27 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Cool Effect
Cool Effect
Published in
8 min readOct 18, 2022


This November, COP27 will be convening in Egypt and governments from all over the world, along with as many as 30,000 participants, will be attending to figure out a global climate policy. It can be hard to conceive of an initiative this big, and it can be even harder to wrap your head around an issue as globally impactful as climate change.

The UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) brought together 120 world leaders and over 40,000 registered participants, including 22,274 party delegates, 14.124 observers and 3.886 media representatives — including Team Cool Effect, of course.

But don’t let the size of the problem paralyze you into inaction. After all, climate change is ultimately caused by the accumulation of individual actions that put greenhouse gasses into the Earth’s atmosphere — and that means that there are also individual actions that can lower our emissions. In honor of COP27, here are 27 ways you can take action to reduce your carbon footprint right now.

Household changes

1. Change your lightbulbs

A 2017 study predicts that If 90% of people replaced their incandescent lightbulbs with LED light bulbs, 7.8 gigatons of carbon emissions could be avoided.

2. Reach out to your power company about green energy

Close to 50% of all energy providers give their customers the option to purchase renewable electricity directly from their power supplier — and even if they don’t, every single American has the option to purchase renewable energy certificates. Cleaner energy in your home is essentially a phone call away, so call your utilities provider today to see what’s available!

3. Eat less meat

One of the biggest individual consumer impacts on climate change comes from eating meat-heavy diets. A study from 2021 predicted that if all Americans cut back their meat consumption by just 25%, that alone would translate to global greenhouse gas emissions falling by 1% — or more than 360 million tonnes of carbon dioxide taken out of the atmosphere.

Want to reduce your carbon footprint? It’s easy —don’t have a cow.

4. Plan meals to reduce food waste

Americans throw away 60 million tonnes of food each year, which amounts to around roughly $165 billion in wasted food. Small actions like better meal planning, shifting to a more veggie-focused diet, and making sure to compost anything remaining can have a big impact on the planet’s carbon consumption.

5. Compost

The EPA recommends that Americans compost their food waste in order to create material which farmers can use for growing crops instead of chemical fertilizers. On the other hand, food that isn’t composted can generate methane, a greenhouse gas with 30 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.

6. Avoid single use plastic

We all know that single use plastic is terrible for the planet, but the emissions associated with their production (300 million tonnes a year!) is a major carbon emissions culprit. Combined with the knowledge that 91% of plastic isn’t recycled, and that for every square mile of ocean, there are about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it, should be all the motivation you need to switch to more sustainable options as much as possible.

7. Use less paper

From phone bills to bank statements, there are ways to ensure that pretty much every document you use in your life today is digital-only. Fewer paper documents means fewer trees that need to be cut down!

8. Be mindful of water usage

One great way to use less water at home is to take shorter showers. Another great way is switching your home to low-flow taps and shower heads. Research has indicated that if all Americans make this change by 2050, it could reduce CO₂ emissions by 4.6 gigatons, all thanks to the fact that you’re reducing energy consumption for heating wasted water.

9. Plant a garden (if you have the space)

It’s not just trees that suck carbon dioxide out of the earth’s atmosphere — garden plants can too! The roots of the plants in gardens also have important environmental benefits: they help keep the soil from being washed away in the rain and provide water and nutrients for the soil.

Put your green thumb to the test — and do some good for the planet!

10. Re-use when possible

There are probably lots of items around your house that you can reuse: shopping bags, water bottles, utensils, mason jars, soap dispensers, and more. Items can also be re-purposed in surprising ways: wine bottles can be used as candle holders, plastic bottles can be used for food storage, old clothes can become cleaning rags, and so on. You can also find reusable versions of many everyday items — for example, Stasher sells silicon bags for holding food, which can be reused much more easily than most plastic sandwich bags.

11. Conserve energy

One of the best ways for an individual to improve their carbon footprint is to get smart about how they use energy around the house. You can start by turning off lights and fans when not in use. Then, you can start investing in more energy efficient windows and temperature controls. Best of all, this step will cut your energy bill as well.


12. Drive less

If your lifestyle involves you driving from place to place everyday, start to think about how you can change that. Look into where you travel each week, and see if you can incorporate walking, biking, or public transportation into those trips. Even if you live in the suburbs, there are still ways you can drive less, such as by driving part of the way to work and then taking the bus to your office. Working from home part of the week can also cut down on the amount you drive.

13. Fly non-stop, if possible

Everyone knows that flying is carbon-intensive, but what you might not realize is that in short flights, take-off, taxing, and landing take up a solid chunk of the fuel burned. So if you need to take a flight, plan ahead to book a direct flight, instead of getting a flight with a stopover that will result in more greenhouse gas emissions.

14. Pack lightly

It may surprise you, but packing lightly for a flight can reduce your carbon footprint. It’s simple when you think about it: if you bring less stuff on a plane, the plane will be lighter, and thus require less fuel to get to its destination.

To reduce the impact of your air travel, choose coach, try to fly non-stop, and travel lightly.

15. Opt for airlines that utilize biofuel

Something else you should look out for when flying is airlines that fuel their plaines with biofuel. Biofuels are essentially fuels that have been made using organic material from renewable resources, like ethanol, which is made from plant starch. United Airlines, Jet Blue, and Virgin Atlantic are some of the biggest airlines with biofuels planes.

16. Fly in coach class when possible

A first-class seat on a plane may be comfy, but the carbon footprint from a first-class seat can be as much as 4.3 times larger than the footprint from flying coach. Once again, you can help the environment and save money in one go.

17. Consider an electric car

According to the EPA, lifetime greenhouse gas emissions for electric cars are about half of those from gasoline-powered cars. So if you do need to drive a car, buying electric is your best bet.

18. Walk or bike when possible

But you don’t always need to drive! More and more American cities are becoming bike friendly, so now is the perfect opportunity to start biking more. Next time you go to the gym, why not walk or bike there instead of driving?

Consumer Decisions

19. Consolidate shipping/deliveries

If you order large amounts of product to be delivered to your business, Amazon, USPS, and many other package delivery services will allow you to plan for your orders to be consolidated so they are shipped in completely-filled trucks to make deliveries less carbon intensive.

20. Purchase clothes made of long lasting material

Fast fashion is one of the most environmentally wasteful categories of consumer products. While fast fashion items may be inexpensive, they usually don’t last very long, creating huge landfills. Instead, try buying more expensive but longer-lasting clothes made of material that is made to be worn for years, like wool or linen.

21. Purchase only what you need, to reduce waste

Americans generate almost three hundred million tons in waste every year. That’s about one small car of garbage per person per year. Think about how much a car weighs, and then think to yourself: is there any way you could cut down on how much you throw away? The best way to avoid waste is to buy less — so when shopping, be scrupulous about buying only what you need.

22. Shop from sustainably minded brands

In the worlds of fashion, food, and consumer products, many smaller businesses have built their brands on selling sustainable products. They may not have as big a profile as multinational corporations, however, so you may have to dedicate time to researching them — but the reward of finding a cool and environmentally friendly new brand will be worth it!

23. Shop local whenever you can

Another thing to think about when reducing your carbon footprint while shopping is the carbon footprint of the supply chain — basically, it takes a lot of carbon to transport a pair of pants from Indonesia or blueberries from Peru. Looking for locally produced and sold products can cut down on these kinds of emissions.

24. Support businesses that have clear sustainability plans

More and more businesses are adopting sustainability pledges to reduce their greenhouse emissions. As a responsible shopper, you should take time to investigate these plans, identify which ones will have the most impact, and direct your dollars towards those businesses.

In the Community

25. Vote

Ultimately, politicians can do a lot more to help the environment than individual citizens. So before election day rolls around, be sure to identify which candidates have the best platform for reducing carbon emissions.

26. Contact local and state representatives to push for more green goals

But democracy doesn’t end at the voting booth. Politicians often make their decisions based on citizen activism — and if they get repeated calls and emails from voters supporting green legislation, they’ll be incentivized to pass it. Local and state politicians are powerful but get much less attention from the public than politicians in DC, so it’s worth your time to focus on them.

No one can go totally carbon free, so we say, “Do your best — then offset the rest.” Cool Effect’s wide range of quality carbon projects mean that you can make a positive impact for the planet while also making a positive impact on communities where these projects are based.

27. Offset what you can’t reduce with the help of Cool Effect’s high quality carbon projects

Of course, nobody can cut their emissions to zero. So once you’ve reduced your carbon footprint through the 26 tips above, you can go to cooleffect.org and calculate how much it would cost to offset your remaining emissions. Do your best — then offset the rest. When you purchase carbon credits from Cool Effect’s verified and impactful projects from around the world, you can do everything from protecting peatlands in Asia to installing environmentally friendly stoves in Honduras, all while doing good for both the planet and its people.



Cool Effect
Cool Effect

We’ve reduced over 3 million tonnes of carbon emissions. And we’re just getting started.