How To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint And Save Money

Written by: Seth Rogers
05/23/2019

environment

It’s common to invest in your personal health and longevity.  Many people prioritize things like exercise and healthy eating in order to ensure a long and healthy life.  They invest and save for retirement to ensure that they’ll be taken care of down the line when they no longer have a steady income.  It’s easier to make investments in stakes that, even if they don’t offer immediate results, you can clearly identify as being important to you in the long run.  But the health and longevity of the environment is something that a lot of people tend to overlook when planning for their future.

Many people have too many concerns in their own lives to even begin to think about the role they play in things like pollution or climate change.  It can be tempting to dismiss your own actions as inconsequential, or deny yourself the power to affect any real change in things like greenhouse gas emissions.  After all, you’re just one person; how much can you really do?  The truth is that there are several ways you can have a major impact on the environment, saving you money in the long run and hopefully improving the planet for years to come.

Drive Less

Transportation is one of the biggest sources of pollution in the world.  One of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to reconsider the way you travel.  If you have the potential to go without a car, taking a train or a bus is an excellent way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide your car will produce.  The best option of all would be to ride a bike, which would leave virtually no carbon footprint at all.

If having a car is necessary for you, there are still things you can do to reduce your carbon dioxide emissions.  Take it easy on the gas and the breaks, as driving more efficiently reduces the amount you emit. Have your car regularly serviced and check your tires to ensure your car is as efficient as possible. Minimizing the use of air conditioning and maximizing the use of cruise control on long drives helps save on gas and keep down how much your car emits.  Lastly, carpooling will help reduce the amount of cars on the road and help you split the cost of gas at the same time.

Eat Less Meat

Experts mostly agree that cutting down on red meat is a better choice for the environment as production of red meat uses a lot of feed, water, and land.  Cows also give off methane emissions, which harm the environment.  Eating a vegetarian or pescetarian diet is better for the environment if you replace the consumption of red meat with fruits and vegetables.  If a meatless diet isn’t for you, then leaner meats like chicken or fish are a better choice environmentally than beef or lamb. The lower down on the food chain you eat, the better it is for the planet.  Leaner meats are usually cheaper as well, and spending less on groceries while helping reduce your carbon footprint is a win for you and for the environment.

Even if you simply reduce the amount of red meat in your diet, it will still have a considerable effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, because even small changes will have large effects over time.

Waste Less

Wasting large amounts of the food you buy contributes to overproduction of food and overuse of the land on which it grows.  It also has the negative effect of costing you more money than you need to spend on groceries.  Take stock of your fridge before going grocery shopping to ensure you don’t buy things you don’t need.  Buy in bulk when you can to avoid wasting the packaging, but be wary of buying more than you’ll be able to use.  Plan meals for the week in advance to ensure you have the correct amount of food for the number of people you’re feeding.

When you have leftovers, make sure to reuse them instead of throwing them away, and freeze anything you won’t be able to use before it goes bad.  Stick with reusable dishes rather than anything disposable.  It’s always more environmentally-friendly to hand wash dishes rather than use disposable ones, and it saves you money as well.

Recycle

Everyone tries to recycle, but the trick is knowing how to.  To make sure your waste ends up in the right place, look for a number inside a triangle on the bottom of plastic containers.  This will tell you whether or not it’s recyclable in your state.  Be sure to empty and rinse out food containers before recycling, because dirty containers will ruin the whole bin.  Instead of tossing electronics you don’t need anymore, try donating or recycling them.  Many electronics stores will take old electronics off your hands.

Use Less Energy At Home

Apart from cutting the cost of your electricity bill, using less energy at home will make a huge difference in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.  Opt for blankets and sweaters instead of cranking the heat in the winter, and try to never leave the heat on when you leave for the day. Be sure to seal your home well, as heat can easily escape in trouble areas like windows and doors.  A well insulated home will help keep the temperature stable and reduce the need for excessive heater or air conditioner use.

Make sure to turn off lights and appliances when you aren’t using them.  To reduce even more energy turn off appliances at the power outlet. Replace your incandescent lights with LED lights, which use up to 85% less energy.  Don’t set your fridge or freezer temperature lower than necessary, and if you have an old fridge, replace it.  It it’s 15-20 years old, it can cost you up to $100 extra per year to run.


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