Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: Stop Buying So Much Stuff!

The size of your carbon footprint is largely determined by the volume of products you consume. So, if you want to contribute to the fight against climate change, one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to shop less.

If you live in a metropolitan city, you probably consume a huge volume of resources. City dwellers are dependent upon consumer culture in ways that people living in agrarian environments are not. People living in cities generally do not produce their own food or make their own clothes. Moreover, they purchase convenience items almost without realizing it. Think about it – when you go grocery shopping, do you ever buy produce that has already been cut up and packaged? That packaging isn’t recyclable, and it generates a tremendous amount of waste. If you purchase meal kits from a delivery service, you receive small containers of single-serve ingredients and condiments, all of which end up in the trash and, most damagingly, in landfills.

Also, all of your consumer goods have undergone a frequently non-evident journey to get to your shopping bag and into your home. If you purchase an article of clothing, it might be made from fibers grown in Indonesia, produced in China, packaged in Vietnam, shipped to a fulfillment center in the U.S., and then transported to you. That single garment has hopped to numerous countries, requiring fossil fuels for air, sea, and land travel. And don’t forget the agricultural and industrial footprint generated from the different stages of manufacturing along the supply chain.

But how do you scale back on all the stuff?

You can start living a more environmentally friendly and minimalist life by taking a closer look at your consumption. The next time you buy groceries, go for unpackaged produce. You might have to clean and chop it yourself, but it’s a small price to pay for sparing the environment the waste. The next time you are tempted to buy new clothes, opt for second-hand clothes. (Hey – they’re new to you!) If you want to buy brand-new clothes, check the provenance before buying. Buying clothing that is grown, manufactured, and sold locally has a significantly lower environmental impact than contributing to the “fast fashion” industry.

Of course, adopting the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra can’t hurt, either!

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