Reducing Your Carbon Footprint: 5 Practical Things You Can Do

Did you know that you increase your carbon footprint every time you order a steak, drive your car, or put your clothes in the dryer? Carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon that a person, activity, or organization emits. Your carbon emissions eventually build up in the atmosphere unless there is sufficient bio capacity to absorb them.

Today, the carbon footprint is about 60 percent of humanity’s general ecological footprint. Since 1981, humanity’s overall footprint has gone up 11-fold. Here are a few practical things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.

1. Drive Less, Bike More

Traditional cars may be convenient but they put a lot of pressure on the environment. Gas powered engines release greenhouse gases including CO2, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons. Actually, a third of air pollution in the United States is from cars.

Toxins from cars are bad for your lungs too.

Consider taking a bike to reduce your carbon footprint. When you cannot take a bike, public transportation is a good idea. It reduces the number of cars on the road and hence lowers the amount of exhaust produced.

2. Use Bamboo Toilet Paper

When trying to lower your carbon footprint, you probably don’t think about your toilet. Most people don’t think much before using traditional toilet paper. However, it plays a major role in deforestation. Industry experts suggest humans need 27,000 trees for their daily usage of toilet paper.

Bamboo toilet paper is eco-friendly. It is softer and stronger than traditional toilet paper. Being a fast-growing plant, bamboo can be replanted and harvested every year.

3. Conserve Water

Reducing water usage in your home could lower your carbon footprint. Although 71 percent of the earth is made up of water, only a small percentage is available for consumption.

About 96.5 percent of the earth’s water is so salty that it cannot be consumed and a lot of the freshwater is in permanent snow, polar ice, and glaciers. The simplest way to conserve water is by making a few changes at home. For example, when brushing your teeth, do not leave the water running. In the same breath, use water efficient toilet systems and shower heads. And don’t forget to use eco-friendly toiletries to avoid polluting water supplies.

4. Use Clean, Sustainable Energy

81 percent of energy in the United States comes from natural gas, coal, and oil. Fossil fuels are still the most common source of energy for running cars, homes, and industries. However they are expensive and unsustainable. Additionally, when burned, they release carbon dioxide and other gases that are bad for our environment.

Using sustainable energy helps the planet. Installing solar panels for domestic use and cutting down the use of electricity in your household is a good start.

5. Eat Local

When shopping for groceries, opt for seasonal, locally-available options. Mother Nature has something for you every season. That way, you don’t need to worry about how far your food has traveled before reaching you.

Animal products are harsh to the environment as they may need more resources and water. Making most of your diet plant-based is not only healthy but also great for the environment.


In the United States, an average household releases about 49 metric tons of carbon into the environment annually. Climate change is a real problem and everyone must play their role in dealing with it.

From the way you get to work to what you eat and how you consume water, almost everything you do has an impact on the environment. Think of what you might be doing wrong and make efforts to change it. Even the slightest lifestyle changes can go a long way.