Little Ways to Reduce your Carbon Footprint

I’m always trying to think of how to lessen my carbon footprint on this planet. I was once asked about ways to reduce your carbon footprint and jokingly replied “Have little feet!” I mean I want to make my mark in the world, but not in the way of big carbon footprints. Here’s some things I do to help out, and some things you can do too.

My eco-friendly purchase of the day. Tag reads “Dishwasher safe. Because nobody likes to clean” Ha ha. 

Turn off the lights. I know this is a simple one, but turning off the lights when you leave a room, the house, etc is a good energy saver. Don’t forget that little one above the stove.

Don’t worry too much about night lights. Try to get one with an LED light, which costs about 7 cents a year to run, where an older style bulbed one costs about $2 a year.

Take your own bags to the store. If you can remember, take your own bags to the grocery store, convenient store, or pharmacy. If you are a girl and have a big purse, this helps too. Then you don’t end up with a stockpile of plastic bags. Sure you can recycle them if you have too many, but why start that collection? We use them for little trash cans and whatnot so they can come in handy. And some grocery stores give you a discount for bringing your own bags.

Save toilet water. Did you know that by putting a 1 liter (full) bottle of rocks (for weight) and water in your toilet tank actually reduces the amount of water your toilet uses with each flush, and doesn’t affect the performance of the toilet? Give it a try.

Get an LED TV instead of a LCD. The Light Emitting Diodes are actually more energy efficient than Liquid Crystals.

Re-useable water bottles and coffee cups. I noticed that when I drink something out of a straw, I tend to drink more. (This explains a lot when I go to bars and get a cocktail vs beer…) But it’s good when I’m at work, I drink more water. You save the planet a little plastic, and save money every time you use your own cup at Starbucks. Most coffee shops will even give you a discount when you bring your own cup. Just ask.

Use a dishwasher, when you can. I know washing the dishes by hand can be cathartic, but using a dishwasher saves you more water (37% on average) than when you wash a load by hand, leaving the water running. And try to run the dishwasher when it’s full, not half full.

Look for a dishwasher with the energy star logo, and one with a built in garbage disposal. Less rinsing before hand.

Take a short shower. When I can, I like to take a shower to music, and get out before the third song is done. This way, I save water, and don’t stand there contemplating the universe for 30 minutes, wasting time and money. A 4 minute shower uses 20-40 gallons of water.

Use a paper bag for paper recyclables. We line a can with a plastic bag for bottles and cans, because they can be messy. But we use a paper bag for cardboard and paper recyclables. Hey, you’re recycling the bag with the cardboard, and using one less plastic bag. Remember NOT to recycle pizza boxes with cheese in them though, the cheese jams machines used to break down cardboard.

Un-Plug electronics not in use. Did you know most chargers keep pulling energy from the wall even if nothing is plugged into them? Be sure to unplug phone, computer, and other electronic chargers when not in use. Better yet, keep them on a surge protector, and shut the whole thing off.

Buy Soy Candles. Soy candles not only smell cleaner and burn cleaner, they also burn longer. Soy wax doesn’t emit parrafin (black smokey stuff) into the air like regular candles. Hey, cleaner walls! They may cost a little more, but they last way longer, so it’s a win in the long run.

Soy candles usually come in neat decorative jars. I love the Wood Wick candles, they crackle like a fireplace when they burn.

Daily Shopping Common Sense. Try to buy items made in the United states, because that item most likely used less energy to produce, with less distance to ship. Look for items with less/ and or recycled packaging. Look for items where you can recycle the packaging. Think about impulse items long before you buy them. If you don’t need them, (3 for the price of 2!), save the money, and the waste of packaging by not buying them. Look for items like cleaners and paint that are “organic” or “good for the planet” because they will emit less Volatile Organic Compounds into the air, and into your lungs.

Be a vegetarian! That’s right. I’m saving the animals, AND saving the planet. The meat production industry leads the nation in polution. I don’t want to contribute to that. Plus, I don’t like eating animals.

Walk, don’t drive. We purposly moved into a downtown area so we could walk to restaurants, the gas station for quick items, and the local Shopko for stuff like cat food and dish soap. We are close to a budget theater, mexican restaurant that we frequent, and a few bars for late night entertainment. Walking is good for the body, and good for the planet.

I took this while apartment hunting a year ago. I knew right then I wanted to live in this little downtown neighborhood. This pic is of a historical Hotel that has a restaurant and bar.

Learn to craft & cook. I love to sew, paint, cook, and craft in general. If you can adapt these skills, you can make blankets out of fabric scraps, stitch socks with little holes so you don’t have to throw them out and get new ones, paint a piece of art for the wall, alter a shirt that’s too big, fix the lining of your pocket that has come undone, cook a meal with ingredients from the farmer’s market, and fix broken items with your awesome super glue skills.

Shop at the Thrift store. I shop at thrift stores for clothes, books, home accessories, and furniture. It’s stuff that’s already been loved and around for a while, and keeps me from buying brand new when I don’t have to. I love to treasure hunt at Goodwill and find an awesome new coat or broken in jeans. Plus, that money goes to a good cause.

See! There are SO many things you can do to help the planet. Most of you are probably already doing them, and don’t even realize it! Pat yourself on the back for being a green machine. I don’t know about you, but I want to leave this earth in better shape for my (future) children and teach them about the importance of being earth friendly.

What do you do to help the planet?

Happy tiny footprint leaving!


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