While we all have a carbon footprint, you can try to make yours as small as possible. It isn’t always easy to do, but you can be proud of the efforts you’ve made to be just a little more eco-friendly.
Below is a list of simple eco-friendly adjustments you can make in your daily life, any of which can support the environment and your green lifestyle. So read through the list, see how many you already do, and pick up a few new ideas to add to your repertoire. The more of these you use, the greater the impact you’ll have on the environment and the happier you’ll be.
1. Cut water use whenever possible. You probably use more water during your morning routine than any other time of day, but there are ways you can conserve. Opt for a shower that morning instead of a bath the night before. Shower at a colder temperature to reduce your water heater usage. Finally, don’t forget to turn the water off when brushing your teeth or shaving and use the lights only when you absolutely must.
2. That cup of joe. You can also make your morning cup of coffee much more eco-friendly without having to sacrifice it. Look for coffee blends that are organic and/or naturally harvested and try to take your coffee in a recyclable or reusable cup. Next, forget the coffee stirrer. Every year Americans throw away 138 billion straws and coffee stirrers according to 50 Ways to Help. Add your milk and sugar to your cup before the coffee and it will stir itself, no stirrer needed.
3. Eco fashion friendly. They say the clothes make the (wo)man and your clothes are an excellent opportunity to showcase your green lifestyle. Avoid jumping on every new fashion trend that comes out and look for garments made from organic materials instead. If your shirt or pants rip, reach for the needle and thread instead of throwing them away. A quick patch job can save you money and protect the environment as well.
4. Unplug. On the surface this means abandoning your electronics and enjoying more traditional activities that require less energy usage. However, if you really want to reduce your carbon footprint, you need to unplug your electronics. Many electronic devices — like televisions and battery chargers — are known as vampire electronics because they suck energy even when not in use. Unplugging these electronics eliminates this waste. You can also cut the excess by plugging your electronics into a power strip and turning the strip off.
5. Don’t heat/cool an empty house. Your ideal in-home temperature is as automatic as your phone number; you know it by heart. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave your home at that setting when you’re gone. The further you can adjust your home’s temperature away from this setting during the work day, the more money and energy you’ll save. Just be mindful of your pets and anyone else you leave behind. This is also a great reason to invest in a smart thermostat which you can program to adjust the temperature settings for you on a predetermined pattern every single day.
6. The road less traveled. The commute to work is where many of us needlessly waste energy. We drive solo when we should carpool or take the bus. Better yet, if it’s possible, leave your car at home and walk or ride your bike to work. You’ll save energy and feel rejuvenated by the exercise pick-me-up to start your day.
7. Recycle. You’re already recycling your cans and paper but what about your batteries? The list of what can be recycled is growing every year and you may be surprised to see just what is out there. Consult this chart to see what you’ve been missing.
8. Digital or eco-friendly transactions. Before you buy anything, ask yourself if there is a more environmentally friendly alternative. For example, newspapers and books can be read online and many beauty products are available in eco-friendly alternatives. Investigate your options. Getting in the habit of thinking in such a way will be difficult at first but the more you do it, the more natural it will become and the more you’ll reduce your carbon footprint. You’ll improve the environment for yourself and everyone around you.
Decreasing your carbon footprint doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming. Use these small ways to help the environment and you might save some money as well.