10 Little Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

OK, people, the Earth is seriously warming, and it’s time to step up your green game. One of the biggest drivers of global warming and the other factors of climate change are large quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

If you remember from middle school science, greenhouse gases come from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. One of greenhouse gases that contributes significantly to the global warming effect is carbon dioxide.

Thankfully, you have control over how much carbon dioxide you produce, and you can take easy steps to reduce your carbon footprint, or the amount of greenhouse gases that you produce over time.

Most of these steps are simple so that you don’t have to take drastic measures like cutting down your oxygen intake. (Please, please don’t do that.)

1. Change Your Light Bulbs

Replacing a regular light bulb compact fluorescent one saves about 150 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, according to Texas A&M’s Soil and Crop Science Department.

flickr | p.Gordon

2. Try To Drive Less

Taking public transportation, walking, biking, or carpooling will keep one pound of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere for every mile that you do not drive. How crazy is that?!

public transit photo
Photo by Slideshow Bruce

3. Eat Less Meat, Or Change The Kind Of Meat You Eat

Meat production produces more greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, than growing any kind of vegetable or fruit. A study published in the journal Climate Change found that “meat-eaters contributed 46 to 51 percent more food-related greenhouse gas emissions than fish eaters” and “50 to 54 percent more than vegetarians,” according to Think Progress.

If the idea of giving up all your meat doesn’t appeal to you, just try giving it up for one day and it will still significantly cut your carbon footprint.

Or, try switching from beef to chicken. Emily Cassidy, an analyst at the Environmental Working Group, told Mother Jones, “If every American simply switched from beef to chicken, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 137 million metric tons of carbon a year, or as much as taking 26 million cars off the road.”

eating fish photo
Pixabay | Barni1

4. Recycle! And Try To Buy Recycled Goods

According to Texas A&M, you can save up to 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide each year just by recycling half your household waste.

recycle photo
Pixabay | Shirley

5. Adjust Your Thermostat Slightly

Regardless of where you set your thermostat temperatures, turning your thermostat two degrees cooler in the winter and two degrees warmer in the summer can reduce your carbon dioxide production by 2,000 pounds per year. Ideal energy-saving temperatures for your thermostat are 68 degrees in winter and 78 in summer.

thermostat photo
Photo by midnightcomm

6. Try To Use Less Hot Water

Using cold water to wash your clothes reduces your carbon footprint by 500 pounds per year, according to Texas A&M. And in the shower — just take cold showers! No, I’m kidding. In the shower you use a low-flow shower head, which saves 350 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

shower head photo
Photo by stevendepolo

7. Unplug Your Phone Charger

If you’re not using your phone charger but it’s still plugged in, it’s still using energy, which is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions in some way. Add “unplug charger” to your daily mental checklist of things to do before you leave the house, or just make it a habit to reach down and unplug your charger every time you unplug your cellphone from it.

phone charger photo
Photo by deltaMike

8. Avoid Black Trash Bags

I wish I was joking here, but it’s true. Apparently the pigmentation of the trash bags makes it so they can’t be recycled. Try to go with white or blue. The truly green, tree hugger option would be to not use any trash bags at all. But, hey, bonus points for you if you just switch your trash bag color. You go, Glen Coco!

black trash bags photo
Photo by Alan Stanton

9. Plant A Tree

This is super easy and cute. A single successful tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. That’s b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

young tree photo
Pixabay | Josch13

10. Check Your Tire Pressure

When your tires are properly inflated you get better gas mileage, according to Texas A&M. For every gallon of gas you save, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide never make it into the atmosphere.

car tires photo
Pixabay | jarmoluk