4 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Image by Dr StClaire from Pixabay

You might think you’re fairly efficient with how you use the resources you have in your life, but you’d probably be shocked to know just how large your carbon footprint is. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to make your footprint smaller if you’re willing to rethink a few daily tasks and habits.

So…What is a Carbon Footprint?

You hear the term a lot, but what exactly does it mean to have a carbon footprint?

According to The New York Times, “A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that come from the production, use, and end-of-life of a product or service. It includes carbon dioxide — the gas most commonly emitted by humans — and others, including methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming.” 

If you’re anything like most people, the majority of your carbon footprint stems from three key areas in your life: transportation, housing, and food. By being more intentional about how you address these aspects of your daily routine, you can reduce your footprint and play an important role in saving the planet.

4 Simple Ways to Make Your Footprint Smaller

As you look for ways to make your carbon footprint just a bit smaller, here are a few key tips and ideas that may prove helpful:

Change Your Driving Habits

Did you know that by going carless for an entire year, you could save roughly 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide? (For perspective, that’s more than an entire transatlantic flight…roundtrip.)

If you live in a city where you can get along without a car, give it a try! Otherwise, be smart about how and when you use your vehicle. Here are some simple ways to make your driving more climate-friendly:

  • Pretend like you’re driving with an egg under your foot. (Go easy on the gas and brakes.)
  • Service your car regularly to keep it more efficient.
  • Check your tires frequently and keep them properly inflated to improve fuel economy.
  • Use cruise control when driving long distances on the interstate.
  • Carpool as much as possible.

The next time you buy a new car, look for a more eco-friendly option. Whether it’s an electric vehicle or hybrid car, there are benefits to making the switch. Not only do they produce lower emissions, but they also cost less to operate.

Add a Bidet to Your Home

Bidets are becoming more popular than ever in the United States. And guess what? You don’t even have to replace your toilet or add a new appliance. All it takes is a new toilet seat!

Companies like BidetMate make integrating a bidet as simple as swapping out your current seat and making one small DIY change. 

According to BidetMate, the switch from toilet paper to a bidet is helping us save as much as 437 billion gallons of water every year. And in your lifetime alone, you can save 384 trees.

Modify Your Food Choices

You might not know that your food choices have an impact on the environment, but it’s true. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, there are a few specific things you can do:

  • Meat and dairy products are responsible for as much as 14.5 percent of all man-made global greenhouse emissions. Try primarily eating foods that are lower on the food chain (like fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains). 
  • Shop local and organic food that’s in season. This cuts down on food transportation.
  • Reduce food waste by carefully planning your meals ahead of time. Plan on making and freezing leftovers to maximize your cooking time and resources.

Small choices such as these can make a big difference when multiplied across thousands of households in your community. 

Do a Home Energy Audit

Finally, we recommend doing a home energy audit to determine where you’re wasting energy. You may be surprised to learn just how much of your heating and cooling costs are being wasted due to poor insulation and/or gaps and cracks around windows and doors. In addition to improving your home’s insulation, you should switch incandescent bulbs to energy-efficient LEDs and install low-flow showerheads throughout the home.

Adding it All Up

With just a few small tweaks to your daily routine and lifestyle, you can begin to shrink your carbon footprint and play a role in making your community a more sustainable place. Use these suggestions as a starting point and gradually integrate more smart habits into your life. There’s always room for improvement!