There are three areas in which consumers can look into reducing their carbon footprints: the home, at the office, and through transportation. These key areas can easily be manipulated to help create a more sustainable environment.
At home, consider:
- Shop at locally-owned businesses, buy fair-trade products, shop at farmers markets for local grown produce, support area restaurants that use local produce and meats for their menus, and buying fresh food and produce
- Pay attention to packaging – less packaging used directly contributes to less waste
- Using vegetable-based and biodegradable products reduce hazardous waste and materials being used in production. Switching to vinegar and water as a cleaning solution from harsh chemicals is an easy solution and economically friendly. Many stores now have a section specifically for these products.
- Make specific routes for errands – Plan out trips to get your errands done by creating a game plan that will allow you to be more efficient, versus running an errand on Thursday that you could have done Monday when you drove past it. This helps minimize the amount of carbon emissions from travel.
- Using plant species native to the area will ensure that they flourish more and help rebuild the local environment
- Make use of local recycling plants and do not throw out recyclable materials.
- Reuse products – save an old toothbrush for cleaning, old shopping bags can be used as trash bags, glass jars can be washed and used for multiple other uses
Around the Office:
- Skip using plastic and disposable cups – bring a mug or water bottle from home that can be reused throughout the day
- Avoid printing out documents whenever possible – adapt to file sharing software and utilize email
- Power down – when leaving at the end of the day, shut off lights, computers, and other electronics
- Unplug unused appliances – if it is not currently being used, unplug it
- Set up recycle bins – make a basket for what one would consider trash paper be used by another for scratch paper, encourage employees to recycle water and drinking bottles
- Offer company incentives – charging stations for hybrid cars allow employees to charge their cars while at the office
- Book direct flights for company travel – the environmental impact of one less flight is huge and saves some of the travel headaches
- Biking – this health-conscious trend is also great for the environment
- Public Transportation – This is easy. One vehicle of 50 versus 50 vehicles of one. Using the subway, train, metro or bus may take a little longer, but can also help in crowded cities where parking is an issue.
- Hybrid Vehicles – Driving a hybrid reduces the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the environment.
- Carpool – Sharing rides to work with co-workers or riding with friends on your weekend outing also reduces pollution due to less vehicles being driven.