Ways to Living Greener: Tips for Lowering Your Carbon Footprint

Writer: Barbara Del Castello

Ways to Living Greener

Tips for Lowering Your Carbon Footprint

Maybe you recently heard Greta Thunberg give a passionate speech (Have you heard her new collaboration with band The 1975?), or maybe you’ve been melting in the recent heatwaves and want a way to stop those.

No matter what led you here, living greener is great for the environment and maybe even your budget (sounds like a win-win)!

As of now, people are producing 1.87 tons of carbon emissions every year. If you’re interested in seeing how much you produce, there are great calculators to see how much of that number is produced just by you. But don’t be discouraged by the result- there are plenty of easy ways to reduce that number:

Eat your leftovers!

Most people don’t realize that a large amount of the carbon and methane they produce actually come from their food waste. In fact, 40% of the food in the US in wasted each year! While some of this is Pre-consumer, in the US a vast majority in post-consumer. This means the leftovers in the back of your fridge that have become unrecognizable. Make sure to reduce the amount of food you buy, and if you do buy in bulk, put the unused products in the freezer. Try and reduce the amount of food you toss out.

Skip the Plane

A roundtrip flight from New York to San Francisco can create .9 metric tons of carbon dioxide per person. While it might be hard to take an alternate form of travel across the US, you can reduce your carbon emissions by reducing the amount you fly. If possible, take a train or bus to relatively close destinations. These options are also typically cheaper, which saves you another type of green as well. Can’t avoid the plane? If you have the change, opt to buy a carbon offset.

Try to Buy Local

Shipping and Transport of foods and goods creates quite a bit of carbon, by some studies somewhere between 5 to 17 times more than regional and local food. By buying local and regional, not only are you supporting great businesses, you know your food has a lower carbon footprint. But be careful what you get. Depending on what you’re trying to get, local and organic food can create more carbon. Try to buy local and regional foods that grow well in the area and don’t require excess water or effort.

Say Farwell to Fast Fashion

I know I personally struggle with this one, but fast fashion (think of those cheap, ultra-trendy stores that cycle through styles rapidly in your mall) creates quite a bit of methane when dumped. Not to mention, these clothes tend to deteriorate pretty quickly, leading to consumers to get rid of them quickly. For example, in the US, people discard up to 80 pounds of clothing each year. Try and opt to spend a little more money upfront and save in the long run.

Wash Your Clothes on Cold!

Invest in detergent that works specifically in cold water and wash your clothes in cold water only. You’ll find that you’ll save up to 500 pounds of carbon dioxide, as 90% of the energy used by your washer is just heating the water! That, and it’s much better for your clothes.

At the end of the day, there are plenty of resources available to you to get towards a greener life. I highly recommend checking out more resources online and seeing what’s right for you.