10 easy ways to help save the planet

With the world facing a climate crisis, here are steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint.
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Every day should be a day in which we aspire to protect this planet, but the latest studies from the United Nations suggest we're not doing nearly enough quickly enough.

While reducing pollution in a way that would have a dramatic impact on cleaning up the world seems an insurmountable task to the individual, there are basic changes we can all make in the home that would cut down our own footprint.

Here are 10 tips from experts that can help gradually make a difference.

1. Use your car less

It's difficult given how crucial cars are to American life, but whenever possible – particularly in the summer – you should opt to walk, bike, use transit or carpool when heading out.

The EPA says leaving your car at home just two days a week can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by 1,590 pounds a year.

2. Save water at home

Americans waste millions of gallons of water every year, so look for ways to be more efficient with your water use.

Bring Me The News has this list of water-saving tips at home, including re-using cooking water, and choosing more water-efficient laundry cycles.

Related:

– Here are 10 ways you can save water

3. Start a mulch pile in your yard

Cities like Minneapolis have a food waste collection, but still an inordinate amount of food waste is sent to landfills. 

If you have space in your yard, start a compost pile from food waste and use it to fertilize your garden.

4. Skip a red meat meal

We know, red meat tastes great and we love a good burger, but red meat production is incredibly energy intensive compared to other forms of meat, like poultry.

Buzzfeed notes that having one fewer red meat meal a week can save water and energy. When you do buy beef, opt for pasture-fed, sustainably raised products.

5. Pick up trash

This isn't just about saving the world as it is improving your neighborhood. Nobody likes to see trash on the street, pick it up and dispose of it properly.

6. Bring your own bags to the store

Landfill plastic bags

American households use 100 billion plastic bags every year, 99 percent of which are never recycled, Real Simple notes.

Get reusable bags to bring to the grocery store, and in the event you do use plastic bags, bring them to a recycling drop off. You can find them at numerous grocery stores around the Twin Cities, a full list of which is here.

7. Cut down your mail

If you're getting paper bank and utility statements, sign up for online billing to cut down on paper waste.

You can also cut down on junk mail by signing up for sites like OptOutPrescreen, which stops you from getting unsolicited credit card offers, and Catalog Choice, which stops you from receiving unsolicited mail from retailers.

8. Use less electricity at home

This is just common sense and a money saver over the course of the year. If you're not in a room, turn off the lights – and replace the bulbs with CFL or LED lights.

This is obviously useless in the winter, but during the warm months you can save energy by drying your clothes outside.

Also if you're looking to upgrade your home computer, opt for a laptop over a desktop – they use about half the energy – and make sure you turn it off at night.

9. No more bottled water

This has led to the "Ban the Bottle" movement, such is the waste caused by bottled drinks around the world. American demand for bottled water uses 17 million tons of oil every year.

Buy a water filter for your home to improve the quality of your tap water, and then get a reusable water bottle/container you can bring with when you're out and about.

10. Recycle and reuse as much as you can

Americans only recycle 34 percent of all the waste they create, which is an improvement on 50 years ago except we now create a whole lot more than back then, Planet Aid notes.

Familiarize yourself with what can and can't be recycled by your municipal provider and if there are items they don't accept (eg. styrofoam) find alternative places that will take them.

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