How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

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It’s not something we always think about, but reducing your own personal carbon footprint has many benefits both environmentally and financially. The carbon footprint of the United States is one of the largest in the world, which makes it especially important when determining ways to minimize the damage.  Although giant changes can be made, individuals have the power to make smaller, yet noticeable changes in their carbon footprint.  The following article from provides great tips on how to easily reduce your carbon footprint by making small changes in your daily lifestyle.

Top 10 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Written by: Editorial Staff

February 11, 2011
Filed Under Environment

Contributed by Cindi Pearce, Info Guru


Your carbon footprint is essentially a compilation of the greenhouse gases (GHG) that you individually produce based on your lifestyle. A carbon footprint is often referred to as the amount of carbon monoxide that a person or company or event is responsible for producing and is the measurement of our activities and the impact they have on the environment, particularly on the climate and how it is changing as a result.

A good and environmentally aware citizen […] needs to take steps to reduce his contribution to greenhouse gases. When our climate begins to change because of greenhouse emissions this is detrimental to our health and to the environment. We can all make choices to reduce our carbon footprint by changing our lifestyle. Even small seemingly insignificant changes can make a big difference.

Here are the top ten ways to reduce your carbon footprint:

10. Use the clothesline

Take advantage of the good weather and hang your wet clothing, sheets and towels outside. Your mother and grandmother used to do this all the time.

9. Do full loads

When you do your laundry, completely fill the washing machine with clothing. Don’t do half loads. This saves on electricity, water and laundry detergent. Additionally, do the same thing when you use your dishwasher. Load it completely before running it. It may take a couple of days to get a full load but, again, this lessens your carbon footprint as well as saves you money.

8. Collect rainwater

Put a big bucket in your yard to collect the rain. You can install rainwater storage tanks and the runoff from the gutters on your roof goes directly into the tank. This is called harvesting rainwater. Wash your hair in it. Water your plants. If it goes into a tank it can be heated and used for all kinds of purposes, including bathing and washing dishes.

7. Back off the hot water

Your bath water does not have to be boiling hot. In fact if it is too hot you risk burning yourself when you get into the tub or the shower. Turn down the heat in your hot water tank by two degrees. This isn’t much yet it makes a noteworthy difference.

6. Minimize errands

Do all the shopping in one fell swoop. Go to the grocery store and to the dry cleaners and the post office in a single trip. Be as efficient as you can in planning your errands. Shop online whenever possible. This greatly reduces your carbon footprint because you are using less gasoline.

5. Shorten your workweek

Perhaps your boss will consider letting you work from home one day a week. This is a great way to help reduce greenhouse gases because one less person is on the road. Walk when you can and ride share when you can’t walk. Ride a bike more often. Don’t take as many air flights.

4. Insulate your home

You will be amazed at the reduction in your heating and air conditioning bills, which indicates you are using less energy, which is the goal. If your refrigerator is more than 15 years old get a new one. Purchase one that has an “A” rating, which means it is energy efficient.

3. Get back to nature

Chip and shred the leaves, sticks and branches in your yard, turning them into mulch. This garden task is easy with a chipper-shredder. This reduces the amount of waste that you produce. Cut your own firewood and heat your house with a wood stove or fireplace.

2. Process your own food

Consider processing your own food. Try canning your garden foods. Learn how to dehydrate food using a home food dehydrator and how to grind your own meat. Anytime you can grow food locally or buy it locally this benefits the environment as well as the local economy. The concept is to think globally but eat locally. When you purchase food at the grocery store that food very well may have traveled across the country, which involved the burning of fossil fuels. When you shop at a farmers’ market or grow your own food fewer fossil fuels are used. Do not buy bottled water. The bottles add up and end up in a dumpsite somewhere. Invest in a composter and start composting your garbage, which yields benefits in the garden, too.

1. Turn it off

Turn off all household appliances when you are not using them. This includes the lights, the television, computer, the radio, DVD player and anything else that requires electricity. Invest in energy saving controls, switches and power strips. Not only will this reduce your individual carbon footprint, but it will save you money.

Although it may seem a little daunting to think about the state of our environment, it is absolutely essential that people take the reduction of carbon footprint seriously.  Especially now that you are aware of how painless it could be to reduce your carbon footprint and all the benefits it can bring, you can start introducing these subtle changes to your family and friends.  Spreading the message is important because the more people who are aware of their impact on the environment through their carbon footprint, the better off we will be.   Even on an financial scale, reducing your carbon footprint is beneficial.  Not only will your wallet benefit from the small adjustments, but you will feel better about helping out the environment as well!

Everyone can take part in minimizing the harm done to the environment and reducing your carbon footprint is just one of the many ways you can help.  Looking at the big picture can be overwhelming, but making smaller changes does actually make a difference.  Plus you can use helpful tools like a carbon footprint calculator that can make keeping track of your progress easier!

At Southwick’s Zoo, we appreciate anyone who is aware of their carbon footprint and tries to reduce it.  Not only do we thank you, but we’re sure our animals thank you as well.

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