8 Ways To Reduce Your Ecological Footprint
As we know, it’s crucial for everyone to take steps toward adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Although many industries have made progress, much more needs to be done before we live on Earth in a truly sustainable manner. Fortunately, anyone can find countless ways to reduce environmental impact and conserve natural resources.
There are many important reasons to decrease your ecological footprint. It's vital to lessen human impact on the environment because pollution affects the safety of our air, food and water. When you reduce your impact, it also helps to counteract the effects of climate change.
How do humans impact the environment?
Sadly, people continue to severely pollute the air and water. Tons of plastic waste still finds its way into oceans each year. Many coal power stations have ceased operating and the rate of deforestation has slowed. Nevertheless, other types of power plants persist in causing significant environmental damage. The world still loses nearly 25 million acres of forested land in an average year.
Recent ecological disasters have harmed the environment in more sudden and dramatic ways. The well-known Keystone XL pipeline ruptured and leaked a huge amount of oil estimated at nearly 400,000 gallons. In early 2022, an oil tanker spilled roughly 250,000 gallons in the coastal waters of Peru. This happened when the tanker was hit by massive waves after a volcanic eruption.
What is your ecological footprint?
While no one person has the ability to prevent all of this environmental harm, everyone contributes to it. You can evaluate your personal ecological footprint by looking at how much energy and supplies you consume. It's also important to examine the effects of producing and transporting the things you use. This can become complicated; for example, some equipment consumes less energy but is more environmentally harmful to manufacture.
Various "footprint" and "environmental impact" calculators are available for free online. These calculators will estimate your ecological footprint and compare it to that of the average American. This process could help you find ways to improve, but it's not an essential part of decreasing your impact.
8 Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Footprint
Limiting your environmental impact is often easier than you might think. Some people associate it with time-consuming chores or expensive things like solar panels and electric cars.
The truth is that many eco-friendly changes actually cost less or make life more enjoyable. They can also benefit your health.
1. Avoid disposables
Try to buy fewer single-use plastic and paper products. Things like plastic cutlery, disposable shopping bags and bottled water significantly contribute to the human impact on the environment. For instance, you could carry your lunch in reusable containers instead of using new plastic or paper bags each day. Remember to decline plastic straws when you eat at restaurants.
Sometimes it's difficult to do without certain disposables. For example, you might want to host a party without washing huge amounts of dishes and utensils. In this situation, try to choose comparatively simple products with biodegradable materials. Look for uncoated paper plates; manufacturers coat some single-use plates with plastic.
2. Refrigerator upkeep
Another way to reduce environmental impact is to maintain your refrigerator so that it doesn't waste power. If it has exposed condenser coils, remember to clean them. Dust and cobwebs on these coils will reduce the appliance's efficiency. Check the seals on the door as well. Repair or replace them if they leak cold air.
How you use this equipment also matters. Allow leftovers to cool down before you put them in your refrigerator. To ensure safety, leave them out for less than two hours (60 minutes in hot weather). Set a timer so that you won't forget and waste the food. An inexpensive cooling rack can help expedite this process.
3. Eat more sustainably
Prioritize foods that cause less environmental harm, such as vegetables, fruit and grains. Try to buy goods produced locally or at least in the same region. Organic food has a smaller ecological impact because it's grown without harmful chemicals. These products can be expensive, but some only cost slightly more. You could also use organic methods in your garden.
Regardless of what you eat, it's crucial to avoid waste. Almost one-tenth of the world's pollution comes from producing food that no one eats. Plan ahead, check your cupboards and make a shopping list based on what you actually need. Avoid buying more perishable items than you can eat within three to six days.
4. Shop thoughtfully
Think carefully about other purchases as well. Avoiding unnecessary shopping is an important part of learning how to reduce our ecological footprint. Maybe you can find ways to accomplish things without buying new tools or the latest smartphone. Consider renting equipment if you only use it occasionally. When you truly need to own something, choose a brand that genuinely prioritizes sustainability and uses recycled materials.
At Rothy’s, we prioritize sustainability at all levels of production and manufacturing. Reducing your ecological footprint is all about taking small daily steps to help the environment- we’re just firm believers that we can take those “small steps” in stylish footwear. Rothy’s washable shoes are all created from single-use, marine bound plastic. Shopping at Rothy’s is one more way you can help reduce plastic waste in our oceans, and bonus: you get a style staple that’s as versatile as it is durable.
One simple way to reduce consumption is to forgo chewing gum. This product doesn't only use an inordinate amount of packaging materials. The gum itself often contains plastic. You won't see it mentioned on the wrapper; plastic is usually hidden in an ingredient called "gum base."
5. Heating and cooling
Unfortunately, keeping homes at a comfortable temperature is a major part of our carbon footprint. There are several ways to lessen the impact, such as cleaning or replacing air filters when necessary. Always remember to turn equipment off or adjust thermostats before you walk out the door. If you have a fireplace, only open the damper when there's a fire (or residual smoke).
During the summer months, strive to produce less heat so that you won't need to use as much energy for cooling. Try to prepare meals without high-heat appliances like the stovetop or oven. Avoid using machines to dry laundry or dishes. They would probably dry thoroughly on a rack (unless the weather is very humid).
Rugs and carpets can help keep your house warm in the winter. However, make sure you don't cover HVAC registers with rugs or other furnishings. If your equipment has ducts, seal any ductwork that leaks hot or cool air into places where it isn't needed. Remove or cover window air conditioners during winter.
6. Window efficiency
Try to use natural light instead of electric lighting. To save energy, cover the glass if it's hot outside and the sun is shining on your home. Keep all windows shut whenever you run a central air conditioner.
Cool your home at night by putting fans in the windows rather than using air conditioning. This works well except on particularly warm or humid nights. Be sure to seal air leaks around window frames, and consider adding storm windows or upgrading to double-paned glass.
7. Eco-friendly travel
One of the best ways to reduce ecological footprint is to avoid using high-impact vehicles, such as cars, airplanes and motorized boats. Ground-based mass transit systems like trains and buses produce much fewer emissions. Try to walk, ride a bicycle or use carpooling for shorter trips.
When these options aren't realistic, it's best to drive a small car and only use its air conditioner when necessary. Compact vehicles save money on fuel and make parking easier in addition to reducing your environmental impact. A different way to conserve energy is to work at home if possible.
8. Greener laundry
When you use a washing machine, choose the cold setting. Warm or hot water usually isn't needed to clean clothing adequately. Using cold water doesn't just save energy; it often helps clothes last longer. You'll reduce waste, cut emissions and be able to keep wearing your favorite shirt for years to come.
Another way to decrease the ecological footprint of your water heater involves adjusting a setting. Many units are set too high; 120 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal temperature. If your water heater has a tank, you can also save energy by insulating the exterior to prevent heat from escaping.
Why companies should do their part
Individuals play a vital role but can't save the environment on their own. Business leaders must also learn how to reduce ecological footprint and treat sustainability as a crucial goal (not just a slogan or afterthought). The public relies on companies to develop and offer viable eco-friendly solutions that truly make a difference.
You can maximize your positive impact by selecting brands thoughtfully. Look for companies that uphold the same environmental goals you support. For example, Rothy's has embraced recycling and sustainable manufacturing from the start. We use thread produced from recycled plastic to create our eco-friendly and vegan shoes as well as bio-based fashion materials and renewable energy.
Our recycling program makes it possible for worn-out shoes to become useful again. Rothy's successfully recycled more than 20,000 pairs last year. Our staff continues to find new ways to reuse materials and make our factory even more efficient. Living sustainably is a huge goal to achieve, but we can accomplish it if everyone does their part.