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Tips to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Driving your car, heating your home, buying new clothes — all seemingly mundane activities. But even these can contribute to the emission of greenhouse gasses and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. Of course, making a  substantial impact in reducing our collective carbon footprint requires global cooperation but there are also certain actions that we can take to reduce our personal contribution to environmental damages and climate change. Often these actions can also be fun and healthy! Here are four day-to-day changes that you can adopt to lessen your personal carbon footprint.

1. Embrace a zero-waste lifestyle

The main principle behind a zero-waste lifestyle banks on five action steps: refuse, reduce, reuse, rot, and recycle.  One of the biggest hurdles in the fight against climate change is our behavior as consumers. We are bombarded with ads that urge us to buy and to collect. However, if we want to make headway in combating climate change, it may help to become more aware of our consumption habits. In a 2018 survey by Nielson, 48% of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment. In 2022, 60% of U.S. consumers said they have been making more environmentally friendly, sustainable, or ethical purchases since the start of the pandemic. This may look like saying no thank you to plastic products that crowd our landfills, buying only what is necessary, upcycling old items, and composting your scraps. A zero-waste lifestyle may require a little bit more creativity and planning, but it can be a significant way to to reduce your footprint and solid waste that ends up in our landfills.

2. Drive less & think local

It may come as a surprise to find out that the main source of greenhouse gasses in the United States comes from transportation. According to the US EPA, “the largest sources of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions include passenger cars, medium- and heavy-duty trucks, and light-duty trucks, including sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and minivans. These sources account for over half of the emissions from the transportation sector.” So how can you reduce your individual contribution to transportation related emissions? One way is to make your trips more climate-friendly. Commuting or riding your bike to and from your destination can help the environment and add movement into your day. If you’re one of the majority of Americans who own a car, then consider how you might drive more efficiently to reduce emissions. This means having your car regularly serviced, keeping your tires at the right pressure, turning off the air conditioner and rolling down the windows, etc. Next time you purchase a car, you may also want to consider the fuel economy for the environment and your bottom line.  Additionally, consider the transportation involved in the products you consume. For example, when you go to to Kroger to purchase groceries, your  transportation contribution doesn’t end when you step out of your vehicle. It takes lots of energy and resources to transport goods from the field to the store and includes a complex network of trains, planes, and trucks. So consider purchasing food from local farmers. Buying seasonal and locally-grown produce supports your local economy, means fewer emissions, and can even create opportunity for education and community. 

3. Reduce animal products consumption

There’s still ongoing debate about what is the best climate-friendly diet. Wherever you may stand in this discussion, the process of producing animal products is resource intensive and contributes to your individual carbon footprint. According to the EPA, over a quarter of the total GHG emissions from agriculture comes directly from methane emissions by livestock such as cattle. Instead, try to fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, and grains when you consider making a change for the environment. But you don’t have to do a complete 180 on your diet right away. Substituting carbon-intensive meats such as beef with chicken is a good place to start. Another option is to introduce one day a week where you eat plant based meals.

4. Don’t waste water

Although Earth is predominantly made of water, the majority of water on Earth has too much salt content for humans to consume safely. Water is essential and it is a limited resource we can all consider protecting.  Depending on where you live, water may be more or less widely available. Yet, even in the United States with relatively large water resources, we have been steadily draining our water supplies for years. The current state of the Colorado River is a prime example of what may be to come. For the first time, the US federal government declared a water shortage in the Colorado River. This makes water conservation an important step towards reducing your environmental footprint. Consider taking shorter showers, fixing dripping taps right away, and reusing grey water. Small changes such as these can go a long way in reducing unnecessary waste.


Climate change is a global problem that needs a large-scale solution. But making simple changes— like using less plastic, buying locally, eating fewer animal products, and conserving water— can reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Trayak has been helping leading brands of all sizes make data-driven sustainability decisions for over 10 years. If you would like to learn more about our tools and services please contact us.

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