Ways to Reduce Waste at Home, and Offset your Carbon Footprint

There are many ways to be greener around your home, and you're probably doing many of them already. You can reduce your carbon footprint significantly by focusing on ways to reduce waste, reuse, and recycle.

Even if all were diligent in these efforts, in modern life, we can't fully eliminate our carbon footprint. This leads to the need to offset it.

What it means to live green

But first, let's review ways to reduce your carbon footprint at home. Living green means you:

  • Reduce your consumption of items that use natural resources or pollute the planet.

  • Waste less.

  • Find cleaner solutions to everyday needs.

Since you can't reduce your carbon footprint to zero, living green becomes a matter of balancing the things that are important or convenient to you, against the effect they have on the earth.

Ways to reduce your carbon footprint at home

There are lots of ways to reduce waste, and probably you are doing many of them.

Carpool, bike or walk rather than drive your own car

You could also look at the car you drive and consider changes to make it greener, such as getting it serviced on schedule or switching to a smaller or more environmentally friendly model. As we come off of this time of staying home, it's a good time to do a reality check: Is so much travel necessary? Perhaps you can work from home permanently or part-time and still get your job done. Maybe more of your meetings can continue via video instead of in-person, or perhaps emails or shared documents are equally efficient.

Do more washing and less tossing

Make reusable water bottles, cloth napkins, and real dishes your standard choice. And keep in mind that running a full load in the dishwasher uses less water than doing those dishes by hand, so that's good news. Try to follow this real dishes habit even when eating "out", such as for a picnic, packing your lunch to work or hosting a party. If it isn't feasible to use real dishes, avoid plastic and Styrofoam, and instead choose recyclable or compostable paper products.

Reduce your electricity usage

Try replacing old light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs, turning down your air or heat when you're not home or it isn't needed and unpluging chargers and appliances when not in use. Go green and create quality family time by unplugging one day, one afternoon, or for set hours every day. Turn off all your screens, flip off all the light switches, unplug everything, and enjoy old-fashioned family time.

Buy less, reuse, and donate

The less you buy, the less waste you'll have later. But also consider what you buy. Cheap purchases could be in and out of your life much quicker than if you pay more for items that will last. You can also research companies and buy products that are made from sustainable materials and manufactured in a way that has less impact on the environment.

Shop local foods, and reduce or eliminate meat and dairy

Buying food from local markets means your food will have better nutrition since it hasn't traveled for days to get to your table, and it will help support local farmers. Reducing meat and dairy in your diet, even if you only skip it one day per week, can also help the environment because much of this industry is not planet-friendly. Be mindful of portions so that you don't over-buy and create waste, and compost the waste you do have.

What else you can do: Buy carbon offsets

Planet-loving people can significantly reduce their carbon footprint by being mindful of their lifestyle habits and seeking ways to lower their impact on the environment. But in modern life, they can't eliminate it.

That's the idea behind buying carbon offsets. The mission of buying carbon offsets is to contribute to industries and practices that reduce greenhouse gas, to help compensate for the impact you have on the environment. You can calculate your impact based on habits you can't or don't want to avoid, such as driving your car or taking an airplane on a vacation, to decide on your contribution.

Visit the Green Mountain Energy website to learn more.


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