Reducing your carbon footprint is important for the health of the planet but can seem like a daunting
undertaking. Fortunately, there are many easy ways you can help do your part. Making a few simple changes in your day-to-day life can go a long way to making a big impact. Plus these changes can also positively affect your life for the better!
Reduce Food Waste. In addition to composting your organic food scraps, consider looking into the most efficient way to use food in your household to avoid food waste all together. According to the USDA1, about 30-40 percent of the food supply is ultimately wasted. The best way to avoid food waste is to get creative and implement small changes as to how you purchase and consume your food. These methods are not only great for reducing your footprint, but help your wallet too. And, along the way, you might pick up some new creative cooking skills!
- Meal plan for the week before you go to the grocery store, and only buy what’s on your list. Resist “impulse” food purchases if you have not considered how you will use the items.
- Keep and consume leftovers. Search the internet for recipes for using up leftover meats, grains, veggies, fruits, and more.
- Only purchase in bulk what you know you will eat or that you consume in large proportions. Remember it’s not a deal if you end up throwing the item away because you never got around to eating it.
- Consider purchasing canned or frozen foods that keep longer if you can’t eat fresh produce quickly enough before it spoils.
- If you simply can’t eat some foods before they go bad, don’t throw them out. Instead, donate them to a food pantry or other organization that feeds people in need.
Follow the Five R’s. Remember reuse, reduce, recycle? Now there are two more easy R’s to add to that list: rot and refuse.
- Reduce. This refers to using less of everything. Use refillable bottles for water instead of purchasing single-use plastic water bottles and other non-recyclable beverage containers. Be mindful of what you purchase and consume, using only what you need. If you want to really go for it, consider downsizing your house, your car, or your wardrobe.
- Reuse. Give old things a new life. Turn old t-shirts into rags for washing your car or cleaning. Purchase vintage or older furniture. Repair broken items instead of tossing them to the curb. Donate gently used items to family, friends, or thrift stores.
- Recycle. Learn your county’s recycling rules and keep a list in your kitchen to ensure what you throw in the bin actually gets recycled. Use both sides of your printer paper when printing at home, and then recycle the paper once you can no longer print on it. Check into ways to recycle your electronics in your area2.
- Rot. Consider setting up a compost system for your food scraps: Place a small bin under your sink for convenient disposal and a larger one outside to collect your weekly organic waste. Eventually the compost will turn to soil which can be used for your garden and plants. No way to compost? Drop them off/have them picked up by a local compost company3.
- Refuse. Simply say “no” to straws and other single-use plastics. Bring your own reusable cup to your local coffee shop. Use cloth napkins instead of paper. Reject styrofoam trays and non-recyclable packaging whenever possible.
Conserve Water. One of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to pay attention to the amount of water you consume. It takes a lot of energy to deliver clean and safe water to your faucets. Water is not an infinite resource, even though it may seem like it. In fact, of the 70 percent of water covering our planet, only a mere one percent4 is suitable for human consumption.
Luckily, the solution is simple: Just turn off the tap. Did you know that letting water run can waste up to three gallons5 per minute? Shut the water off while brushing your teeth, scrubbing dishes, and even while shampooing in the shower. Fix leaky faucets, replace fixtures and appliances with more water-efficient models, and run the dishwasher only when it’s full.
Outside, install rain barrels to collect free water that you can then use to water your landscaping and/or garden. It’s also a good idea to turn the nozzle off on the hose when not in use while watering or washing your car.
Know your labels. As a consumer, you have an endless variety of food from which to choose. But how can you know which brands are committed to making environmentally focused decisions that are good for the planet? It’s as easy as reading the labels. A company that stands for sustainability will print their values right on the packaging. Look for statements such as:
- 100% natural
- Hatched, raised, and harvested in the U.S.A.
- No artificial ingredients, antibiotics, hormones, or steroids
- Cage free
Leave the car at home. Have you ever thought about how many trips you’ve taken that you didn’t need? Or how many times you’ve sat in a parking lot scrolling through your phone while the car was running?
Another simple way to reduce your carbon footprint is to use your car less and to turn it off rather than letting it idle. Idling for more than 10 seconds produces more emissions and uses more fuel6 than if you turned off your car and started it again.
In addition, you can make your car more efficient by keeping the tires inflated and its mechanics properly maintained. Or, consider driving a smaller or more fuel-efficient car like an electric or hybrid vehicle that can reduce emissions and save you money on fuel.
Avoid “fast fashion.” Fashion trends are fun to follow, but isn’t it more fun to have your own sense of style? Cheap, of-the-moment clothing is actually awful for the environment. Trendy clothes tend to get tossed more quickly, where they end up in a landfill and decompose slowly, if at all.
In addition, most clothing is made overseas, which contributes to massive amounts of shipping and use of fossil fuels. Chemical runoff from dying garments and rendering leather also has a huge impact on the health of the planet.
Stick to buying trendy clothing only once in a while and consider filling out the rest of your wardrobe with vintage or upcycled clothing.
Ride a bike. We could all use a little more exercise, right? Eliminate your car’s carbon emissions completely by not using one and consider walking or biking whenever possible instead. It’s healthy for not only the planet, but for wildlife and you, too. Plus, it’s also much easier on your wallet to maintain a bike versus a vehicle.
If walking or biking isn’t an option, consider carpooling or using public transit.
Ready to start doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint? Great! At Do Good Chicken, we’re here leading the way toward a better environment for all. Our mission is to provide sustainable chicken that is good for the plate and the planet, which in turn leads to healthier practices for you and your family to incorporate and enjoy together. Learn more about Do Good Chicken today!