In a previous post, Ranking Food’s Carbon Footprint, I wrote about the 12 ways to reduce our food carbon footprint and the importance of switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet. For this blog entry, I will list 56 more ways on how we can live a more eco-friendly life by being more conscious of our carbon footprint and taking further steps to reduce it.
56 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint:
1. Only use your dryer, dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load; don’t do half loads. This reduces the number of loads and the electricity used.
2. Whenever possible, hang your washing out on the clothesline rather than using the dryer.
3. Clean the lint filter in your dryer. This will reduce your energy used, saving the environment and your electric bill.
4. Bring your own mug to your favorite coffee shop. This will reduce the usage of the paper cups, the energy used to produce them and save trees. Paper cups are usually not 100% recycled.
5. To save water, turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
6. Filter your own water, rather than buying bottled water. Some bottled waters are flown in from the far corners of the planet and the production process of the bottles adds to greenhouse gas release.
7. Buy an electric, hybrid or fuel-efficient car instead of a gas guzzler.
8. Buy locally produced goods and services. Goods and services that are produced locally eliminate thousands of pounds of carbon by reducing fossil fuel transportation demands.
9. Replace the light bulbs in your home with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. They have an exceptionally long lifespan. They can last up to 5 times longer than compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and much longer than traditional bulbs. A typical LED light that burns 8 hours a day can last about 17 years before it needs changing, making LED bulbs an ideal choice for hard-to-reach lights.
10. Plant a tree if possible. Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. They also shade your house in the summer and lower your air conditioning.
11. When replacing household appliances choose energy efficient appliances. Check their Energy Star ratings for a quick reference. This may cost more upfront but will save you in the long run.
12. Use an electric mower as it is more efficient than mowers that run on fuel.
13. When you mow the lawn, leave the clippings spread across the grass. It decomposes and fertilizes the ground.
14. Read the newspaper online to save paper, trees, and carbon.
15. Use a laptop rather than a desktop computer. Laptops use up to 80% less energy.
16. Use cold water to wash and rinse clothes.
17. Use both sides of the page to print or copy.
18. Use reusable bags for grocery shopping.
19. Take a shower instead of a bath (a shower uses approximately one fifth of the energy that a bath does).
20. Switch off lights in rooms at home when not using the room.
21. Insulate your water heater or water tank with an insulation blanket to save on heat loss.
22. Run ceiling fans instead of air conditioning. Avoid using air conditioning in your home and car whenever possible, as this could save a lot of CO2.
23. Replace your existing showerheads with low-flow showerheads.
24. Stop and open the dishwasher before the drying cycle and let the dishes dry naturally.
25. Reduce excess baggage and pack lighter when travelling. Planes flying with extra baggage use more fuel.
26. Use passive solar heating to capture heat in your home by opening the curtains during the day and closing them at dusk. In summer you should close your curtains during the heat of the day. Besides carbon, you’ll save 25 to 75% on your heating and cooling bill.
27. Replace the exterior lights around your home and in your garden with solar-powered ones.
28. Use the top shelf of the oven as it is always the hottest and can cook foods quicker.
29. Keep your car’s tires inflated to specification because this will ensure that your car is more efficient.
30. Donate or recycle your old clothing rather than throwing it away.
31. Whenever possible only drive during non-peak hours.
32. Take advantage of natural daylight as much as possible.
33. Don’t wash food under a running tap. Instead, use a big bowl to hold water for the wash.
34. Drive at or below the speed limit as this reduces your vehicles emissions.
35. Use collected rainwater and “grey” waste water to water your garden.
36. Re-use zip top bags.
37. Limit your shopping trips to once a week.
38. When cooking put the lids on your pots and pans to reduce heat loss.
39. Avoid products with multiple layers of packaging.
40. Water your garden in the morning or evening as this will save water.
41. Only heat rooms in your house that are in use.
42. Use hand towels and fabric napkins rather than paper ones.
43. Use a toaster to toast bread instead of under the grill.
44. Fit your garden hose with a trigger sprayer, as this will reduce your water consumption.
45. Insulate your water pipes.
46. If you are renting a car while on vacation or business go for a hybrid or bio-diesel.
47. Use recycled paper.
48. Don’t be an aggressive driver. Studies show that fast starts, weaving in and out of traffic, and accelerating to and from a stop sign or traffic light don’t save much time, but do waste fuel.
49. Defrost your refrigerator as this will ensure that it runs efficiently.
50. Install a drain water heat recovery pipe in your home to reclaim energy from waste water.
51. Fix dripping taps.
52. Install insulated blinds on windows to decrease energy escape.
53. Avoid using patio heaters, as these produce enormous amounts of CO2.
54. Block up the chimney with newspaper when you are not using it – and don’t forget to remove the stuffing when you do want to use it.
55. Keep the curtains closed at night and make sure you don’t just heat the space between the curtains and the window. A radiator shelf can also deflect the convection currents past the curtains into the room.
56. Use “task” lighting rather than whole room lighting when a small amount of light is required.