50 Tips To Cut Down Your Carbon Footprint

Lowering your environmental impact can seem like a daunting task. That’s why the GlobalGiving team compiled 50 of the best ways to lower your carbon footprint! Pick your favorites, and let’s go green together.


Around the House

1. Do your laundry less.

Save time sorting out your whites! One load of laundry uses approximately 40 gallons of water, so make sure you have a nice full load to help your clean tees stay “green.”

2. When doing laundry, make sure to use cold water.

Doing two loads of laundry weekly in cold water instead of hot or warm water can save up to 500 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

3. Line-dry your clothes.

Skipping the dryer can reduce the carbon footprint of your clothing by as much as 33%!

4. When shopping for appliances, consider energy-efficient options.

You can do this by looking for Energy Star-certified products. This won’t just help lower your carbon emissions, but it should lower your energy bill, too.

5. Try turning down your water heater.

Water heating makes up to 25% of energy consumption in the average US household. Plus, by turning your water heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the typical 140, you could save up to 10% each year on water heating costs.

6. Taking shorter showers can go a long way.

Additionally, try installing a low-flow showerhead to reduce hot water use throughout the year!

7. Properly insulate your home.

A well-insulated home reduces the amount of cool or warm air that can escape, and it also reduces the amount of energy needed to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

8. Unplug, unplug, unplug.

Even if your appliances are powered off, they still consume energy as long as they’re plugged in. This “vampire power” costs more than $19 billion in the US alone.

9. Switch to LED lightbulbs.

This can save up to 90% of your energy costs!

10. Invest in rechargeable batteries.

If you find yourself constantly needing to switch the batteries in your devices, it might be time to make the switch to rechargeables. Though they are pricier than disposables, they make less environmental waste when properly recycled.

11. Give up hand washing your dishes.

If you have a dishwasher, it’s time to let it do its job. Though it may be tempting to give your dishes a rinse before tossing them in the dishwasher, it’s actually more environmentally friendly to just scrape off any excess food, make sure the dishwasher is full before each use, and run it on the economy setting.

12. Limit your use of palm oil.

Palm oil contributes to deforestation and, consequently, the habitat loss of several endangered species, like the pygmy elephant.

13. Plant a garden.

No backyard? No problem! Balcony gardens are a great solution for urbanites looking to up their curb appeal while lowering their environmental impact.

14. If it’s in your budget, try investing in renewable energy for your home.

Though pricey to install, investing in a renewable energy source like solar panels can eliminate the same amount of carbon emissions as burning more than 5,000 pounds of coal each year.

15. Fix those leaky faucets.

You might save more water than you think!

16. Stop your junk mail.

You’ll cut down on paper waste and stress!

17. Switch to a “green bank.”

This way, your money will be invested in clean energy.

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18. Coordinate your errands.

Doing all your errands in one day will help you cut back on unnecessary trips throughout the week. After all, the less you drive, the more you reduce your carbon footprint!

19. Walk or bike when possible.

Headed to the grocery store? If it’s not too far, consider hopping on your bike or walking instead. You’ll cut carbon emissions and reduce your footprint from not traveling as much!

20. Fly less.

CO2 emissions from aviation dropped by 60% during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Although air travel is beginning to pick up, consider going by train or car whenever possible.

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Going Shopping

21. Avoid fast fashion.

$5 tees may be tempting, but these cheap clothes contribute to more than 15 million tons of textile waste produced each year. These companies also tend to engage in exploitative labor practices. Not sure if a brand is sustainable? The Good On You app has more than 2,000 ratings of ethical brands.

22. Bring a reusable bag to the grocery store.

One plastic bag takes 500 years—or more―to decompose in the landfill.

23. Consume less.

Opt for quality rather than quantity to cut down your carbon footprint.

24. Avoid buying products with excessive packaging.

Buying in bulk can also help you cut out plastic!

25. Check out carbon-conscious companies.

When buying gas and electricity, consider companies that are working to switch to clean energy.

26. Rethink your TP.

Buy plastic-free toilet paper rolls.

27. Switch up your shower supplies.

Use shampoo and conditioner bars to reduce packaging.

28. Keep your greens…green!

You know those plastic produce bags at the grocery store? You don’t actually need them! You can forgo the bags altogether, purchase reusable ones, or even repurpose an old pillowcase.

29. Brush with bamboo.

It takes nearly 400 years for a plastic toothbrush to decompose. Try switching to a biodegradable alternative.

30. Make the switch from single-use to sustainable.

Lots of single-use items, like feminine hygiene products and diapers, have reusable alternatives.

31. Get thrifty!

Instead of always getting the latest fashion, try visiting your local thrift store, joining a “Buy Nothing” group, or repairing old clothes, shoes, and accessories.

32. Be a conscientious consumer.

Buying from companies that support a low-carbon future can reduce the environmental impact of your shopping habits in the long run.

33. Use natural cleaning products.

Most cleaning products come in disposable bottles, and some chemicals can be harmful to you and the environment. Switching to eco-friendly alternatives is a wonderful way to go green while you clean!

34. Make a statement with your purchases.

More and more, businesses are starting to make the switch to renewable energy. As a consumer, you can show your support by only buying from companies taking serious action to reduce their environmental impact.

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Food + Drink

35. Clean up your caffeine.

Reduce your paper waste by using biodegradable coffee filters and tea bags.

36. If your tap water is safe to drink, don’t buy bottled water.

Minimize your carbon footprint with a reusable water bottle!

37. Eat less dairy.

I know, who doesn’t love ice cream? But an Oxford University study shows that reducing your dairy intake is one of the greatest ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.

38. Avoid using disposable straws.

Get a reusable one instead!

39. Ditch plastic cutlery and paper plates.

Consider reusable or compostable tableware instead to reduce your carbon footprint and the amount of plastic in landfills.

40. Plant your own herbs or vegetables.

Reduce the distance your food is shipped by growing it at home!

41. Eat less meat.

Animal agriculture represents approximately 18% of carbon emissions worldwide. That’s more than every single car, bus, train, boat, and airplane on the planet—combined.

42. Eat seasonal, local foods when possible.

Buying locally grown produce whenever possible drastically reduces the emissions caused by freight shipping. Plus, it’s a great way to support your community’s economy!

43. Compost your food waste.

Food scraps and yard waste make up around 30% of what we put in the trash. Composting can help reduce the amount of garbage you’re sending to the landfill and help you grow a healthier garden!

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44. Join a library.

You can borrow books, DVDs, and CDs at your local library and reduce your carbon footprint by not purchasing new copies.

45. Disconnect your entertainment system!

One of the greatest sources of wasted energy is your entertainment system. Unplugging your devices before you leave the house, or better yet, after every use, will save lots of energy.

46. Rethink your vacation.

Take up activities like yoga and meditation for an escape no matter where you are. They are not only great for mental health, but they’re also low-impact ways to make us more mindful of our environment.

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Get Involved

47. Get informed!

One key step in becoming an effective climate champion is understanding your own impact. We love this handy carbon footprint calculator from Nature Conservancy and this Plastic Calculator from Carbon Footprint.

48. Make your voice heard.

Share your passion for climate action with your friends, coworkers, family members, and local government. Here are a few of our favorite tips on inspiring Climate Action.

49. Volunteer with an environmental organization.

Check out our nonprofit partners working for a greener earth—there may be one in your city!

50. Donate to climate champions!

The communities most affected by our climate crisis are also home to the most innovative solutions. That’s why we created the Climate Action Fund—to provide critical resources for local leaders at the forefront of climate action.

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Featured Photo: Reconnect the Atlantic Forest with 20.000 Trees by WeForest

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