Carbon Footprints

A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that come from the production, use, and end-of-life of a product or service. It includes carbon dioxide — the gas most commonly emitted by humans.

Usually, the bulk of an individual’s carbon footprint will come from transportation, housing and food. 

There are simple choices you can make in your day-to-day life to lessen your personal impact on the environment.


How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint - A Year of Living Better Guides

Your Carbon Footprint

In order to calculate your carbon footprint, you will need to know the following:

  • Approximately how many miles you travel by car, bus, train and plane.
  • The energy usage in your home.
  • How much you spend shopping. 
  • The composition of your diet. 



Carbon Footprint: Transportation

One of the easiest and most effective ways to begin reducing your carbon footprint is to reconsider how much, and how often, you travel.

  • Drive Less: take the train, catch the bus, ride a bike, or walk where you need to go.
  • When You Drive: have your car serviced regularly, check your tires, cut down on air conditioning and city driving, or carpool to work.
  • Fly Less: just taking one less round-trip flight could shrink your footprint significantly.


Carbon Footprint: Food & Diet
  • Cut down on red meat. It’s better for the environment! The production of red meat uses a lot of feed, water and land. Cows even give off harmful methane emissions!
  • A vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian diet is likely to be best for the environment.
  • Eat low down the food chain as often as you can.
  • Fill your plate with vegetables, fruits, grains and beans.
  • For meat-lovers, swap meats like beef and lamb with chicken or fish. Better yet, make a few meals vegan or vegetarian.


Carbon Footprint: Waste Less

The average American family wastes around 40% of the food they buy. 

These simple tips will help save money and help reduce your carbon footprint:

  • Take stock. Organize your fridge regularly. Make grocery lists before you go to the store.
  • Be wary of bulk. It may go bad before you can eat it all.
  • Plan. Don’t cook more food than you can eat.
  • Get creative. Reuse leftovers.
  • Freeze. Food lasts longer.
  • Doggie bag. Take home half of oversized restaurant servings.



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