The desire to reduce our negative impact on the environment is rising to the top of many people’s priority list. With climate change and other negative impacts directly tied to our consumption of fossil fuels and our reliance on meat and dairy, people are starting to take proactive steps to reducing emissions and their carbon footprint in general. 

In fact, the University of British Columbia recently compiled data from a number of different studies and reported that 

  • Having one fewer child can reduce emissions by a whopping 58.7 tonnes of carbon per year, thanks to a reduction in emissions that an extra human generates over their lifetime)
  • Living without a car reduces emissions by a considerable 2.4 tonnes per year
  • Avoiding air travel will reduce emissions by 1.6 tonnes per flight across the Atlantic
  • Eating a plant-based diet is one of the harder adjustments to make, but can reduce emissions by 0.8 tonnes per year when compared to a diet that happens to include meat

If you’re looking to make some positive changes, consider the following steps. They will get you on the path to carbon footprint reduction in no time.

Use paper or glass for food storage

To further reduce your reliance on plastic, swap plastic bags and plastic wrap for parchment paper when storing bread, sandwiches, and other food staples. Pack your lunch in a paper bag, and store your dry goods in paper or glass, too. For fruits and vegetables, try wrapping lettuce in a dish towel or storing grapes in a glass jar instead of the plastic wrappers from the grocery store.

Repair or upgrade your air conditioner when necessary

Air conditioning can make summer much more comfortable for you and your family. Taking time to schedule a tune up will ensure that your unit is functioning at its best and give you peace of mind all summer long. 

If it has been a few years and your unit is struggling to keep you cool, don’t let your AC break down this summer — instead, find the right HVAC repair and replacement company to advise you about the latest energy efficient units, which is always an investment that will give you substantial savings in the long term.

Use cloth shopping bags

Plastic bags are often the default choice at the grocery store. Yet, all that plastic adds up, and most people fail to recycle those bags. 

Eventually, the plastic ends up in the ocean, harming fish and other wildlife. Switching to a reusable cloth bag greatly reduces the amount of plastic in your life, and it often lets you shop more quickly while also looking stylish in the process. If your store charges for plastic bags, you can even save money on your shopping bill.

Try to carpool whenever possible

Where mass transit isn’t feasible, carpooling can help reduce carbon emissions. Try to incorporate this in your family by taking the kids to school together in one car as much as possible, and also aim to coordinate after-school activities into as few trips as you can. 

If you and your spouse work reasonably close to each other, consider going to work together in one car and dropping off your spouse. To make this easier, you can alternate weekdays to determine who is driving. This will cut your carbon footprint from commuting in half.