Easy Tips for Going Green and Reducing Your Carbon Footprint!

By: Toni Cunningham | April 16, 2013

I like to think I’m fairly eco-conscious at all times, not just around Earth Day (April 22) when most people might feel guilted into it. I’m no sustainability saint, but I turn off lights and water when I’m not using them, drink out of a re-usable thermos and unplug my phone charger when it’s not in use. (Impressive, I know, I’ll take my Goldman Prize at any time, thankyouverymuch).

“Going green” really isn’t as difficult as some of us make it out to be (unless you’re a U of M fan, ew), and you can do your part to reduce your carbon footprint with some very simple lifestyle adjustments. There’s no need to shell out major bucks and start plastering your dwelling in solar panels. Remember the ‘ol mantra you learned back in, oh, kindergarten? Just keep the following in mind, and you’ll be living greener in no time:

  1. Reduce your intake of everything, you glutton! Just kidding. But really, would it kill you to invest in a reusable shopping bag for groceries? Not only will it lessen your plastic usage, but you’ll also no longer run the risk of said plastic bag ripping open, only to have $10 worth of canned fruit plummet to the pavement. Also, take the two seconds it requires to turn off lights and water and all that jazz.

  2. Reuse your wrapping paper. Instead of ripping open that gift like the Tasmanian devil, be careful not to tear the paper so you can re-wrap grandma’s birthday present using that exact same paper. Gotcha! Really, don’t do that, it’s weird. However, you could try repurposing things into art projects, a la Pinterest. That’s obviously what the site was made for, junky art projects and wedding inspiration, right?

  3. Recycle anything and everything that is recyclable, duh. If you can remember to set your DVR to record the Kardashians every week, surely you can remember to recycle a post-it note instead of chucking it into the trash. Start a compost pile in your garden, sort your plastics in the garage, and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. You did it!

While we can’t all be Jessica Alba and live “The Honest Life” existing solely on natural products and eating dirt, these are all minimal efforts that the average Joe can easily implement. It’s a step in the right direction, okay, Al Gore?