What Does Reduce Really Mean?
To reduce is to use less. Products that you buy -- clothes, electronics, toys, personal care items, etc. -- use materials such as plastics, cotton, metal and other synthetic or natural materials, some of which are not easily recyclable. Also, fossil fuels are used in the production of the products that you buy. The fewer products you use the fewer materials and fossil fuels that are used. Reducing is the best way to conserve and be earth-friendly, although it is not the easiest because it takes some sacrifice on your part.
Try the following techniques to decrease your fossil fuel usage:
Purchase Fewer Items
Before you buy something, ask yourself, "Do I really need this?" If the answer is "no," don't buy it.
Purchase Items that Use Less Packaging
Shop smart by purchasing items in earth-friendly packaging. Look for products that use minimal packaging, and when possible, choose products that are packaged in recycled materials. Another way is to buy bulk items. For example, less packaging is used in one large bag of potato chips, versus single serving bags of chips.
Use Items Sparingly
The longer you make things last, the less often you have to buy them.
Lower Your Carbon Footprint
Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide (C02), or greenhouse gas, you release into the environment through your daily activities. Natural gas, electricity and transportation are some things that contribute to your carbon footprint.
By making simple lifestyle changes, you can make a difference. Examples are:
- Purchase energy-efficient appliances.
- Turn lights, appliances and electronics off when they are not in use.
- Configure your computer to power saving mode.
- Line-dry your laundry instead of using a clothes dryer.
- Participate in a carpool, take the bus, ride a bicycle or walk instead of driving.
- Throw on an extra blanket at night instead of using the heater.
- Use less paper. Jot down notes on your computer, instead of paper. Send emails, instead of letters, to friends and family. Sign up for paperless bills and statements with your bank, utility providers and credit card companies.
- Purchase locally grown produce. Non-locally grown produce travels in long distances in vehicles that produce greenhouse gases.