Common Mistakes People Make When Trying To Reduce Their Carbon Footprint

With the climate crisis on the horizon, it’s more important than ever to be eco-friendly in your everyday life. But there are a few common mistakes people make when trying to reduce their carbon footprint.

From incorrectly recycling to wearing the wrong sunscreen, here are a few mistakes you don’t want to make when you’re trying to be more eco-friendly.

Eating processed and non-organic food

Many people equate eating organic, non-processed food as something that people do strictly for their health. And while it’s true that 76% of American organic consumers cite the health benefits as their main reason for purchasing organic food, that’s not the only reason to buy it.

According to Columbia University, organic farming is more sustainable than non-organic food production. There are written records of using plants for treating various ailments that date back approximately 5,000 years and soil quality was a major part of growing those plants.

The wider variety of plants and the lack of pesticides in organic farming increases the biodiversity of food production. This results in reduced pollution, reduced pesticide run-off, and improved soil quality.

Not recycling properly

It’s important that you become familiar with your community’s recycling program because not all recycling programs accept the same things. Some items can’t be recycled at all while others need to be recycled through a special service.

For instance, e-waste makes up only 2% of the trash in America’s landfills. But it makes up 70% of the world’s overall toxic waste.

Some of the most common recycling mistakes include:

  • Recycling food-soaked packages/containers
  • Recycling non-recyclable glass
  • Recycling egg cartons and other Styrofoam containers
  • Including plastic bags
  • Leaving lids on plastic containers

Wearing the wrong sunscreen on vacation

Coral reefs occupy less than one-quarter of 1% of the marine environment, but they’re the home to over 25% of all known marine fish species. Last year, Hawaii passed a bill banning common sunscreens beginning in 2021 that contain chemicals that are harming coral reefs.

Whether you’re vacationing this winter in Hawaii or somewhere else hot, avoid using sunscreens that contain the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemicals increase coral bleaching and can also be bad for your own health. Instead, opt for reef-safe sunscreens.

Getting your bills in the mail

Many people still get their utility bills in the mail to keep for their records. But chances are those bills often stay in the envelope unopened in a pile for weeks on end.

According to, approximately 17% of everything printed is considered waste. Instead of letting your utility bills add up with your junk mail, consider contacting your utility companies to have your bills e-emailed to you instead. This way, you reduce paper waste and clutter in your home while also having the bill for your records. It’s also a great way to compare and contrast past bills. An estimated 34% of fires start because of dirty dryer vents, but even low levels of lint build-up could make your home less efficient by wasting energy.

You might be conscious of how much energy and water you’re using around your home. You might even be taking measures to make sure your HVAC system is as efficient as possible. But you’d be surprised by how simple actions can have such a big impact when it comes to your carbon footprint. By avoiding the mistakes above, you can be more eco-friendly throughout your day.

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