Reducing your Carbon Footprint – Yes, Even You!
But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature in inevitably a war against himself – Rachel Carson
Reducing our carbon footprint is something that we should all try to do. Obviously what we can do is limited by the amount of money we have, but below are some ideas that virtually anyone can implement into their lives to reduce their carbon footprint.
Bring reusable shopping bags
This is by far the easiest thing I think we can implement into our daily lives. Having reusable shopping bags are ideal because they usually have better handles, are made of stronger material, and you don’t end up with hordes of plastic bags that you don’t need! Some grocery stores are also starting to charge for plastic bags, so having reusable shopping bags is a small investment. They cost about $4, and should last a very long time!
Opt out of junk mail
Junk mail really has no purpose and is more of a nuisance than anything. Opting out of junk mail is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and companies will see a lowered demand for their paper products if enough people opt out. Also, if you are interested in each month’s coupons or other news, most organizations have online subscriptions, so this way you can still receive the mail online.
Switch to online bills
Aside from documents that you would like to keep long term, you have the option to have your bills sent to you through email. This way you only have to print what you need. Most companies have online bills as options, so I suggest looking into how to set that up. Usually you just need to make an account, and then they can email you each month when your bill is ready.
Buy a water-saving shower head
This is something that I don’t think a lot of people think about, but changing your shower head or even your toilet can greatly reduce the amount of water your household uses. We as a society have gotten used to have an abundance of everything, food, water, clothing etc. But determining what we actually need and use is important to reducing your carbon footprint. Sometimes half the amount of water can do the job just as well. Shower heads are not expensive, and can be picked up from almost any home supplies store.
Clean with vinegar and baking soda
Reducing the use of toxic cleaners in your home is also another way that you can reduce your overall carbon footprint. Vinegar and baking soda are fantastic cleaners, and are much cheaper than name brand cleaners. They are also much healthier for you as they do not give off the same kinds of fumes that other cleaners can give off. Together, they work pretty good to get the grit off different surfaces such as a sink, flat stove stop, shower wall etc. You can also get cleaning grade vinegar in a spray bottle so it is easier to use. Side note: Vinegar is amazing when washing dishes in the dishwasher. Just splash a little in, and between that and your soap packet, your dishes will come out clean and shiny #winning.
Buy less processed food
Processed food generally requires more packaging, and more steps in production before making it to your plate. Switching to a whole food diet will firstly have a great impact on your health, and secondly will reduce demand for heavily processed and packaged foods. I understand that eating fully organic or even partly organic can be a financial burden, so it is up to you to decide how you would like to spend your money in the grocery store.
Generally, the best things to eat organic are berries, whereas it is not as crucial to purchase organic items that have peels, such as bananas, or oranges. So do a little research into the foods you like, and determine which ones should be organic. Going at it from this angle will help you with staying in your grocery budget.
Reducing your carbon footprint can take many forms, each with varying costs associated with them. Higher cost ideas include things like installing a grey water system, or solar panels, or maybe even buying a cost electric vehicle (Who else wants a Tesla?). However you don’t need to be spending thousands of dollars to start making a difference in how much carbon is emitted from your activities. Above are some ideas that I think many of us can implement into our daily lives.
Some other quick and easy ideas that I have personally tried include having a reusable water bottle with me at all times. This reduces the need to purchase plastic ones. I also take transit to and from work and the gym, however that is solely dependent on the fact that I live in a city.
Another thing that my boyfriend and I do is we currently only have one vehicle. Having one vehicle greatly reduces our personal carbon emissions because it cuts down the amount of time we drive. These two suggestions, taking transit and having one vehicle are also highly dependent on your lifestyle, where you live and what kind of job you have, therefore not everyone will be able to implement them. But keep in mind that there are other ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint.