10 Steps To Minimizing Your Carbon Footprint
Acknowledging a problem is where the solving process has to begin. In our last blog, Sustainability Director, Garry Knox discussed the Climate Change Report issued by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel. Clearly, the alarming concerns addressed by this report will require action on a large scale, but that does not negate the positive impact every small action has toward finding a solution. Don’t let the “what difference can I make?” perception deter you from making a cognizant effort in minimizing your carbon footprint. You alone, and we together can make a real difference.
We’re not here to tell you we have the answer to climate change. What we have done, though, is compile a list of some easy-to-implement lifestyle changes that can ensure you’re doing your part to contribute to a better ecosystem for future generations.
Let’s start with the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind. Recycling is probably the easiest way we can minimize our carbon footprint. Most municipalities make it super easy to recycle nowadays. A quick Google search (recycling in *insert city*) can lead you to the specifics for your local facility.
9. Reduce Water and Energy Usage
It’s much easier said than done, but by simply being conscious of our habits throughout our day-to-day routines, we can slowly start to make changes that help us achieve our goal. There are countless small things we can do that add up, like taking shorter showers, not running the water while brushing your teeth or shaving, turning off lights when you’re not in a room, shutting down computers and other electronics, and buying energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs—just to name a few.
8. Eliminate Plastic
Plastic is everywhere—we get it. When we’re in public spaces, sometimes it’s out of our control. But at work and home, it’s definitely achievable. A lot of the plastic we use daily can be replaced with reusable products, like water bottles, food storage containers, grocery bags, straws, etc. Even when we’re shopping, there are usually options (sometimes they cost a bit more) packaged in paper or cardboard instead of plastic. We’ve noticed a lot of companies using bamboo as a replacement for plastic as well. Again, we understand it’s not happening overnight, but incremental changes will have you plastic-free in no time at all!
7. Go Digital
A digital lifestyle admittedly is harder for some than others. In this day and age, however, if we make the effort, it turns out to be pretty easy. Bills can be paid online, documents can be shared and edited through a variety of applications, most stores allow you to choose to receive your receipts digitally—we honestly can’t come up with a situation where paper is absolutely necessary. Can you?
6. Ditch the Car (When Possible)
Obviously, if you have a 30-minute commute to work in a car, biking or walking isn’t an option. Is carpooling a possibility? Is there a public transit route that will get you there in a reasonable amount of time? Maybe not, but if there is, consider it. Even if it’s not possible in your daily commute to work, when you’re attending an event, having dinner with your family, or meeting friends out for a drink, think about walking, biking, carpooling, or taking the bus. Again, simply being cognizant of these options at all times will help us all make better choices for the environment.
5. Meatless Mondays
“Woah, Woah, Woah. Now they’ve gone too far!” Hear us out. We’re headquartered in Kansas City, considered by many to be the champion of BBQ, so cutting meat out of our diet isn’t taken lightly. But what if we just do it one day out of the week? The climate impact of meat, specifically industrial factory farms, is enormous—roughly equivalent to all the driving and flying of every car, truck, and plane in the world. So cutting out our meat consumption one day out of the week can have a massive impact on minimizing our carbon footprint. And to take it a step further, try purchasing locally sourced meat and produce; it tastes better too!
4. Smart Home Renovations
The new craze of the last decade seems to be flipping houses. How many more home improvement shows can they come up with? We have a feeling we will find out. But if you’re buying a new home and flipping it, or maybe you’re just tackling one small project at a time as you form your house into your dream home, think sustainably. There is an endless list of smart tech that can increase your home efficiency, not to mention products like eco-friendly insulation and solar panels, which are surprisingly affordable with city rebates. Any home project you’re working on, big or small, always keep in mind, “How can we make this more sustainable?”
3. Ethical Purchasing Decisions
Whether we’re talking about food, clothes, or personal care products, these days there is always an option that has the environment in mind. Of course, sometimes this takes a little due diligence on our part to confirm its legitimacy. There is no short supply of products claiming to be “green” for one reason or another when in fact many aspects of their business are not. But some simple things we can do is shop from local suppliers as often as possible. Check out antique shops and vintage clothing stores–the stuff is usually super cool too. And pass on fast fashion. Buy clothing that is quality and long-lasting or even made out of repurposed fabrics! These garments might cost a little more, but you’ll get your mileage out of them and then some.
2. Support Sustainable Causes
Plastic Soup Foundation, Water.org, tentree, 4Ocean, Natural Resources Defense Council, Greenpeace, Rainforest Alliance, WildlifeDirect—just pick one. We couldn’t list them all if we tried. There are countless wonderful charity organizations out there doing great things to lower our impact on the environment and oceans and leave a better planet for our children. If you’ve got a budget, you can allocate to charity; this is literally the easiest thing you can do to contribute.
1. Visit Your Local GreenEarth Cleaner
Last but definitely not least, trust your local GreenEarth cleaner with all of your garment and textile care needs. Whether it’s wash and fold laundry, wedding gown cleaning, work attire, leather, fur, or household items—they do it all. Each cleaner using the GreenEarth Cleaning System has made the conscious decision and investment to provide a clean that is safe for their customers, their customers’ clothes, and the planet. The pure liquid silicone is environmentally non-toxic; it degrades into the ground as sand, water, and CO2. The closed-loop dry cleaning system ensures no microplastics are entering water streams and eventually our world’s oceans. Since it doesn’t use water, you’re reducing your water usage as well. And GreenEarth is the most gentle process on clothes, so your favorite garments will look newer longer, allowing you to look your best and feel good about your decisions. To top it off, GreenEarth cleaners are simply the best in the business. Find your new favorite dry cleaner on our Store Locator.
By: Aaron Newport