From selling your old vehicle to buying one that’s more gas and energy-efficient to consuming less, there are a lot of ways you can be a more eco-conscious person in your everyday life. The goal of reducing your carbon footprint is one that not only helps the environment. It can also help your quality of life, so you feel like you’re part of the solution rather than the problem.
The following is a guide to all the things you can do, some of which are very simple, to be a more eco-conscious person in your everyday life.
Use Less Gas
Gas prices are incredibly high right now for a variety of reasons. If you can find realistic ways in your life to use less fuel, you can not just help the environment but also save money. It can feel like using less gas is easier said than done, but the following are manageable tips:
- If you already know that it’s time to sell your existing vehicle and get a new one for other reasons, you can also use it as a time to consider fuel economy. You don’t even necessarily have to go with new technology like an electric vehicle or a hybrid in order to find an efficient new car. Gas-powered cars can still be very efficient. When you’re comparing vehicles, you’ll see fuel economy figures printed on the window sticker. You’ll also find this information when you look cars up. There are two more specific figures here—city and highway. City is the fuel economy in urban driving, such as stop-and-go traffic. Highway includes longer trips in traffic flowing freely.
- Do routine maintenance on your vehicle. For example, you should have your tires rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles and you should make sure they’re inflated to the maximum PSI. These are things that will ultimately help your car continue to operate at a peak level of efficiency.
- When you’re on the roadways, drive at the speed limit or at least very close to it. The faster you drive, the more fuel you consume and the worse your gas mileage. Drive the speed you need to stay safe, but nothing more.
- If you can coast, do it. If you’re a driver who’s constantly speeding up and slowing down, you’re altering your fuel consumption and burning more than you need to.
- When you’re driving on the highway, use cruise control. Cruise control keeps you moving at a constant velocity, so there isn’t gas-guzzling acceleration. No acceleration reduces the amount of work your engine has to do, so it uses less gas.
- Keep your windows closed. When you open your windows, it makes your vehicle less aerodynamic, impacting your fuel efficiency.
- Replace your dirty air filters, which can cause your engine to have to work harder than necessary.
- The most common maintenance issues affecting gas mileage aside from your tires and air filters include your oxygen sensors, fuel injection systems, and spark plugs. Have a qualified mechanic check these components regularly to make sure your car can operate efficiently.
The more we consume, the more we’re increasing our overall carbon footprint. If you can cut down on your consumption, there are so many ways you’re being more eco-conscious. Excessive consumption is a broad category extending to clothes, food, travel, and even things like home furnishings and décor.
When you commit to reducing your consumption, along with environmental benefits, you’ll spend less money. You’ll also find that you can simplify your surroundings and as a result, your life. When people cut the clutter and remove too much “stuff” from their lives, they’re often happier, according to research.
Some of the ways you can reduce your consumption include:
- When you think about buying something new, give yourself time to reconsider. Don’t buy things on impulse, ever. You want to think about whether or not it’s going to add value to your life. You can also delay gratification by waiting to buy whatever is and giving yourself time to look forward to it.
- When you purchase things, try to choose options that will enhance how you spend your time. For example, before buying anything, evaluate the actual impact it will have on what you do in your daily life. Buying a pair of hiking boots is likely to change the way you spend your time a lot more than purchasing an expensive blouse, for example.
- Before you buy something, go through your belongings that are similar and see what you already have. Use it as an opportunity to organize your current things, and you may find along the way that you don’t need the new item after all.
- Start to get to some of the underlying reasons why you might have an urge to spend money and work to deal with those at the root.
- Work toward being a more conscious consumer. Research brands and individual items before you make a purchase. Learn more about the processes they use to make items and whether their values align with your own.
Things to Do At Home
- Insulate your home correctly, if it’s not already. Consider areas like lofts and walls. When your home is well-insulated, you’ll use less energy and also cut your household bills.
- If you have the opportunity to switch to renewable energy, take advantage.
- When you’re in the market for new appliances, choose energy-efficient models. Every year appliances are getting increasingly more efficient. You can also do small things like buying energy-saving light bulbs.
- If you work from home, focus on cutting down on your paper documents and instead use the cloud.
Unfortunately, for all its many benefits, traveling can also leave a significant impact on the environment. To reduce your carbon footprint stemming from traveling, tips include:
- Use public transportation to get to your destination when you can and get around once you’re there. You can even choose travel destinations based on their public transit system.
- Fly direct when you have the chance to do so.
- Airlines and travel companies are increasingly offering the opportunity to offset the effects of your travel. For example, you can pay money in addition to the cost of your airline ticket to funds that offset carbon emissions or restore forests.
- Bring your own water bottle when you travel.
- Research where you’re going to stay and the things you’ll be doing to make sure the value of these things aligns with your own. For example, a lot of hotels are focusing on green initiatives and are working on their own strategies to reduce their environmental impact.
Other Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Other tips you can follow to reduce your overall carbon footprint include:
- When it comes to food, consume items that are local and seasonal. If something is out of season, that means it took a lot of work and transportation to get it to your location, which has negative environmental impacts.
- Limit your beef consumption.
- When you buy seafood, try to choose items that come from sustainable fishing practices.
- Buy what you need. Meal plan and think ahead so that you don’t overbuy and end up throwing items away.
- Take good care of your clothing, don’t wash it more than it needs to be, and follow the care labels.
- You can either buy second-hand clothing and shoes or splurge more to buy more expensive, sustainably made items but buy less of them and replace them less often. Fast fashion has major adverse effects not only on the environment but also on communities. For example, many fast fashion companies use cheap labor and don’t follow good employment practices.
- When you can use public transportation, walk or cycle, take advantage of the opportunity.
- Turn your heat down by just one degree—you probably won’t notice much of a change in the temperature of your home, but it can have a big environmental impact.
- When you aren’t using them, unplug your electronics.
- Don’t keep your phone charging when the battery is full.
- Shorten your shower time
- When washing dishes or brushing your teeth, turn off the water if you aren’t using it.
- Eat organic if you can. Some companies are sending out foods that retailers would otherwise throw away because they’re imperfect, so you might try one of these services.
- Buy food in bulk and use your own containers.
- Compost your food waste if you have the space available.
- Install a low-flow showerhead.
There are so many things we can do in our lives that aren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but that adds to a big reduction in our carbon footprint.
Even simply learning about the brands you’re spending your money with is a helpful step in the right direction. Every small change adds up incrementally and you’ll feel better about being a more conscious consumer and also have a more eco-friendly home environment.
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