How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: Five Quick Tips to Green Living

If you're concerned about climate change and want to change to more green living, but don't have money to waste, use these low-cost green living tips.

Make every day Earth Day.

Green living is certainly one of the hottest trends these days, but beyond the hype -- and without spending a lot of money on green innovations -- what can you do to reduce your carbon footprint? You'll find five easy and inexpensive tips to help the environment -- and you can decide just how green you want to go.

Before getting to the green living tips, let's review the concept of your carbon footprint. Every day, by the foods we eat, the way we get to and from work and/or the errands we run, how we heat or cool our homes, and the appliances and electronic devices we use, we are consuming energy that causes gas emissions that are adversely affecting our climate changes.

Your carbon footprint relates to the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases you cause through your daily living activities. By cutting back on certain activities, you reduce the amount of gases released into the Earth's atmosphere, thus reducing your carbon footprint.

1. Commute differently. If you drive your car to work -- especially if you drive it by yourself -- you can make a dramatic difference in your carbon footprint by just changing your commuting habits at least one day a week. Consider mass transportation, ride-sharing, bicycling, or walking to get to work. You might also see if you can work from home and telecommute to work. If you can walk or bike to work, you'll get the added benefit of not only reducing your carbon footprint, but improving your health and fitness. Simply by changing your commuting one day a week -- more is even better if you can -- you can reduce your carbon footprint by as much as 20 percent.

2. Lower your energy consumption. You can easily reduce your energy consumption by turning off unnecessary lights, electronic devices, and appliances; lowering the temperature on your hot water heater; and reducing your heating in the winter while lowering your air conditioning in the summer. These small gestures can make a big impact on reducing your carbon footprint while also saving you money by dropping your monthly energy bill. Of course, there are also many other things you can do to reduce your energy consumption in your home -- but these cost money (though you may be able to get some of it back in tax credits). See the end of the article for more details.

3. Improve your 3 R's -- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Start by reducing all the "stuff" you feel you need in your life. By simplifying, you'll not only reduce the waste and clutter, but feel better about it. Reducing future purchases (buying on need rather than want) can reduce your carbon footprint. Next, reuse as many products as possible, repurposing materials as needed, as well as purchasing used items at garage sales and thrift shops. Reusing goods can greatly reduce your carbon footprint, as no energy is used to harvest raw materials and/or manufacture the finished product. Finally, participate in your community's recycling program. If yours does not have one, help start one! Recycle as much stuff as you can -- and switch purchases to products made from recycled materials. Consider composting all your organic food scraps. Finally, bring reusable bags with you when shopping and avoid having your purchases put into plastic bags.

4. Consume more locally grown foods. Purchasing food from a local farm or farmer's market provides you with the double benefits of reducing your carbon footprint while purchasing fresher fruits and vegetables. (Sometimes as fresh as the day it was harvested.) Because locally grown products do not need to be shipped as great distance as the foods in your local supermarket or Wal-Mart, your purchases reduce the amount of emissions that otherwise would be used to ship the products to other markets. When possible, walk or ride your bike to the farmer's market, for additional reduction of your carbon footprint and increased health and fitness.

5. Buy bulk sizes rather than individual servings. There's no question about the massive amount of waste from single-serving containers -- wraps, bottles, boxes, and the like. Producing and using all that packaging takes a great deal of raw materials and energy. You can reduce your carbon footprint -- and the waste that needs to go to the landfill -- by buying products you use often in bulk. Buying bulk will also save you money, as bulk items are typically cheaper than smaller sizes. For perishable items, buy in bulk and reuse plastic containers for freezing or refrigerating the unused portions.

Final Thoughts on Living Green

All the tips in this article involve behaviors you can easily change with little or not impact on your budget. Thus, you even if you are not completely sold on the idea of global climate change and the impact from greenhouse gases caused by our gluttonous and selfish behaviors, you can make these changes, helping the environment at no additional cost to you. There's also the added benefits of obtaining more exercise (if you walk or bike to work) and eating a healthier diet (by consuming locally grown foods and produce).

The average American produces more than 4 pounds of garbage a day -- all of which goes to ever-overflowing landfills. We waste about 15-25 percent of our monthly energy consumption through inefficient appliances and electronic devices that continue to require electricity even when turned off.

Here are a few other tips to reduce your carbon footprint. The difference is these tips involve making an investment in decreasing your waste and energy consumption, thus reducing your carbon footprint, and living a more green lifestyle.

  • Replace old incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs.

  • Change out your furnace and air conditioning filters regularly, as dirty filters make your unit run much more inefficiently.

  • Switch out old and inefficient appliances with Energy Star models.

  • Purchase a solar-powered or other hybrid-energy water heater.

  • Reduce the amount of water you use by replacing old faucets in sinks and tubs, and changing out shower heads.

  • Improve/replace weather-stripping, insulation, and caulking around windows and doors. (Possibly even replace old windows with more energy-efficient ones.)

  • Buy a bicycle and ride it to work and on errands.

  • Trade in your old gas-guzzling vehicle for a hybrid or other energy-efficient car or truck.

Dr. Randall Hansen is an advocate, educator, mentor, ethicist, and thought-leader... helping the world heal from past trauma. He is founder and CEO of, a network of empowering and transformative Websites, including

He is the author of the groundbreaking Triumph Over Trauma: Psychedelic Medicines are Helping People Heal Their Trauma, Change Their Lives, and Grow Their Spirituality and the well-received HEAL! Wholeistic Practices to Help Clear Your Trauma, Heal Yourself, and Live Your Best Life.

Dr. Hansen's focus and advocacy center around true healing ... healing that results in being able to live an authentic life filled with peace, joy, love. Learn more by visiting his personal Website, You can also check out Dr. Randall Hansen on LinkedIn.