5 Tips for Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in 2017

Sabrina Lopez
December 20, 2016
4 min read

With the new year right around the corner, you might be considering ways to impact our increasingly troubled world positively. While there are many ways to improve your community, such as donating to a local charity or volunteering, some simple behavioral changes can also have a dramatic impact. One of the most obvious is finding ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

In our modern society, the average American produces nearly 45,000 lbs. of carbon yearly. That’s equivalent to the emissions from an average passenger car when driven more than 1 million miles! A person’s CO2 footprint predominates from personal energy use, commuting, travel, and importing food and other resources. We have become dependent on the immediacy of our modern lifestyle, which makes it easy to get what you want when you want it… even when that product is out of season. Who's putting pineapples on their holiday ham this year?

While you might not be willing to give up all the conveniences of our modern American life (really, VERY few people are), there are some simple things that you can do to reduce the amount of carbon you produce. Moreover, some simple suggestions help you avoid everyday life's hustle and bustle and embrace a more relaxing existence. So, what can you do?

1. Start a garden in your backyard – Starting a garden is one of the most therapeutic activities you can enjoy with your family. It provides a time and place to create something with your own hands that will feed your family year-round. Plus, growing your food helps you eat healthier while offsetting the time and gas you would otherwise use for multiple trips to the grocery store. If you don’t have a yard, you can join a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. CSA members receive in-season produce from local farmers delivered directly to their homes or dropped at a local pick-up location. Sometimes, the selection includes vegetables you’ve never tried, but that is part of the fun - you get to try something new!

2. Repurpose things you might usually throw out – Did you know that Americans represent only 5% of the world’s population but generate nearly 30% of the world’s garbage? Furthermore, only 2% of that waste is recycled. If you already recycle, that’s a great start, but repurposing waste in artistic ways is another helpful method for reducing your carbon footprint. Turning garbage into art is a huge pop-culture phenomenon. From turning old wine bottles into light fixtures to turning your favorite old shirt into your new favorite pillow, there are plenty of fun, custom projects that you can take on!

3. Ditch the store-bought plastic water bottles – Americans throw away over 35 BILLION water bottles each year. In fact, enough plastic enters our landfills each year to circle the world four times! Adding to that, the average price of a bottle of water is $1.25, but it is only filled with $0.04 of water. Opting for a reusable water bottle makes environmental AND financial sense! You can even take it to the next level by investing in a water filtration pitcher. You’ll get better tasting and prevent tons of plastic waste over your lifetime.

4. Grab a ride with a friend If you are like me, you spend much time commuting. Factor in the certainty of rising gas prices, and it’s no wonder commuters are looking for better ways to get places! Carpooling is an excellent way to reduce both travel time and the cost of gas. If carpooling isn't an option, you can also purchase an alternative fuel vehicle. Hybrids can reduce fuel costs by almost half, while an electric vehicle (EV) can reduce fuel use to zero! If you have a solar energy system, you can charge your EV with solar power and drive in the sunshine!

5. Shop Local and help your friendly local business – Shopping locally keeps your dollars in your local community and reduces your carbon footprint. By reducing the amount of products shipped in from out of state (or even out of the country), we ensure a healthier environment while bolstering local economies. Furthermore, a small business has a reputation to maintain. They cannot afford to sell the low-quality, disposable products typically found at large-box stores. Products purchased from small businesses are more likely to stand the test of time. To encourage shopping locally this holiday season, Local First Arizona has organized the Buy Local Month Campaign to create more awareness for Arizona-based businesses. Buy Local Month runs until January 1, 2017, highlighting local small businesses and their respective holiday promotions.

To learn more about Local First Arizona and the efforts they are making to promote local businesses, visit www.localfirstaz.comor take advantage of one of our 'Buy Local Month' promotions and request a complimentary evaluation with one of our solar experts today!