recycling carbon footprint

Everything You Need to Know About Recycling and Carbon Footprint

How many pounds of greenhouse gas do you contribute to the atmosphere each day? How much can you mitigate your carbon footprint by recycling? It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day hustle and bustle and forget about the emissions you are creating.

Being thoughtful about your behavior can help you lower your impact. Evaluate your typical activities and how they contribute to your carbon footprint. You can make small changes to decrease the damaging gases you and your family create. 

There are many habits you can start to get into to save energy and reduce your burden.From slightly altering your home environment to getting into a recycling and waste management routine, you can do your part. Here’s what you need to know to discover your carbon footprint and work towards lowering it.

What is Carbon Footprint?

Your carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases that your everyday activities produce. The main component of these damaging gases is carbon dioxide or CO2. It also includes methane, nitrous oxides, and other gases that cause harm to the atmosphere. 

These gases get their name because they function the same way a greenhouse does to provide a warm environment for plants. When these gases are released, they let sunlight in but trap the heat within the Earth’s atmosphere. There is a delicate balance in the amount of ideal greenhouse gases. The right amount can keep the planet from being too cool, but too much can result in catastrophic effects. 

A significant majority of scientists agree that the amount of gases being released has been increasing far too rapidly. They have concluded that climate change exists and is largely caused by human activity that releases greenhouse gases. Scientists have also warned the public of the effects this change could cause. 

The melting of glaciers and the rise in sea levels can be attributed to the warming atmosphere. These scientists also predict an increase in extreme weather patterns like droughts, heatwaves, and more forceful storms. The change in climate is also affecting wildlife by altering their habitats and their way of life. Unpredictable weather also hinders plant growth, making agriculture difficult.

How to Calculate Your Footprint

A carbon footprint can be measured by your individual contribution. It can also be calculated for your family or household. The gases released by a company or that of an entire state or nation can also be estimated.

Several of your behaviors are factored into calculating your footprint. Your driving habits are a major component in measuring the greenhouse gases you release. The way you heat your home and power your appliances are also a factor. Another contribution to your footprint is the way you dispose of waste. 

An online carbon footprint calculator is a good way to measure your footprint. It can give you a pretty accurate estimate of how many pounds of carbon dioxide your typical habits release into the atmosphere. You can also discover some small changes you can make to your behaviors to reduce your footprint.

Offsetting Your Carbon Footprint

renewable energy carbon footprint offset

It doesn’t take a complete overhaul of your lifestyle to reduce the amount of gas your everyday activities release. You can implement little tweaks in small steps to work towards offsetting your carbon footprint. Reducing the amount of energy you use will lower your emissions and even save you some cash. 

Transportation is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Take steps to lower your impact. Carpooling or taking public transportation can be convenient options. Have a good maintenance routine for your vehicle to reduce its emissions. When shopping for a new car, look for eco-friendly options like hybrid and electric models. 

You can make your home more energy-efficient and reduce your family’s impact. Shop for appliances that have high ENERGY STAR ratings. Turn your furnace and hot water heater down a few degrees to save in heating. Remember to turn off lights and TVs when you leave a room to preserve electricity. 

Your purchase habits can influence your contribution. Lower your carbon footprint by shopping local at farmer’s markets to minimize the distance your food travels. Opt for more fruits and vegetables over meat, where the production causes more emissions. Look to support green businesses that run on renewable resources and take steps to offset their footprint.

Recycling to Reduce Emissions

Recycling is a simple step you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. The trash in landfills leads to a lot of emissions. Plus, recycling reduces the amount of new materials that need to be manufactured.

Many landfills burn trash to save space, resulting in the release of greenhouse gases. Even the trash simply decomposing emits methane into the atmosphere. The gas produced by landfills causes smog and poor air quality. 

Every time a new can or bottle needs to be produced, a factory must use energy, usually in the form of fossil fuels. Recycling old materials minimizes the emissions that this causes. You can also look to purchase products made from recycled materials to make a more significant impact.   

Set yourself up for recycling success. Educate friends and family on what should be recycled. Purchase designated bins and place them in convenient locations in your home. If your service require sorting by material, color-coded bins can be extremely helpful. Get in the habit of bringing your recyclables home when a bin isn’t accessible.

Items that Can Be Recycled

It’s important to be aware of what items can be recycled. These rules vary by area and service. However, there are some basic rules you can follow.

Paper is one of the most commonly recycled materials. Everything from magazines to cereal boxes is typically easily processed. Items made from recycled paper are also widely available for purchase.

Most plastic containers don’t decompose quickly, or at all, so recycling them is a great option. Each is marked with an identifying number in a triangle. Find out the guidelines for your specific recycling program. Make sure plastic is rinsed clean before throwing it in the bin.

Glass is also widely approved for recycling. Most forms of glass, in any color, are able to be processed. Ask your service if you need to sort your glass by color, but it’s typically accepted all combined together.

Work to minimize the number of items that end up in your trash bin. Even tough to recycle items like electronics and batteries can be processed by specialized services. You can start a composting routine to eliminate throwing much of your food waste into the garbage.

Final thoughts

Climate change is something that will impact the entire population of the planet. Working together to reduce the collective impact is the only way to stop it. Imagine the effects of these small changes being implemented worldwide. 

You can contribute by being mindful of your transportation choices and purchasing decisions. Recycling can reduce waste and help to eliminate the pollution caused by landfills. You’ll feel great knowing that you are working to help the environment. Plus, future generations will thank you for your efforts.

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