Sustainable Living: Ways You Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

carbon footprint symbol or concept, barefoot footprint made of lush green grass with text CO2

According to the latest report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), it is essential that greenhouse gas emissions be reduced by 7.6% each year between 2020 and 2030. This will limit the constant increase of 1.5o C in the global temperature every year, which could be detrimental to all the living creatures on this planet.

In order to counteract the destruction of Mother Earth, people must reduce their carbon footprint, or the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with all human activities. It could cover direct emissions from exhausts or from the production of goods.

Here are six ways you can also reduce your carbon footprint:

1.  Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot

Going zero waste is one of the easiest ways this planet could combat climate change. You may have heard of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle), but that has been updated into 5Rs (refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot).

  • Refuse: Refuse is when you avoid using any plastic products, the production of which emits a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere, exacerbating the climate change. In addition, plastics can take up to a hundred years before they decompose. Unfortunately, these often end up in the oceans, causing massive damages to marine ecosystems.
  • Reduce: Reduce is when you downsize your usage of plastic materials. This also refers to minimizing the number of items you purchase and use. This means less products will be manufactured, resulting in less CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
  • Reuse: Reuse is when you find a way to reuse an item that’s usually thrown away. You can find a way to repair the item or maintain its condition for future use. You could use it as a decoration in your house, or as a commodity which could result in extra income.
  • Rot: Rot is when you use the compost system for food leftovers and other biodegradable items. You could find an area near your house to dump the leftovers and allow them to decompose. Composting makes the soil healthy which can be beneficial to plants. Thus, you could be hitting two birds with one stone.
  • Recycle: For items you can’t reduce, reuse, or rot, you can recycle them. Research your local government’s regulations on recycling and surrender any items that fit the criteria to your local tip. 

 2.  Embrace A Minimalist Lifestyle

Embrace a minimalist lifestyle by only acquiring things that you need. You can donate other items to charities or organizations which could make good use of it. More clothes mean more materials are needed, and more processes need to be carried out, which leads to a greater carbon footprint. In addition, the more devices you have, the greater the electricity you consume. Where possible avoid purchasing multiple devices which have similar functions to help save electricity. Also, try to embrace a paperless lifestyle. Use less paper by choosing online invites, books, and reading material. For instance, Greenvelope offers RSVP tracking and customized online invitations that naturally present a more eco-friendly option.

3.  Drive Less, Walk More

As mentioned, cars and other automobiles emit exhaust fumes which contributes to global warming. These exhaust fumes often contain carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, both of which are dangerous to the atmosphere, as well as to human health.

Where possible, opt to walk over driving. You could also ride a bike instead of using your car for distances that aren’t feasible for walking. Reserve your car for very long distances such as travelling across the country. By doing this, you can help to reduce  emissions, as well as the carbon footprint.

 4.  Conserve Water And Electricity

Only 1% of the earth’s water is potable. Because of this it’s important to try to save water, so here are some tips for how to go about it: 

  • When brushing your teeth, make sure you use a glass of water. Avoid leaving the faucet water running.
  • Take shorter showers by limiting your bath to about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Save water by limiting the amount of flush water. You can save water in a pail and flush the toilet using a limited amount of water.
  • Avoid using soaps that could damage the water system. Use eco-friendly soaps that are readily available in the market.

Aside from conserving water, it’s also important to conserve other natural resources. Here are some tips to save more energy and electricity.

  • Turn the light off when you’re not in the room.
  • Buy devices that are energy efficient.
  • Switch to LED lights which save a lot of energy usage.
  • Unplug unnecessary devices that aren’t in use because they still consume electricity.
  • Utilise fireplaces and wood stoves.

Conserving both water and electricity contributes a lot to decreasing the carbon footprint. It’s good to be proactive in saving these commodities for the health of the planet in the long run. 

 5.  Eat Natural Foods

‘Natural’ means food must not be processed or contain any preservatives. Apart from the fact that natural foods are at the peak of their deliciousness, measures to preserve them emits a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In order to reduce the carbon footprint by consuming all-natural and organic foods, here are some ways to start: 

  • Buy food from local farmers. Food products such as fruits and vegetables commonly available in the market often contain preservatives which could be detrimental to the consumer and to the environment.
  • Consume foods that are at the lowest trophic levels or organisms belonging to the same level in the food chain. This means foods like plants which are at the first trophic level, and meats that feed on them, which are at the second trophic level. These foods contain the highest amount of energy with minimal carbon footprint.
  • Eat foods that are in season. You could check with the local farmer’s market to see what fruits and vegetables are in season.

 6.  Educate Yourself

The last thing to do that’s really powerful for reducing carbon footprint is being proactive in advocating it and educating yourself. Several materials are available online to help you work out the effects of your own carbon footprint. In doing this, you can get an idea of how much you need to adjust. Being proactive can help make a long-term difference. 

Overall

These are some of the most sustainable and effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Be proactive and educate others. There is only one planet that all humans must share with the acknowledgement that one person’s actions can affect others as a whole. Change starts from a single individual and leads up to collective action that can save the planet.