Climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today, and reducing carbon emissions is a crucial part of the solution. Here are some tips for reducing your own carbon footprint and helping to combat climate change.
- Reduce the use of air conditioning or heaters. Using a fan instead of an air conditioner for four hours a day can reduce annual carbon emissions by 1,130 kg and save money.
- Remember to turn off lights and appliances and unplug them when not in use. The electricity consumption of home appliances in standby mode can reach 10%, which is equivalent to 100kg of CO2 per year.
- When driving, try to slow down to avoid unnecessary acceleration and deceleration. The more aggressive you drive, the more fuel you consume. For every liter of gasoline consumed by a gasoline vehicle, 2.7 kg of CO2 is emitted.
- Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Brushing with the faucet on for two minutes uses 10 liters of water and the power to handle the water supply and pump.
- Avoid flying. Airplanes are the most polluting form of transportation, with each passenger on a round-trip New York-London trip causing 986kg of CO2 emissions.
- Bringing your own containers when buying take-out and using your personalised reusable coffee cups can reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 3.5 kg per year.
- Recycle cartons and other containers. For every ton of cartons saved, you can reduce carbon emissions by four tons.
- Fill plastic bottles with water and put them in the refrigerator for use as ice packs; plastic bottles can also be used for planting. Each ton of plastic bottles recycled can reduce carbon emissions by 1.5 tons.
- Reuse wrapping paper. There are over 10 million households in US that use a lot of gift wrapping paper every year, which is equivalent to cutting down thousands of trees.
- Take the paper for recycling after using both sides of the paper. Every ton of paper produced is equivalent to cutting down 24 trees.
- Take used batteries to a nearby subway station for recycling - discarded batteries in landfills leak chemicals that contaminate soil and groundwater, leaving nearly 600 tons of water undrinkable.
- Swap unused household items with friends and family or donate them to charity. Sending a T-shirt for recycling can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 6 kilograms; recycling a mobile phone can reduce emissions by nearly 50 kilograms.
- Recycle old newspapers or read them online - for every ton of newspaper recycled, 2.5 tons of CO2 emissions are reduced.
Environmental Friendly Alternatives
- Replace cabs and private cars with public transport such as buses, minibuses and subways. Using public transportation can reduce more than 5 kg of carbon emissions.
- Replace your incandescent bulbs with longer-lasting fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs. Fluorescent and LED bulbs last 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs and consume nearly 80% less electricity. If you use six light bulbs for six hours a day, switching to a greener type of lamp can reduce your annual carbon emissions by 552 kg.
- Replace disposable containers with custom reusable coffee cups. Tetra Pak cartons are not recyclable and produce a lot of carbon dioxide during the manufacturing process.
- Shorter showers to save water and electricity. By taking a shower for five minutes less each day, you can reduce your annual carbon emissions by 8 kg.
- Dry your clothes outdoors instead of in the dryer. Each high-efficiency dryer consumes 1.8 kilowatt hours of electricity per hour, which is equivalent to leaving 45 light bulbs on for one hour.
By making small changes in our daily lives, we can all play a part in reducing carbon emissions and combatting climate change.