain a healthier lifestyle, and save money too. Just think about it – cleaner air to breathe, protection of natural resources, healthier diets, lower bills, and of course, hope for a better future. These are direct benefits of carbon footprint reduction while you combat climate change. A WIN for all!

Related: Simple Tips To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint And Help The Planet

Uncertain about taking direct action or making huge changes? We got you. Start small with the above-listed ways to reduce your carbon footprint, one step at a time. By correcting our lifestyles & habits, we can influence the attitude and behavior of those around us to ensure a safer future. The right time for carbon footprint reduction is NOW!

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