This is Day 5, of a series of blogs on #31daysofreducingwaste. Today I am posting ideas from the New York Times on ways to reduce carbon waste.
To me these ideas seem easy, and I hope you can find something new you can do to reduce carbon waste and pollution.
Below is from the New York Times
What You Can Do About Climate Change
By JOSH KATZ and JENNIFER DANIEL DEC. 2, 2015
Simple Guidelines for Thinking About Carbon Emissions
Global climate: it’s complicated. Any long-term solution will require profound changes in how we generate energy. At the same time, there are everyday things that you can do to reduce your personal contribution to a warming planet. Here are some simple guidelines on how your choices today affect the climate tomorrow, and reduce carbon waste
1.You’re better off eating vegetables from Argentina than red meat from a local farm.
Eating local is lovely, but most carbon emissions involving food don’t come from transportation — they come from production, and the production of red meat and dairy is incredibly carbon-intensive.
Emissions from red-meat production come from methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Experts disagree about how methane emissions should be counted in the planet’s emissions tally, but nearly everyone agrees that raising cattle and sheep causes warming that is an order of magnitude more than that from raising alternate protein sources like fish and chicken (the latter of which have the added benefit of creating eggs).
According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon, a typical household that replaces 30 percent of its calories from red meat and dairy with a combination of chicken, fish and eggs will save more carbon than a household that ate entirely local food for a full year.
Yes, eating nothing but locally grown fruits and vegetables would reduce your carbon footprint the most. But for people not ready to make that leap, reducing how much meat you eat matters more than going local.
2.Take the bus.
To give ourselves a good shot at avoiding severe effects such as widespread flooding of coastal cities or collapse of the food supply, scientists have determined there’s only so much carbon dioxide we can safely emit. Divvying up this global carbon fund among the world’s population (and making some assumptions about future emissions) gives you the average amount each person can burn per year over a lifetime — an annual “carbon budget.”
The current per capita emissions for Americans is about 10 times this limit, and given the relative affluence of this country, our emissions will not get down to the average anytime soon. But they can still fall from where they are. Consider this: If you drive to work alone every day, your commuting alone eats up more than your entire carbon budget for the year. Taking the bus — or biking! — would sharply reduce your output.
3.Eat everything in your refrigerator.
Scientists have estimated that up to 40 percent of American food is wasted — which amounts to almost 1,400 calories per person every day. Food waste occupies a significant chunk of our landfills, adding methane to the atmosphere as it decomposes. Even more important, wasted food adds to the amount of food that needs to be produced, which is already a big part of our carbon load.
How can you waste less? For food shopping, plan out meals ahead of time, use a shopping list and avoid impulse buys. At home, freeze food before it spoils. If you find yourself routinely throwing prepared food away, reduce portion sizes.
4.Flying is bad, but driving can be worse.
Remember that annual carbon budget we talked about? One round-trip flight between New York and Los Angeles, and it’s all gone. Fliers can reduce their footprint somewhat by traveling in economy class. First-class seats take up more room, which means more flights for the same number of people. On average, a first-class seat is two and a half times more detrimental to the environment than coach.
But as bad as flying can be, driving can be even worse. A cross-country road trip creates more carbon emissions than a plane seat. And while a hybrid or electric car will save on gas mileage, most electricity in the United States still comes from fossil fuels.
If you really want to mind your carbon emissions, taking a train or a bus is best, especially for shorter trips. Or try that Internet thing: A Skype call or Google Hangout produces very little carbon dioxide.
5.Replace your gas guzzler if you want, but don’t buy a second car.
Before you even start driving that new car to add to your first one, you’ve already burned up three and a half times your annual carbon budget. How? By encouraging the manufacturing of all of those raw materials and metals.
Yet there’s a break-even point at which the carbon savings from driving a new, more efficient car exceeds the carbon cost required to produce it. For example, on average, trading in a 15-mile-per-gallon S.U.V. for a 35-m.p.g. sedan offsets the extra manufacturing costs within two years.
Anything you do to improve mileage will reduce your carbon output. Keeping to the speed limit and driving defensively can improve your mileage by more than 30 percent, according to the Department of Energy. Even something as simple as keeping your tires inflated and having your engine tuned up can give you up to a 7 percent bump in m.p.g. — and an average carbon savings of about what you’d save from eating only local foods all year.
6.Buy less stuff, waste less stuff.
It’s not just car manufacturing that adds to carbon emissions. Other consumer goods can have a huge impact: Making that new MacBook Pro burns the same amount of carbon as driving 1,300 miles from Denver to Cupertino, Calif., to pick it up in person.
At the other end of the product life cycle, reducing waste helps. Each thing you recycle is one fewer thing that has to be produced, and reduces the amount of material that ends up in landfills. But the recycling process consumes energy as well, so — depending on the material — it may not be as helpful as you might think. Recycling a magazine every day for an entire year saves less carbon than is emitted from four days of running your refrigerator.
It’s better not to consume the raw materials in the first place, so you may want to think carefully about whether you’re really going to use something before you buy it.
Below is my post on reducing carbon