With Earth Day just around the corner I thought this would be a good time to roundup a few simple ways everyone can make the earth a little healthier by reducing their carbon footprint. I hope you find this helpful, and are able to implement some of these in your everyday life.
1. Buy SeasonallyPurchasing produce that is in season reduces the demand to import fruits and vegetables from other countries. As a bonus, seasonal produce is cheaper and more nutritious.
2. Buy Locally
The fewer miles food has to travel the less energy that is used to transport it. Choose to purchase food that is made and grown locally.
3. Buy Organic
Organic farming reduces exposure to harmful pesticides and chemicals, helps build healthier soil, and fights the effects of global warming. (source)
4. Buy Less MeatRaising livestock for meat and dairy is a large contributor to methane gas emissions. Choose to eat vegetarian or vegan a few days a week.
5. Don't Waste Food
Wasted food consumes energy when being transported to the landfill, and then produces methane gas in the landfill. Plan out meals for the week before grocery shopping and only buy what is needed.
Product manufacturing is a major contributor to Carbon Dioxide emissions. Buying less reduces the number of resources needed for manufacturing.
Also See: Living Small: Getting Rid of Excess
7. Focus on Sustainable Materials
It is also important to consider what a product is made of, how long it will last, and where it will end up. Consider purchasing products made of high-quality recycled materials (post-consumer is best), that are able to be recycled in the future.
Also See: What Makes a Product Eco-Friendly
8. Focus on Sustainable PackagingA product's packaging is also something that should be considered. Choose products with minimal packaging that can not only be recycled but is also made of recycled materials.
9. Buy Second-handBuying products second-hand is a great way to not only reduce manufacturing emissions but also reduce someone else's waste.
10. ReuseBefore sending something to the trash or recycling bin consider if I can be repurposed in your home.
11. RecycleMost cities pick up recycling alongside trash making this one very easy to do if your aren't already.
12. CompostIf you have a yard composting is a great way to reduce waste and enrich the soil in your garden, but even if you live in an apartment it can still be an option.
13. Eliminate Junk MailRegister at DMAchoice.org to remove your address from unwanted mailing lists.
14. LightingTurn off lights when not in use and switch to energy-saving light bulbs like CFLs or LEDs.
15. Heating and Cooling
Set your thermostat to the correct temperature. In the winter, set it to 68° when you are home and 56° when you are away or asleep. In the summer set it between 75°–78° when you are home, and 85° when you are away or asleep. (source)
Also See: How to Passively Cool Your Apartment
Washing laundry in cold water and line-drying reduces energy usage and makes clothes last longer.