We live in a time when climate change has become abundantly evident. Even people who were doubtful a decade ago now understand that we all need to do what we can to live a greener lifestyle. But for some people, that’s easier said than done.
If you or someone you know are ready to begin living a more eco-conscious life, it doesn’t require totally changing your current lifestyle. There are plenty of small, easy things that can be done to reduce your carbon footprint little by little.
Eco-Conscious Travel Tips
Driving around in a car is often the biggest part of a person’s eco-footprint. In the past we’ve provided easy green travel changes that can be used immediately, and here are a few more to add to the list when you’re traveling by vehicle.
Eco routing is an easy way to reduce mileage, limit pollution and make the trip easier to navigate. The idea is that you use an online eco-routing tool (no physical equipment means a smaller eco-footprint) to create the most fuel-efficient routes. You can even plan out routes with multiple stops.
Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated
Deflated tires reduce your miles per gallon. The Energy Department notes that you can improve MPG by 3% simply by keeping your tires properly inflated. The standard recommendation for tires is 30 to 35 p.s.i.
Follow Driving Best Practices
All those things your driver’s ed teacher taught you can help you lower the ecological impact of driving. Quickly starting and stopping, speeding and aggressive driving can lower your gas mileage by as much as 40%.
Eco-Conscious Utility Tips
Another factor of life that makes an individual’s eco-footprint larger is utility use. Electricity, water and gas service all require the use of natural resources. You may not be able to install a solar power system or forgo utilities all together, but there are things you can do to lower energy use.
- Look for green energy providers. In deregulated areas where consumers are able to select their utility providers, you may have the option to get electricity that’s generated by renewable resources.
- Change out incandescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and LEDs are much more energy efficient and the last years longer. You’ll save energy and reduce waste at the same time.
- Start using smart power strips. Smart strips go a step further than regular power strips by allowing users to connect different devices so they turn off and on together.
- Connect electronics to an app. With today’s technology, lights, appliances and more can be synced with a smartphone app so you can turn things off even when you aren’t at home.
- Use your windows strategically. Many people don’t realize that curtains can be used to reduce lighting, heating, and cooling. All you have to do is open and close curtains or blinds at the right time of day.
Eco-Conscious Cooking Tips
The third place where you can make huge improvements with small changes is in the kitchen. Food consumption is a major contributor to carbon emissions. On average, U.S. households contribute 8.1 metric tons of CO2e strictly from food consumption.
- Start a vegetable garden – when veggies only have to travel a few feet from the yard to the kitchen there are no extra carbon emissions.
- Whenever possible use a countertop toaster oven in place of the regular oven.
- Go meatless one or two days a week. Meat is by far the biggest contributor to food consumption carbon emissions.
- Keep your refrigerator full. When the refrigerator is full it uses less energy to stay cold.
- Use a kitchen composter. You don’t have to create some complex system to start composting. There are compact kitchen composters that can help you repurpose waste for your garden rather than adding to a landfill.
- Consider replacing appliances that are over a decade old. As an appliance ages, it usually becomes less energy efficient. Replacing an old appliance with an Energy Star model can help you save energy without even trying.
Every little thing counts when you’re reducing your carbon footprint. Instead of putting off big changes, start implementing some of the smaller steps to get the process going.