Most people have good intentions when it comes to wanting to shrink their carbon footprint, but they’re often overwhelmed with where to even begin, or they’re fearful of added effort and costs.
Purchasing green products and buying local, organically grown foods are some of the best methods for reducing one’s carbon footprint, and for living a greener lifestyle. Yet, there are many other practical and simple solutions as well, such as Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – the well known “Three R’s.” They may seem basic, but each category has an endless amount of ways to make a difference, help save money, and usually require minimal effort and change in habit.
1) Reduce paper and ink by printing documents on both sides, at home and at work. Or better yet, go digital! Store and read documents on your computer.
2) Buy products and food in bulk.
On average, organic bulk foods cost 89% less than their packaged counterparts. Buying in bulk also prevents excess packaging from unnecessarily entering landfills.
Check out these other great benefits for Buying in Bulk.
3) Eliminate (and stop paying for) “vampire” or “phantom” energy use by unplugging appliances and electronics when you’re not using them, or by purchasing a “smart” power strip.
In the United States, “vampire” energy consumption is roughly equivalent to the amount of electricity the country of Italy consumes annually.
1) Borrow instead of buy
Save money and the environment by exchanging and borrowing goods and other items. Sharing movies, power tools, and kitchen appliances with friends or neighbors can greatly reduce the amount of plastic products we use. Plastic is made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource and major contributor to global warming.
2) Reuse bags and totes
Bring your own bags or bins when you go grocery shopping or to the mall to reduce plastic bags usage. Thousands of marine wildlife and more than a million birds are killed each year due to plastic bag pollution.
3) Reuse old magazines and newspapers
Have a huge pile of magazines you’ve already read cover to cover? Give them new life by passing them onto a friend, or by donating them to local businesses, such as doctor’s offices or local gyms- wherever your to do list takes you! The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is also always appreciative of old newspapers to line animals’ crates.
1) Recycle your old cell phones.
Cell phone devices and accessories can be reused by charities that distribute them to people in need (even a de-activated cell phone can place a 911 phone call). Even if the phone is unusable, if properly recycled, the device itself can be refurbished, toxic parts can be properly disposed of, or any reusable materials can be salvaged.
2) Donate household items and clothes to local charities
Approximately 93% of all textile waste recycled is reclaimed; however, 85% of all textile waste goes directly to landfills. Instead of taking up space in a landfill, the items you consider useless could be put to good use by people less fortunate than you.
3) Cliché, but recycle your aluminum cans-even the smallest things make a big difference.
Recycling one aluminum can can save enough energy to run a computer for up to three hours.
These small, convenient, and simple tips make it easier than ever to reduce, reuse & recycle your way to lowering your carbon footprint, and helping our earth and local communities continue to thrive in the future.