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I’ve been thinking a LOT about what kind of planet we’re leaving to our kids. It’s been sobering. But instead of focusing on that aspect of the problem I decided to think about how I could reduce our carbon footprint. And that led to this list of 100 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.
Am I doing all of these in our home? NOPE. Am I doing some of these? You bet!
Small Changes Add Up
Did you know that small changes in everyday living add up? It may not seem like MUCH to switch out plastic bags but use ONE less bag a day and in a year that’s 365. Multiply that by your household and you’re making real changes.
I’ve made up a list of 100 easy things you can do today to be more eco-friendly and reduce your carbon footprint. I’ve broken it down to make it easier to read and put to good use.
I’m absolutely not telling you to do every single thing on this list to reduce your carbon footprint, I’m saying pick one and do it. Then try another one. Keep going until you’ve made some huge changes.
Eco-Friendly Lunch Box Ideas
- ditch single-use plastics in favor of reusable containers
- pick up sturdy thermoses and pack leftovers
- don’t buy fruit in cups or squeeze pouches switch out to real fruit
- pack bamboo spoons and forks instead of plastic, wash and dry nightly to keep them in tip-top shape!
- buy a tub of yogurt and make your own flavored yogurts with fresh fruit or jam
- make your own lunchables type lunches in a Bento Box, no special skills needed cut lunch meat and cheese to fit add crackers and you’re almost done
- buy a sandwich-sized reusable container and ditch plastic bags
- purchase these waxed reusable bags and pack chips or crackers in them, you can use them over and over again
- pack a water bottle
- skip juice boxes and pouches, those things are not recyclable, take hundreds of years to break down, and even then never really do they just become small plastic bits
- if an organic product comes in non-recyclable packaging contact the company and ask them to change
- refuse to buy any organic products in non-recyclable packages-I stopped buying most fruits at Costco because they come in those horrible clamshells that are not recycled up here
- take your lunch to work, eat it and then go for a walk, your gas tank will appreciate you
To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint Make Your Home More Earth-Friendly
- become THOSE people that put out more recycle products than trash
- skip saran wrap or plastic bags and sub in reusable wax wraps
- learn what items are in recyclable containers and which ones aren’t and stop buying products that aren’t
- switch to glass containers for leftovers like these Pyrex Dishes
- purchase fruits and vegetables in bulk from companies such as Azure Standard which has FREE delivery to a lot of drop points in the Continental United States. Their prices are so good I even pay to get delivery to Alaska!
- Skip the Coffee Pods! Go back to your old coffee pot and skip those non-recyclable plastic pods
- OR switch to the eco-friendly pods if you can’t stand to go back to your old ways
- OR Buy one of those refillable pods you can use again and again
- sweep more vacuum less
- turn down your heat during the day and only turn it up when people are going to be home to enjoy it
- I don’t know how air conditioning works but I assume you can set to some sort of energy efficiency mode
- close your drapes to keep the heat in OR out!
- keep a trunk full of blankets to snuggle up in when you’re watching tv instead of cranking up the heat
- when purchasing new appliances go for the most energy-efficient you can get
- ask for an energy audit to see which appliances are using the most energy and costing you more money as well
- consider learning to repair appliances, we learned how to tear down our dryer on You-Tube
- get a furnace tune-up to save money and fossil fuels
- turn off your furnace as soon as possible in the spring and wait as long as possible to turn it back on saving money AND fossil fuels
- invest in cloth napkins and skip paper napkins
- compost all scraps, you can use a vermicomposter in your house or build a pile with kids
- eat less meat overall try new recipes like my Vegetarian Posole or Vegetarian Chili to try traditional meat-based foods in their vegetarian forms
- cut up old t-shirts and sweatshirts for rags, skip the paper towels and have free rags as needed!
- buy eco-friendly laundry soap with minimal packaging, Dropps seem pretty great, come right to your door. I’m ordering some to try them out, they may come in a non-recyclable bag though, we’ll see!
- Switch to less chemical versions of cleaners such as Method or Mrs __ no need to go and buy these now just try them the next time you’re shopping for cleaning products
- Vinegar in water makes a cheap all-purpose cleaner, works on grease too
- run your dishwasher once a day, fully loaded to save on un-needed loads
- run your laundry during off-hours, save money and the load on the grid
The Clothes Have It
The easiest thing to say here is to BUY GOOD CLOTHES and keep them forever. Anyone telling you to do that has a lot of money on their hands. BUT you can make a few changes, get creative with your money, and reduce your carbon footprint.
- step off the relentless treadmill of trendy clothes, they’re usually low quality and made in factories that are definitely polluting the air and possibly the water. And they’re also exploiting low-wage employees or slave labor
- buy things you’ll wear for more than one season WHEN YOU CAN, yes this means quality pieces but if you buy them at the end of the season you can get great pieces that last for less money
- Store the seasonal clothes you’re not wearing in under-bed storage or somewhere put away so they’re ready for next winter or summer or whenever
- Thrift It-buy things you like and will wear at the thrift store, buying things that no longer fit someone is a great way to get things you love
- hit up the consignment stores for pricier but also better quality products
- if you have kids there’s no better place to shop and pick up things you KNOW they’re going to need in a few months than a thrift store
- skip Wal-Mart for clothes if you want them to last, these are cheaply made, fall apart quickly, and then you end up buying them again which costs more money-those cheap clothes end up in the landfill because they aren’t worth donating or even turning into rags
I know it sounds SIMPLE but live by these words
- REDUCE stop buying so much stuff
- REUSE everything you can
- RECYCLE everything you can
- REFUSE plastics that you use once
BIG HUGE CHANGES
Obviously these take a lot of money and a lot of time in use to pay you back but in the end, they can be worth it!
- install solar panels
- install a wind turbine
- set both of these up to charge batteries and/or sell that electric back to the companies in your area
- buy a hybrid car
- change how you commute consider walking or riding a bike or even grabbing the train
- or ask to work from home a couple of days of the week
- change jobs to something with a remote work available
What About Christmas or Other Gift Giving Holidays?
No one is saying don’t give gifts! Just be sure to give a thoughtful gift that suits the person. You can buy anything you want but slowing down, being intentional in your gifting is where it’s at!
- listen to people you plan to give a gift to, often they will express a need or desire that you can help with, give them that exact thing and watch them be amazed plus you’re not buying something cheap to “give them a gift”
- buy things on sale, tuck them away, and you skip any holiday madness for things your recipient probably doesn’t need or possibly want
- give gifts you don’t have to dust, that’s a rule I live by!
- skip useless items bought in a hurry to fulfill your sense of duty
- I like to give edible presents, no one ever complains, make cookies, freezer meals, breakfast baskets
- purchase gifts at the thrift store
- make gifts
- give something of your own that you no longer need and they have expressed an interest in
- skip extended family gift-giving and choose a silly auction game where everyone switches up gifts
- give an experience
- give a membership to a zoo or a museum
- babysit their kids
- give your time and expertise
- buy locally made products from the actual people who make them shop at local craft shows that feature homemade products
- skip a real tree and invest in a fake one that will last for years
- use the same old ornaments every year they’re full of lovely memories, I recently met someone who picked a theme for the year and bought all new ornaments for the tree every. single. year.
- host a family feast to celebrate a special day-no one cares if your house is clean, make dinner invite family and make it memorable
- SKIP THE CARDS ain’t no one got time for that
- plan a family movie night IN or OUT whatever you can afford, at home make tickets, make snacks, grab your blankets and snuggle in
- remember the rule of FOUR for kids-something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read and stop there
- don’t buy anything for the baby, seriously your friends probably have everything you need
- buy things second-hand
- shop consignment sales
- garage sales are the best place to purchase like-new items
- facebook marketplace has lots of items for kids
- private facebook groups for tag sales is a great place to buy everything you might need
- need less stuff, it’s true you don’t need a bunch of toys you have to pick up again and again
- use eco-friendly baby products, do your research and buy ones that are actually eco-friendly and not green-washed to make you buy it
- use cloth diapers
- or use eco-friendly disposables
- skip the pull-ups unless you really need them
- potty train early and get them off diapers
- host a gear swap with friends and exchange product for product
In the Bathroom
- invest in healthy shampoos and conditioners
- only wash your hair every 2-3 days
- use baking powder and go “poo free”
- skip shaving your legs and go au natural
- invest in a razor that changes out blades and stop using disposable
- try using toothpaste capsules instead of disposable toothpaste tubes
- you can get bamboo toothbrushes
- switch to 100% recycled toilet paper, they’re harvesting the boreal forest for cushy butt wipe
- STOP BUYING PLASTIC TAMPONS-those applicators last forever and they’re non-recyclable
We can all try to reduce our carbon footprint
In most cases it’s not about spending more money, it’s about making small changes. I want to know what you’re already doing to reduce your carbon footprint! Drop me a comment, share your tip, and I’ll add your tip to the list.