New Thinking To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
The green-thinking consumer has already implemented a number of helpful changes. Fuel-efficient cars, better insulation in homes, and modernized appliances all play a part in cutting energy consumption for the eco-friendly individual today.
But many have their eyes on further reducing their share of pollution, so they are always looking for new ways to lower the emissions that they produce. But how far off the grid do they have to go? The good news is that they don't have to resort to a hermit's lifestyle to cut back on pollution. Even with the obvious choices already made, there are still some simple and sensible ways to improve.
If you can't produce your own power, you can at least use a provider that produces it in the way you prefer. It's a fairly simple process. In deregulated energy markets, consumers have energy options that will allow them to go with greener power producers. In those markets, you can research which utilities are available to you with the lowest pollution output. You make the switch and you're ready to go. The best part is that if a better provider comes along, or if your new choice fails to follow through, you can always switch again later. And at some point, you might even be able to install solar shingles on your home, which help generate power from the sun's rays and further reduce your carbon output.
Invest Your Efforts In Gardening
There are other areas in your home where you can also make some headway in reducing your carbon footprint. A garden is a great example. If you dislike the use of pesticides and the energy used in marketing produce by big stores, you can grow your own garden. But you don't have to stop there. Instead of buying chemical amendments for the soil, start your own compost pile. This will feed your garden, reduce your solid waste, and cut out fertilizer purchases.
Most consumers do at least some recycling. Water bottles, newspapers, and aluminum cans are widely reused. But you can go further than that. Think about the tires you just replaced on your car. How might you repurpose them? Heavy, weatherproof items like tires are great for securing covers on swimming pools or creating flower beds. Not only does the tire not go to the landfill, you also don't buy other things for those purposes.
You can do the same with packing materials like boxes and inflatable package pads. Designed for short-term use as a fragile item protector in transit to you, they can also be used for long-term storage of things like dishes or Christmas ornaments. Skip the store-bought bubble wrap. Save it for your own shipping needs to mail Aunt Norma’s birthday gift. And what kid doesn't love to use a large cardboard box to create a personalized play item or packaging to create a comfy teddy bear bed or pretend animal farm? All forms of re-usable packaging make excellent kids kraft material. Ask your local school if they need donations.
Items like empty milk jugs are terrific for a number of gardening purposes. You can cut the bottom out and place it over a growing seedling, creating a miniature greenhouse. Or fill them with sand or water to use as weights to hold down outdoor tarps. They also make great planters for indoor or outdoor seedlings. Jugs also make easy watering cans or make a soil scoop by keep the cap and cutting of the bottom so you can hold it by the convenient jug handle. Don’t forget to make some bird feeders too!
You can lead the way with family and friends by making use of some of these creative solutions.
Ashley Andrews is a San Diego-based freelance writer who blogs on a wide range of green living, business, health and technology topics.