Crack the windows and break out the vinegar—it’s spring and time to clean!
Besides brushing up mothballs and sweeping away spiderwebs, we can also look at the top 5 ways we pollute the Earth, and choose to “clean up” our actions by reforming a heavy environmental impact.
1. How to reduce your industrial impact
Most mass-produced industrial products produce significant carbon emissions, which contribute to climate change. As the world becomes more industrialized, it’s critical to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
Here are several simple ways to reduce your industrial impact:
- Don’t upgrade tech products more than necessary
- Support local clothing designers and manufacturers
- Research a company’s sustainability efforts before buying
- Buy secondhand, used or consignment
- Sell your used stuff before trashing it
- Learn to do your own repairs
- Check out garage sales and community markets
- If you don’t need it, don’t buy it!
2. How to reduce your transportation impact
There’s no denying that transportation is a major source of pollution. Cars, trucks, and buses release harmful emissions into the air, contributing to climate change and negatively impacting public health.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to reduce your carbon footprint from transportation:
- Walk, take public transport or bicycle
- Carpool or share a vehicle by using car-share services
- Travel by air only when necessary
- Keep your car maintained to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize emissions
- Telecommute if it’s an option
- Lobby your local government to spend on sidewalks and bike lanes
- Switch to a hybrid or all-electric vehicle
3. How to reduce your food impact
The food we eat has a major impact on the environment. Between the farming, transportation, and processing of food, it’s estimated that the average meal travels over 1,500 miles before it reaches our plates.
And all of that travel has a significant carbon footprint. In fact, the food system is responsible for approximately one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. So what can we do to reduce our carbon footprint from food?
- Eat less meat
- Buy local and/or organic
- Discover farmers’ markets
- Buy in bulk and freeze items to keep them fresh
- Compost or give to your community what you cannot consume yourself
- Eat according to what’s going bad, not by craving
- Grow your own food
4. How to reduce your energy impact
Most of us are aware of the need to reduce our carbon footprints, but it can be difficult to know where to start. One of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to reduce your energy consumption.
- Inch your thermostat a few degrees lower
- Choose energy-saving light bulbs
- Unplug appliances, phones and computers when not in use
- Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible
- Use a drying rack or clothesline instead of the machine
- Buy low-flow shower heads and commodes, and energy-efficient appliances
- Consider switching to solar power
By reducing your energy consumption, you can help to slow down climate change and make a positive impact on the environment. Not only that, but you’ll also save money on your energy bills!
5. How to reduce your trash impact
Anyone who’s ever gone through a recycling bin knows that the average person produces a lot of waste. In fact, the average American generates about 4.4 pounds of trash per day – that’s a lot of garbage!
Not only does all this waste take up valuable space in landfills, but it also releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These gases contribute to climate change, which can have a devastating impact on our planet.
Luckily, there are things we can do to reduce our waste and help protect the environment:
- Recycle and compost
- Donate items or hold swaps
- Repurpose, reuse or upcycle items
- Refuse to use items that are disposable or single use
- Buy bulk and avoid items in heavy packaging
- Wash and re-use produce, Ziploc and plastic bags
- Print & photocopy on both sides
- Sign up for electronic bill statements
- Create a newspaper, magazine and book exchange in your community or workplace
By making small changes in our daily lives, we can all help to reduce our carbon footprint
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for freshness and consistency.