How to lower your carbon footprint

Earth Day focuses on protecting and healing the planet, but it also raises the question — what can we do to move beyond this one day and support a healthy environment all year long?

One way we can all help the environment is to lower our individual carbon footprint, which contributes to cleaner air by reducing overall carbon emissions. Let’s look at a few simple ways we can all contribute to a cleaner environment.

What is a carbon footprint?

A “carbon footprint” is simply a term for the amount of greenhouse gases — such as carbon dioxide — that a person, product, household, or business produces.

This is important to measure because reducing greenhouse gas emissions will help combat climate change, which is creating instability in worldwide temperatures, an increase in severe weather, and other global issues. By working to reduce our carbon footprint, we can all help restore a healthy environment!

Let’s make Mother Earth smile

Now that we know what a carbon footprint is and why we should lower it, let’s review the most important part — how to live a more eco-friendly life. 

Repurpose or reuse old items

Instead of instantly replacing used or damaged items, see if you can find another use for them.

Old toothbrushes can be used to scrub and clean, or your kids can use them as paintbrushes.

Cut old clothes, sheets, and towels into small pieces and use them to dust.

Donate items that you no longer need. If it’s usable, it will be perfect for someone else.

If you can’t repurpose an item, try to recycle it! Recycling at least half of your household waste can greatly reduce carbon emissions.

Find ways to reduce waste

Modern luxuries like air conditioning and running water are easy to take for granted — which means that if you’re not careful, you can overuse them and create a lot of waste. A few things to keep in mind:

Reduce water waste by shutting off your tap while brushing your teeth and saving in other small ways, like waiting to do laundry until you have a full load.

Adjust the thermostat in your home. Turning the heat down or the air conditioner up by only a degree or two still makes a difference, and it will reduce your monthly electric bill.

Restore old clothes. Sewing and patching older clothes is less expensive and wasteful than buying new ones. If they just need a little sprucing up, toothpaste can be used to clean tennis shoes or remove stains.

Does your place of work have a sustainability program for eco-friendly business practices? If there isn’t a formal program, see if you can start one yourself. It’s an opportunity to contribute to your workplace and your planet at the same time.

Purchase eco-friendly products

Using items that are designed to be energy efficient is an easy way to live more sustainably.

Carry a reusable water bottle instead of plastic disposable bottles that may end up in a landfill.

To make your oral health routine more environmentally sound, try using a biodegradable bamboo-handled toothbrush or a reusable water or air flosser instead of nylon floss.

Make the switch to energy-efficient LED lightbulbs, which use up to 90% less energy than traditional bulbs.1

Go green one step at a time

These are just a few of the many ways you can live more sustainably. And it’s important to remember that you don’t need to overhaul your entire daily routine. Just start with a few small changes and go from there!

1Iacurci, Greg. 8 easy — and cheap — ways to cut your carbon emissions. (2023, August 30) from

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