4 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Climate change presents major challenges to both us and our environment. However, there are simple things we can do to make a difference. Since 2014 the research group Project Drawdown has been compiling a list of the most effective ways to reduce our carbon footprint, and some are more effective than you’d think. Below are four things we can all to do to help, ranked from most effective to least, along with summaries from Project Drawdown about the impact they would have. For more information on these solutions and others check out Project Drawdown here.

#1 Reduce Food Waste

“A third of the food raised or prepared does not make it from farm or factory to fork. Producing uneaten food squanders a whole host of resources—seeds, water, energy, land, fertilizer, hours of labor, financial capital—and generates greenhouse gases at every stage—including methane when organic matter lands in the global rubbish bin. The food we waste is responsible for roughly 8 percent of global emissions.”

#2 Rooftop Solar Panels

“Our analysis assumes rooftop solar PV can grow from .4 percent of electricity generation globally to 7 percent by 2050. That growth can avoid 24.6 gigatons of emissions. We assume an implementation cost of $1,883 per kilowatt, dropping to $627 per kilowatt by 2050. Over three decades, the technology could save $3.4 trillion in home energy costs.”

#3 Electric Vehicles

“In 2014, 305,000 EVs were sold. If EV ownership rises to 16 percent of total passenger miles by 2050, 10.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide from fuel combustion could be avoided. Our analysis accounts for emissions from electricity generation and higher emissions of producing EVs compared to internal-combustion cars. We include slightly declining EV prices, expected due to declining battery costs.”

#4 Household Recycling

“Household and industrial recycling solutions were modeled together and include metals, plastic, glass, and other materials, such as rubber, textiles, and e-waste. With about 50 percent of recycled materials coming from households, if the average worldwide recycling rate increases to 65 percent of total recyclable waste, household recycling could avoid 2.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.”