10 easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint


If you want to feel better about how you are affecting the environment, here are 10 things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint:

1. Reuse and recycle

Estimates say 29 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from the “provision of goods,” which means the extraction of resources from the earth, manufacturing, transport and final disposal of consumer products and packaging, building components and passenger vehicles, among others.

By buying used and reselling or recycling items you no longer use, you dramatically reduce your carbon footprint from the “provision of goods.”

2. Eat locally produced and organic food

 More than 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from the production and transport of food. Eating local foods means that they were not as transported as far, meaning less fossil fuel to get to you.

Organic fertilizer avoids the fossil fuel component that appears in some non-organic fertilizers.

3. Cut back on the beef and dairy

It takes a lot of resources to raise cows, and it’s especially controversial if you buy beef from somewhere like Brazil, where it was grazed on land that used to be tropical forest but was cleared for agricultural use. Deforestation is a top contributor to carbon emissions and climate change.

4. Fly economy

As comfortable as it can be to fly first class, your carbon footprint drops if you fly economy, the same way it does if you carpool or use public transportation. Each flyer’s share of a flight’s carbon emissions is relatively less because it’s spread out over more people.

If you must fly first or business, avoid private jets.

5. Drive a low carbon vehicle

High mileage cars doesn’t always mean low carbon dioxide emissions. Electric cars emit no carbon dioxide if they are charged with clean electricity (no coal). Electric cars and hybrids will save you money and help the environment.

6. Get a hitch-mounted cargo rack

Don’t buy a minivan or SUV if you only occasionally need the extra space. The bigger cars will use more gas and oil. A receiver hitch and a rack are relatively inexpensive.

Avoid roof-top boxes, which cost much more, increase aerodynamic drag and decrease fuel economy.

7. How you drive and how you care for your car matters

Take your time and be patient. Speeding and unnecessary acceleration reduce your gas mileage up to 33%, according to studies. Properly inflated tires can help improve your gas mileage by up to 3%. It also helps to use the correct grade of motor oil, and to keep your engine tuned. Some maintenance fixes, such as fixing faulty oxygen sensors, can increase fuel efficiency by up to 40%.

8. Reduce your home’s energy loss

Reduce drafts and air leaks with caulk, insulation, and weather stripping. Many states offer programs and incentives to facilitate this.

Turn off lights you’re not using and when you leave the room. Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs.

9. Lower your water usage

Lower the amount of energy used to pump, treat, and heat water by washing your car less often, using climate-appropriate plants in your garden, installing drip irrigation so that plants receive only what they need.

10. Search for Energy Star

Make energy efficiency a primary consideration when choosing a new furnace, air conditioning unit, dishwasher, or refrigerator. These are the biggest energy users in your home, so choose accordingly.

Products bearing the Energy Star label are recognized for having superior efficiency


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

'SNL' slams former cast member Al Franken on 'Weekend Update'
'SNL' slams former cast member Al Franken on 'Weekend Update'

"Saturday Night Live" slammed Sen. Al Franken just days after Los Angeles news anchor Leeann Tweeden accused the Minnesota Democrat and former "SNL" cast member of groping and kissing her without her consent during a 2006 USO tour. Colin Jost and Michael Che took aim at the comedian-turned-senator during the show's "Weekend...
'Project Runway' contestant Wendy Pepper dead at 53
'Project Runway' contestant Wendy Pepper dead at 53

Anne Eustis Pepper Stewart, known as Wendy Pepper, has died at the age of 53, Page Six reports. The “Project Runway” first season contestant “died peacefully" Nov. 12 while "surrounded by her loving family," according to her obituary. The news comes just one month after the death of fellow contestant...
Suspect named in Pennsylvania police officer's shooting death
Suspect named in Pennsylvania police officer's shooting death

Here’s what we know about the fatal shooting of a New Kensington, Pennsylvania, police officer: >> Read more trending news
Venus Williams' Florida home burglarized, $400,000 in goods stolen during U.S. Open
Venus Williams' Florida home burglarized, $400,000 in goods stolen during U.S. Open

The Florida residence tennis star Venus Williams calls home was burglarized as she played in the U.S. Open in September, according to a Palm Beach Gardens police report released Thursday. Though what was taken from the home at BallenIsles Country Club is redacted from the report, police indicate more than $400,000 worth of items were taken...
J. Crew apologizes after photo of black model with messy hair sparks controversy
J. Crew apologizes after photo of black model with messy hair sparks controversy

J. Crew is facing criticism after a photo of one of its models and her seemingly unkempt hair surfaced online. The black woman, dressed in a Madewell dress, was photographed with her natural hair messily pulled back in a ponytail. But everyone wasn’t impressed with the look. >> Read more trending news One Twitter user took to the platform...
More Stories