While it’s impossible to completely offset your impact on the environment, there are many steps you can take to make a difference. It’s important to remember that planting trees is a great way to offset the emissions you’re unable to cancel out, * but making some small changes to your lifestyle can have a vast impact on the environment.
*to calculate your number and offset your emissions, click here.
Replace your light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (those funny-looking swirls) that fit into standard sockets may cost four times as much as conventional bulbs, but they use one-quarter the electricity and last several years longer.
Be more efficient with your laundry. Wash your clothes in warm water instead of hot and try to launder a few large loads instead of many smaller ones. Over its lifetime, the average t-shirt can send up to 9 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. Being more efficient with your wash will help curb this problem.
Buy used clothes. Buying a new shirt from your favorite department store means consuming all the energy used in producing and shipping it. Swap some clothes with friends or visit your local secondhand clothing store and make your wardrobe more environmentally friendly.
Eliminate your paper trail. Pay your bills online instead of by mail. Use the internet to send birthday cards or holiday greetings. You’ll not only reduce fuel consumption by the trucks and planes that transport your mail, but you will also avoid unnecessary carbon emitting car trips to the bank and post office.
Shut down your computer. Three quarters of all the electricity used at home is standby power used to keep your computer, television, and other electronics running. Shutting down your computer each night, could reduce the machine's annual carbon emissions by as much as 83%.
Ride the bus. Public transportation saves an estimated 1.4 billion gallons of gas each year -- that’s 14 million tons of carbon. Thirty percent of U.S. carbon emissions are attributed to motor vehicles. Commuting with others is one of the most effective ways to reduce your emissions.
Carpool. And when you’re filling up your car, handle the pump with care and avoid topping off. Spilled fuel evaporates and causes air pollution. In addition, buy gas during cooler times in the day or during evening hours when there is less evaporation.
Give your engine a tune-up. Replacing a clogged air filter can boost the efficiency of your vehicle by 10%. Keeping tires properly inflated can improve gas mileage more than 3%. Doing these simple things means you’ll be emitting 200 fewer pounds of carbon into the atmosphere each year.
• Adjust the thermostat a couple of degrees higher in the summer and a couple of degrees lower in the winter.
• Caulk and weatherstrip all your doors and windows. Insulate your walls and ceilings.
• Use the dishwasher only when it's full.
• Wrap your water heater in an insulated blanket.
• Install low-flow showerheads.
• Unplug your cell phone charger after your cell phone has charged.