20 Ways You Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

A man and child planting a tree to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Sep 30, 2021

From the food you eat, to the clothes you wear, and how you get around, nearly every small action you take throughout your daily life affects your personal carbon footprint. Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take to reduce your impact on the planet and help curb climate change. Here are 20 ways you can reduce your carbon footprint:

1. Reduce your energy usage. Your home’s electricity use plays a big part in your personal contribution to pollution. Take simple steps in your home to save energy such as using cold water for your laundry, hanging your laundry to dry instead of using the dryer, turning off the heated drying setting on your dishwasher, and making sure you turn off the lights every time you leave a room. Check out our blog post with more energy-saving tips!

2. Manage your thermostat wisely. Don’t use more heat or AC than you need to. Take advantage of the sun to help warm up your home on chilly days and the natural breeze to cool your home on warmer days. Adjust your thermostat when you’re out of the house, when you’re on vacation, and even at night to save energy—and money! 

3. Install a smart thermostat. By allowing you to adjust the temperature from your smartphone and automatically self-adjusting based on the current weather, smart thermostats can help keep you comfortable when you’re home and save energy when you’re not.

4. Switch to energy-efficient lighting. Did you know LED bulbs use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescents? Swapping out your incandescent bulbs for LED bulbs can save a ton of energy and money over time. 

5. Switch to more eco-friendly appliances. Swapping out your gas-powered or inefficient appliances for electric or Energy Star appliances can reduce emissions and save energy. Try switching to an electric stove, an Energy Star-certified dishwasher, or even an electric lawn mower to reduce your carbon footprint.

6. Turn down your water heater. Water heating accounts for 18% of the average utility bill. Turning down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F) can help reduce your energy consumption.

7. Reduce your transportation footprint. The transportation sector is responsible for 29% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions—many of which come from passenger cars. Reduce your impact by walking or biking instead of driving, taking public transportation, opting for virtual meetings and events, or driving less in general.

8. Switch to an electric car. If you drive a gas-powered car, switching to an electric vehicle (EV) is one of the most impactful ways you can reduce your emissions. Learn more about the many benefits of switching to an electric car, and check out some of this year’s top EVs!

9. Fly less. Take a train or bus rather than flying, as airplanes have a much greater carbon footprint. You should also take direct flights when you can—direct flights cause fewer emissions, as the most emissions occur during takeoff and landing. 

10. Reduce the amount of food you waste. Food waste is a serious environmental issue. Did you know that when food waste sits in a landfill, it produces harmful methane gas? Be more diligent about cooking, food shopping, and eating leftovers to cut back the amount of food you throw away.

11. Start composting. Composting your food waste is a great way you can reduce harmful methane emissions and help fight climate change. Check out our blog post to learn how you can get started with composting—even if you live in an apartment!

12. Eat more plant-based foods. Reducing the amount of meat and dairy you consume is a simple yet surprisingly effective way to reduce your personal impact. Even giving up meat just one day a week can significantly reduce the footprint of your meals! Learn more about how plant-based eating can help our planet in this blog post

13. Buy local, seasonal produce to reduce the environmental impact of your food. You can also try growing your own produce in your garden or in planters!

14. Reduce fashion waste. Shop at thrift or consignment stores rather than buying brand new, and donate any unwanted clothes or recycle them at H&M rather than throwing them away. You can also try upcycling clothes, furniture, or decor, rather than buying brand new or wasting any materials. Check out these creative upcycling ideas!

15. Use less plastic. Single-use plastics pollute our oceans, are made from fossil fuels, and require energy to produce and recycle. Swap out single-use plastics for reusable options throughout all aspects of your life, such as reusable water bottles, grocery bags, coffee cups, and utensils. Check out these tips to help you reduce your plastic use and live plastic-free!

16. Use less water. It takes a surprising amount of energy to pump, heat, treat, and move water. Simple steps such as turning the faucet off when brushing your teeth, taking shorter showers, or installing a low-flow shower head can add up and save a lot of energy. 

17. Go paperless. Using less paper not only helps save trees—it also conserves energy that is used to convert those trees into paper and transport paper products. Sign up for paperless billing and statements, opt for electronic versions of books or newspapers, or try reusable alternatives to paper towels and napkins.

18. Plant trees. Trees are a vital tool in our efforts to remove carbon dioxide from the air and curb climate change. Plant trees yourself in your yard, or plant them through an organization such as Arbor Day Foundation!

19. Recycle properly. Recycling is an important way to reduce waste, but it’s only effective if you do it correctly. Check out our Recycling 101 guide for tips!

20. Choose clean energy! One of the easiest ways you can effectively reduce your carbon footprint at home is by making the switch to 100% clean, renewable energy. The average CleanChoice Energy customer prevents about 18,876 lbs of carbon pollution annually. That's like preserving 6 acres of forest or giving up your car for more than an entire year! Sign up for 100% clean, renewable energy today to help protect our planet for future generations.

In our everyday lives, we all create carbon emissions that make up our carbon footprint. Join us in the fight against climate change by taking these steps to reduce your personal impact on the environment and protect our planet for generations to come.

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