To know how to reduce carbon footprints , we must first know what carbon footprint is. Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. A carbon footprint includes the measure of other greenhouse gas emissions as well, thus leaving an impact on global climate change .

Carbon emissions are the result of activities associated with fossil fuels combustions which areused to power cars, create electricity, heat homes, and manufacture goods. This sums up to nearly everything we do! But how much of carbon released depends on a number of factors. This means that you can either increase or decrease your carbon footprint with your everyday choices. Here are 7 simple and effective ways to reduce your carbon footprints.

1. Eating Local and Organic Produce
Whenever possible, have a taste of local and organic produce. Believe it or not, the food you buy has a carbon footprint. This is because it uses machinery and resources to harvest, package and transport it to where you bought it from.

By simply purchasing local produce, you can reduce your food’s carbon footprint because it is not being shipped from elsewhere. It’s equally important to eat organic produce, as no chemicals are used that could potentially harm the environment.

2. Eat Less Meat
Eating habits can affect carbon dioxide emissions as well. Meats have one of the highest carbon footprint, while fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts have much lower carbon footprints. Studies have shown that vegetarians save at least 3,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year compared to meat eaters. Adopting an all-vegetarian diet could cut your carbon footprint by half.

3. Drive Less
Traditionally, car produces a lot of exhaust that pollute the air. Therefore, try to use the public transport whenever possible. If you hate being stuck in a traffic jam, this is good news for you as well as the environment! Some even go the extra mile and decide to walk to completely avoid carbon emissions. The toxins emitted by cars are also harmful to human health, not just the environment.

4. Use Reusable Bags
Reusable grocery bags are a quick and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint . There are reusable cotton bags available that can be washed from time to time to keep them clean and ready for action. They also hold more, so you can carry the same amount of groceries in fewer bags.

The carbon footprint of plastic is about 6 kg CO2 per kg of plastic. Think about how many times you visit the grocery store in a month, how many plastics you accumulated, and whether or not you ever use the plastics again. Most of the time, these plastic bags are discarded after only a single use. The next time you head out to get your groceries, don’t forget your reusable bags!

5. Make the Switch to Energy Efficiency
Energy efficient light bulbs can last up to 15 times longer than a conventional light bulb, while using 20% less energy. These light bulbs are readily available almost anywhere as they cost less to operate and will save you money. Therefore, by switching a normal bulb to an energy saving bulb you could conserve energy and cut cost.

Another way of conserving energy is by using solar-powered energy. Solar energy, as the name suggests, uses energy from the Sun. Fossil fuels are non-renewable and will eventually run out. However, the Sun is a powerful energy source has now proved to be extremely beneficial not only for the environment but also financially.

6. Use Less Air-conditioning
Air conditioning systems use powerful greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which contributes to carbon footprints. These gases more potent than carbon dioxide, thus trapping more heat in the atmosphere. Air conditioners consume huge amounts of energy, and that’s adding to climate change. Air-conditioning in vehicles burns more fuel, making even more greenhouse gases.

7. Air Dry Your Clothes
Depending on how you do it, and how many loads you get through each week, laundry can contribute a surprising amount to your carbon footprint. The more heat an appliance needs, the more energy it takes. Washing and drying a load every two days creates around 440kg of CO2e each year. In a hot country such as Malaysia, it is totally possible to dry your clothes out in the Sun to reduce carbon footprints .

These changes are simple to make for anyone. They are easy to carry out and will instantly reduce a person’s carbon footprint. No matter how big or small, we all share the responsibility to do whatever we can in saving the environment. With everyone taking action and making choices, it will ultimately make a difference.