Cutting Your Carbon Footprint is a Win-Win Situation

There’s no question that anything to do with protecting the environment is big these days. You may even be starting to get tired of the flood of urges to live a greener life and save the planet, but it’s a fact that it needs saving and every little bit counts. In fact, most of the things you can do to reduce your own carbon footprint are little things, but when done by millions of people they can have a huge effect. The best thing is that by getting greener you also save money.

Take light bulbs, for example. Changing them all to compact fluorescent light bulbs will cut your energy bill, saving you around $40 per bulb over their lifetime, and that lifetime is 20,000 hours, if used efficiently. In this case, efficient use means putting CFLs only in rooms where they will be switched on for longer than 15 minutes, as frequent switching reduces their lifespan. Talking of switching things on and off, take care to switch off anything that you’re not using at the moment and won’t use for awhile. Choose energy efficient appliances when you need to buy a new one (the Energy Star label is a good guide) and don’t go for the biggest model on offer — choose the size that will serve your needs and won’t make power go to waste. As for the old appliances, recycle, plain and simple. There are a sufficient number of outlets that would take in your old toaster to be recycled, or, if it’s still in working order, it could be donated to a charity and used again.

While we’re on the subject of recycling, here are some quite shocking figures. Information gathered by the UN, governments around the world and scientists show that by the year 2017 the amount of electronic waste in the world will reach 72 million tons. That’s the weight of 200 Empire State Buildings. Sounds scary’ doesn’t it? That’s all the mobile phones you chuck in a drawer after you get the new model, all the old desktops, laptops, fridges and irons, anything with a power cord or battery that you’re not using anymore. And, once again, recycling is easy, you can do it online — there are websites that would buy or take in your old electronics to be recycled. You see? It even pays off in real money to be greener.

Eggs closeupAnother little thing you can do with no effort at all is buy and cook only as much food as you can eat to reduce waste that produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, and burns fuel when it’s transported to the landfills where it will start producing the methane, poisoning the atmosphere. A whole 25% of the food that is cooked in the US every year ends up in the trash can, which also means that the money you’ve spent on it also gets thrown out. All you need to do is a little planning when you shop and a little more when you cook. Like all things green, there’s an added benefit — buying and cooking just the right amount will discourage you from stuffing yourself every now and again so that your favorite dish doesn’t go to waste and your favorite pants still fit!