Recent news stated that the earth has between 2030 and 2052 before their are disastrous levels of global warming, unless you reduce your carbon footprint. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated the planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030. If our planet continues to get warmer, we will be at risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and as a result, food shortages. Since the late 1800’s, our planet has warmed itself up 1 degrees C. To avoid going any higher, it will require significant and immediate changes worldwide. Several countries have already begun making big changes. Now let’s take a look at how YOU can reduce your carbon footprint.
1. Eat Less Meat
Meat and climate change have a distinct connection. The meat industry accounts for almost 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Factory farms produce an estimated 500 million tons of manure each year, more than three times the sewage the entire U.S. produces. The manure enters our waterways by using it as fertilizer (manure is not treated in sewage plants like human waste). Manure is not used scarcely, and our land cannot absorb that much waste. The runoffs of manure are polluting both surface and groundwater! Furthermore, almost half of the water used in the U.S. is also used in raising animals for food. To produce 1 pound of beef, it takes 2,000 gallons of water. Producing plant-based foods takes less than 200 gallons per pound, a huge difference. The next time you think about having meat for your meal, pause for a moment and think about it.
2. Unplug Phone Chargers
Unplug your phone charger when it’s not in use. Many of us only charge our phones at night but leave the charger plugged in all day. Electricity is still being used when it’s plugged in, even though your phone is not being charged; this also goes for all appliances. Following this practice can save you on your electric bill.
3. Filter Your Own Water
Rather than buying packaged bottle water, consider filtering your own water to reduce your carbon footprint. Plastic bottles filled with water travel wide distances to reach their final destinations, such as grocery stores. You can purchase filtration water pitchers or install a reverse osmosis system under your sink.
4. Use a Carbon Footprint Calculator
As a company, measure your carbon footprint using the Cool Climate Network calculator. This tool provides an estimated amount of the Co2 you are using.
5. Participate in the UPS Carbon Neutral Program
UPS customers who participate in the program support emission reduction projects that help the impact on climate when they send out their shipments. UPS customers who participate in the program pay small incremental amounts when they ship to offset the impact on our climate. Other companies who participate in the Carbon Neutral Program include AVIS, Eden Springs, Microsoft, Scandinavian Airlines, and SKY.
6. Swap a Desktop Computer for a Laptop
Some of us have desktop computers as well as laptop computers. Laptops use 80 percent less power than desktop computers, so if you can use one over the other, use a laptop
Recycling can reduce your carbon footprint in many ways. You can set up recycling bins at home or work for paper, newspaper, magazine, books, drink cans, glass, printer cartridges, plastic, clothes, etc. Every time one of these gets recycled, it saves energy. There are also programs that allow you to ship recyclables to them for free and even earn points in exchange for various items.
8. Recycle Old Computers and Other Electronics
If you have an old computer around or even a cell phone, take them to be recycled. Rather than having sit around the house or office collecting dust, drop it off to get recycled. Places such as Best Buy and Staples offer recycling services.
9. Do Some Gardening
Planting a tree or other vegetation helps reduce your carbon footprint by filtering out harmful pollutants from our atmosphere. The vegetation will actually put more clean oxygen into our air. Leafy plants release the most amount of oxygen back into the air (about 5 milliliters per hour). A yard filled with leafy trees is a good thing! Indoors plants such as Heart-Leaf Philodendron, Peace Lily, or Bamboo Palm do a great job in improving your indoor air quality. In addition, the Areca Palm, Snake Plant, Money Plant, Gerber Daisey, and Chinese Evergreens are top ranked for the oxygen they put back into the air, whether it’s indoors or outdoors.
10. Use Rechargeable Batteries
Next time you need to buy batteries, opt for rechargeable batteries. This will help reduce your carbon footprint, especially in a company setting where batteries can be used in large quantities. Imagine the amount of batteries that get thrown in the trash each year. According to the EPA, Americans throw away more than three billion batteries per year, approximately 180,000 tons. If these batteries were placed end to end, they would circle the world at least six times. Only about 14,000 tons of rechargeable batteries are thrown away in the United States.
11. Use Hybrid/Electric Vehicles
If you are in the market for another vehicle, consider looking at a hybrid or electric vehicle. There are several manufacturers that offer these models in their lineup with very attractive lines. These vehicles run much cleaner than vehicles that run on gasoline.
12. Read Online
Rather than buying a printed newspaper or magazine, read your issues online. Printing costs are expensive and use a lot of energy to produce newspaper and magazines. Some of the largest online ebook/magazine stores include Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble Nook Books Store, and Kobo. So go and find a comfortable spot and start reading online!
13. Use a Ceiling Fan
Air conditioning units use a ton of electricity. Rather than cranking your air conditioning temperature down, why not turn your ceiling fan on high? You will be surprised by its ability to circulate and cool a room. This simple act will help save you money and help you reduce your carbon footprint.
14. Turning the Lights Out
This is a simple one: simply turn the lights off when you leave a room. Even if you think you will be returning to the room momentarily, that doesn’t always happen, or we simply forget. Remind others in your home to do the same. Come up with a catchy phrase as a reminder or say it in a different language (Turn out the lights=Apague as luzes-Portuguese).
15. Your Driving Cycle
Take the time to slow it down on the roads. Speeding and unnecessary acceleration can reduce your mileage up to 33 percent. Keeping your tires properly inflated can also help improve your gas mileage by up to 3 percent. Maintaining your car with regular services will also help keep it running efficiently.
16. Insulate Your Home
Reduce door and window drafts within your home by adding new caulk, insulation, and/or weather stripping. This will help maintain a constant temperature inside your home. For those who need a quicker solution, try closing your curtains to retain your heat or to keep the heat out. The thicker the curtain the better! You can also simply close-up unused rooms, especially those that are not conditioned. Keeping doors closed will prevent cold or hot air moving into the rest of the house.
17. Go Solar
There are many programs within each state that assist and incentivize home owners into using solar panels on the roof of their home . The upfront cost may be a bit more, but it pays off in the long run. Some states even have programs where you can eliminate your electric bill and earn money by selling your electricity back to the local grid.
18. Eat Locally-Produced Food
Eating food that is locally grown will help reduce your carbon footprint. It’s estimated that 13 percent of the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are a result of food that is transported throughout the nation. Some foods are in season during certain times of year, while others are not. A seasonal produce guide will help you determine what grows, and when it grows.
19. Using a Clothes Line
The history of the clothes line dates back to the 1830s in Australia . Using a clothes line may not be the most aesthetically pleasing thing in your yard, but it does significantly reduce your carbon footprint. A dryer uses five times more electricity than a washing machine. By using a clothes line either indoor or out, you can save 1/3 of its carbon footprint. Running a dryer for one hour is equivalent to 225 light bulbs. So maybe it’s time to by some clothes pins and put them to work.
20. Use Less Water
Did you know that 71 percent of our earth is covered in water but 97 percent of that is salt water and not suitable for drinking? Three percent of the earth’s water is fresh and 1 percent is available for drinking. To top it off, 2 percent of that fresh water is locked in ice caps and glaciers. We need to preserve and conserve our water as much as possible. You can help reduce your carbon footprint by:
- Turning off your water when you brush your teeth
- Turning off the water when washing your hands
- Fixing any leaky toilets, sinks, etc.
- Re-using your pasta cooking water, drinking water left-over from dinner, and give it to your plants or pet (if it’s clean)
- Taking shorter showers
- Investing in low-flow toilets, efficient shower heads, and water sense appliances
- Installing a rain barrel or bucket in your yard before it rains to collect water. Save the water to water your plants but be sure to monitor the water so that you don’t have a mosquito breeding ground. Covers are available for rain barrels or buckets to prevent this.
- Watering your outdoor plants in the morning or evening. They require less water since the temperature are cooler at this time of the day.
21. UV Curing
If you are in the manufacturing industry and use conventional ovens to dry your inks, coatings, or stains, switching to UV curing will help reduce you carbon footprint. UV curing is a process where ultraviolet light and visible light is used to initiate a photochemical reaction that creates a series of polymers. Manufacturers use UV curing equipment to cure UV curable coatings on their substrates. For example, hardwood flooring manufacturers apply a coating to their wood flooring planks. The plank is then placed on a conveyor and travels under an UV light for a second or two. During that time, the coating is dried completely, and the planks are placed into their boxes to be shipped out. No additional drying time is needed. Unlike conventional drying ovens, this green method of manufacturing is free of VOCs, very energy efficient, and saves manufactures money.
Miltec UV is a global leader and manufacturer of both arc and microwave ultraviolet curing systems. Miltec UV offers a wide range of quality UV parts, standard equipment, and custom UV systems. Our systems serve a broad diversity of industry-specific applications and market segments including, but not limited to: optical fiber, metal decorating, hardwood flooring, luxury vinyl flooring, and automotive products.
Now it’s time for you to make a change! Choose at least one way you can reduce your carbon footprint and act today. Then take a moment to forward this blog onto someone else and ask them to do the same. The power of change lays in all of our hands, we all can make a difference.
Written by: Ana Hetzel