50 Tips to Cut Down Your Carbon Footprint

Lowering your environmental impact can seem like a daunting task. That’s why, for Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, the GlobalGiving team compiled 50 of the best tips for lowering 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 making sure that you have a nice full load will 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 U.S. 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.

Because a well-insulated home reduces the amount of cool or warm air that can escape your home, 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 take in energy as long as they’re plugged in. This “vampire power” costs more than $19 billion in the U.S. 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 more pricy than disposables, they boast 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. Lay off the palm oil.

Palm oil contributes to deforestation and, consequentially, 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, like solar panels, for your home.

Though pricy to install, investing in a renewable energy source like solar panels can eliminate an amount of carbon emissions similar to 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.

Support climate champions around the world and we’ll match your donation of up to $500 by 50%!


18. If your job allows, work from home one day each week.

You’ll cut carbon emissions and reduce your footprint from not traveling as much!

19. Lower your commuter impact.

Carpool or take public transit for your daily commute. And, if possible, walking or taking a bike is even better!

20. Fly less.

Air travel emits significant carbon emissions. For longer distances, go by train or car whenever possible.

Support climate champions around the world and we’ll match your donation of up to $500 by 50%!

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.

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.

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. Re-think 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 all-together, 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 as well as the environment. Switching to eco-friendly alternatives is a wonderful way to go green while you clean!

34. Buy from companies that are working to reduce their carbon footprint.

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.

Support climate champions around the world, and we’ll match your donation of up to $500 by 50%!

Food + Drink

35. Make your caffeine go green.

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 resuable 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 straws.

Get a reusable one instead!

39. Ditch disposable cutlery and paper plates.

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

40. Take your own mug or reusable coffee cup to the coffee shop!

6.5 million trees are cut down each year to make paper coffee cups. You can help get that number down by bringing your own resuable cup and by encouraging friends to do the same.

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 even help you grow a healthier garden!

Support climate champions around the world, and we’ll match your donation of up to $500 by 50%!


44. Join a library.

You can borrow books, DVDs, CDs, and more at your local library and reduce your carbon footprint from not purchasing your own.

45. Conserve energy when staying in a hotel—even though it won’t reduce your bill!

When you’re out on the town, don’t forget to switch the lights and A/C off. You can also save water by asking staff to wash your towels every other day.

46. Rethink your vacation.

Everybody needs R&R from time to time. Next time you need a break, consider a stay-cation! You can get creative with it. And if you decide you want to travel further than the front door, try visiting somewhere that values climate conservation, like Namibia or Costa Rica!

Support climate champions around the world, and we’ll match your donation of up to $500 by 50%!

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.

Help create a greener world by donating to nonprofits participating in the GlobalGiving Climate Action Campaign. When you do, we’ll match your donation up to $500 by 50%!


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

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