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There’s a lot of big talk going around about reducing our carbon footprints. You’ve heard this quite a bit, right? As the globe continues to warm, we continue to dive deeper and deeper into examining the ways we can build a more sustainable world. But what exactly is a carbon footprint, and how can we take this big concept and make it actionable?

A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, service, or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent. Essentially, it is a quantifiable way to measure your impact on global warming! Start your journey by calculating your carbon footprint here.

Didn’t know your individual decisions had such a huge impact? Many people don’t! And while it’s not on just the individual to save the planet from our current climate crisis, learning ways to reduce your carbon footprint can make an eco-friendly lifestyle more manageable and completely empowering!

Here are a few carbon footprint reducing tips:

Drive less! In November 2017 we learned that carbon dioxide emissions from transportation became the top source of greenhouse gases. (This is because electricity generation began shifting away from the use of coal. Good news on that front, and a push in the right direction for us to now limit transportation emissions!) Consider carpooling when you can, using public transportation as it is available to you, and even biking to work for extra exercise!

Fly less, and fly responsibly! If you’re a sky bird, think about taking just one few round-trip flight a year. If you are flying periodically for work or other obligations, consider looking into a carbon offsetting program to do so as responsibly as possible. 

Eat less meat! Research is still evolving on what the most environmentally-friendly diet is. That being said, most experts can agree that cutting down on meat makes a huge difference in an individual’s carbon footprint. Also important to note is that most greenhouse gas emissions happen during production, rather than in transportation. So eating local can definitely have a positive impact, but what you eat has the biggest impact!

Waste less! In the USA, the average citizen wastes around 40% of the food they buy. YIKES! There are all sorts of ways to avoid this, may it be meal planning to ensure you don’t buy ingredients you won’t use before they spoil, doing a grocery share with your neighbors, or by growing your own produce!

Recycle, recycle, recycle! We’ve all heard the catchy jingles, we’ve all seen the glorious green and bins on the streets in our neighborhood! So much good can be done by saving and recycling your trash. Here are a few tips you may not know:

  • Look for a number inside a triangle on the bottom of plastic containers. These indicate what kind of resin was used, and whether the container is recyclable in your state (check your city or state’s website for accepted numbers).
  • Empty and rinse food containers before putting them in the recycling bin. A dirty container can spoil a whole batch of recyclables. 
  • Donate working electronics. 
  • Recycle broken electronics. Many local electronics stores offer free recycling programs for old goods.
  • Contact your local car dealer or municipality to recycle car batteries. 
  • Don’t put non-recyclables in the recycling bin. Garden hoses, sewing needles, propane tanks or cylinders, aerosol cans that aren’t empty, hazardous waste and syringes, broken glass and broken light bulbs should all be avoided.

There are a ton of resources out there for more ways to reduce your carbon footprint, but we hope this will serve as a thrilling starting point for you. Remember that you don’t have to drastically change your lifestyle all overnight to join the fight against climate change! No effort is too small, and as we are fond of saying, #everydroppscounts!


Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/year-of-living-better/how-to-reduce-your-carbon-footprint

http://css.umich.edu/factsheets/carbon-footprint-factsheet

https://thepointsguy.com/guide/everything-you-need-to-know-carbon-offsetting-flights/

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