The very convenient truth about our carbon footprint is that each and every one of us has the ability to make an impact. Really we do! For years the task at hand seemed daunting to me. How on earth (pun intended, Har!) can I make a difference? After watching Al Gore preach to us about Global Warming, and celebrities running in flocks to trade in their 911’s for more efficient options, I wasn’t sure I wanted to join the revolution. Seriously, it was just too much work…. or was it?
Recycle and reuse
We are all busy people, but if we just stop and take stock in the little things, WE CAN make a difference. National Geographic recently published that there is now 7 billion people on the planet. If 10% of that population makes a few conscious decisions every day we can reduce our carbon footprint; and imagine if 25% of that population participated! Think you can’t do it? Here are 12 EASY things you can do around your home over the next thirty days and join in the revolution….it’s fun, you’ll see!
12 steps guaranteed to reduce your carbon footprint
1) Turn off the lights-if you leave a room, turn off the lights. During the day, utilize as much natural light as possible and forgo artificial.
2) Vampire energy– Random cords plugged in all over the house charging NOTHING. (Computer plugs, cell phone chargers, drills, iPods…any wireless device that requires a recharge) All those cords that charge stuff shouldn’t be plugged in when they are not CHARGING.
3) Recycled-Buy products that contain post consumer product. Bottles, egg cartons, toilet paper, general packaging, cat litter etc. Most of us visit a grocery store at least twice a month, make a conscious effort to buy at least three items with reused or repurposed material. I buy most of my products post consumer, but the best is cat litter! It isn’t dusty, and its safer for my cats.
4) Reuse newspaper– Use it in compost, for cleaning, burn in the fire, packaging, or combine with cat litter. It can also be used for tissue paper and wrapping – get creative people!
5) Gifts-Most of us have at least 5 events each year for celebration. The average household has 15. Instead of buying a NEW product as a gift, give the gift of something homemade, secondhand or antique. In order to make true change the supply and demand chain needs to shift. Stop the insane media driven consumerism!
6) Toilets-Buy more efficient toilets to reduce your consumption footprint. The average person uses 15-20 gallons of water per day, the average household uses 50-60. Imagine removing the trap under your kitchen sink and having to remove a 3 gallon bucket every time it was full…..you’d be running out to the garden 5-10 times a day. Water is a very, very valuable resource that many take advantage of. Be thankful you have it but try to use less of it.
7) Showering-Make it a point to shower 1 minute less or even more. Put a clock in your bathroom for a week and determine how long you typically bathe. A 10 minute shower wastes 5-8 gallons of water. Think of how much you could save by cutting off an entire minute, and you will save on your water bill! Also, use a low flow shower head.
8) Printing-Instead of printing every single piece of paper, consider putting the info on a file and save to your computer or an external hard drive . Temporary things like hotel confirmations and flight itineraries can be stored in your phone. If printing is absolutely necessary, reuse and recycle the paper.
9) Make from scratch-Instead of buying harsh commercial cleaners, make your own at home. They are safer for the occupants and gentler on the environment. Remember, your soaps, detergents and scrubs all go down the drain into our water supply and get absorbed by our earth. Here’s a great article I recently wrote on homemade cleaners using commercial tools.
10) Buy local and buy organic-If our food travels an average of 12,000 miles to get to your local grocery store think of the fuel, crude oil, and resources necessary to make that happen. If the farmer down the road has the same product it is a much healthier option for you and the environment…and probably tastes better too!! As an added bonus, reuse your produce bags to produce less waste.
Use rags not paper
11) Paper towels-Instead of using 20 paper towels a day, recycle old t-shirts, rags, socks or buy some from a thrift store. Rags can be used over and over and can easily be rinsed in the sink, or thrown in with the laundry without producing a ton of waste.
12) Reuse containers-Instead of buying more containers (media driven consumerism), reuse milk jugs, wine bottles, sour cream containers, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, jelly jars etc…get creative! A gentleman in my yoga class uses a recycled/repurposed wine jug to bring water to class. I reuse Kombucha bottles. Whatever it is use what you got!
Have a great green idea? Share some of your great tips, and I will feature them here on the blog!
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