May 3, 2011

Pure Planet Racing: 60 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

In an ongoing series to try and educate myself as well as yourselves, I have put together this list of 60 simple ways to reduce your impact on the environment around you. This is one of the key initiatives for Pure Planet Racing and we hope you get a few from the list here. For me, I have printed these (yes, paper, but its recycled paper that we use in the office) and am going to put them on my fridge to remind me of a few every time I “penguin” in front of the fridge, wasting energy. Add some more in the comments section if you like. I always want to learn…

1. Replace the light bulbs in your home with long life CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs. These last up to 15 times longer than regular bulbs and use up 80% less electricity than regular bulbs. You could simply replace your regular bulbs as and when they burn out.

2. Use rechargeable batteries to reduce your carbon footprint by up to 1,000 pounds over the life of the batteries.

3. Buy locally produced goods and services. Goods and services that are produced locally eliminate thousands of pounds of carbon by reducing fossil fuel transportation demands.

4.Recycle your waste.

5. When you next buy a vehicle, study the emissions and make a smarter choice.

6. Make compost.

7. Filter your own water, rather than buying bottled water. Most tap water is safe to drink, and some bottled waters are flown in from the far corners of the earth and the production process of the bottles adds to greenhouse gas release.

8. Clean the lint filter in your dryer. This will reduce your energy used, saving the environment and your electric bill.

9. When you mow the lawn, leave the clippings spread across the grass. It decomposes and fertilizes the ground.

10. Use an electric mower they are more efficient than mowers that run on fuel.

11. Bring your own mug to your favourite coffee shop. This will reduce the usage of the paper cups, the energy used to produce them and save trees. Paper cups are usually not 100% recycled.

12. Whenever possible hang your washing out on the clothes line rather than using the dryer.

13. Only use your dryer, dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load, don’t do half loads. This reduces the number of loads and the electricity used.

14. Plant a tree this is one of the best things you can do. Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. They also shade your house in the summer, and will lower your air conditioning.

15. Buy in season produce. Out of season requires more energy to refrigerate, and more fuel to ship in from places where it is in season.

16. Try to use something other than black plastic garbage bags. The black bags can’t be recycled because of the black pigment they put in them to make them black. So if possible stick with white.

17. When replacing household appliances choose energy efficient appliances. You can check their Energy Star ratings for a quick reference. This may cost more upfront but will save you in the long run.

18. When you remodel or paint a room, buy the right amount of paint. This saves chemicals from entering the air that are caused to make the paint, energy to make the paint, and you money buying to much.

19. Reduce Excess Baggage and pack lighter when travelling. Planes flying with extra baggage use more fuel.

20. Whenever possible walk, cycle or use public transport to get around rather than driving in your car.

21. Read the newspaper online to save paper, trees, and carbon.

22. Eat one less serving of meat a week. Use a cheese free alternative each week. Cheese is an animal product and has the same carbon cost as meat.

23. Don’t leave your household electronic goods and appliances on standby they use a substantial amount of power even in standby mode. Invest in a power strip that you can plug them all into and switch off when you are not using them.

24. Use both sides of the page to print or copy.

25. Replace the exterior lights around your home and in your garden with solar-powered ones.

26. Use reusable bags for grocery shopping.

27. Rake leaves manually instead of firing up a leaf blower.

28. Plant an organic garden and grow your own vegetables even if its just a small patch or a windowsill planter.

29. Use a laptop rather than a desktop. Laptops use up to 80% less energy.

30. Use a microwave to heat and cook food, they are more efficient than regular ovens and hobs.

31. Buy secondhand household items and save the carbon cost of the production of new goods.

32. Adjust your water heater temperature downwards just a tad. When do you ever use it on full heat?

33. Insulate your water heater or water tank with an insulation blanket to save on heat loss.

34. Upgrade the insulation in your home.

35. Use passive solar heating to capture heat in your home by opening the curtains during the day and closing them at dusk. In summer you should close your curtains during the heat of the day. Besides carbon, you’ll save 25 to 75% on your heating and cooling bill.

36. Run ceiling fans instead of air conditioning. Avoid using air conditioning in your home and car whenever possible. If you live in a hot climates doing this could save more than a ton of CO2.

37. Use cold water to wash and rinse clothes.

38. Keep your car’s tires inflated to specification this will ensure that your car is more efficient

39. Switch off lights in rooms at home when leaving the room.

40. Take a shower instead of a bath (a shower uses approximately one fifth of the energy that a bath does).

41. Don’t boil a full kettle to make one cup of tea or coffee, only boil what you need.

42. Unplug your phone charger when not in use.

43. Use the top shelf of the oven as it is always the hottest so food cooks quicker.

44. Stop and open the dishwasher before the drying cycle and let the dishes dry naturally.

45. Take your holidays in your home country or travel by train instead of flying. Most South Africans have never experienced South Africa completely. Explore a little.

46. Replace your existing showerheads with low-flow showerheads.

47. Turn off the tap whilst brushing your teeth.

48. Donate or recycle your old clothing rather than throwing it away.

49. Switch on electric blankets no more than half an hour before you go to bed and switch off just before you get into bed.

50. Defrost your refrigerator once every year as this will ensure that it runs efficiently.

51. Check the seals on your refrigerator and oven regularly and replace them when necessary.

52. Don’t put hot or warm foods and drinks into your refrigerator.

53. When cooking put the lids on your pots and pans to reduce heat loss.

54. Create a wormery. This uses worms in a sealed, hygienic, and non-smelling unit to compost your waste, which can then be used to fertilise your garden.

55. Avoid using patio heaters, as these produce enormous amounts of CO2. Put a jumper on instead!

56. Avoid products with multiple layers of packaging.

57. Buy certified wood to ensure sustainable forest management.

58. Water your garden in the evening as this will save water.

59. Use recycled wood chips in your flower beds as they retain moisture resulting in less watering.

60. Take advantage of natural daylight as much as possible.

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