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A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from the production, use and end-of-life of a product or service. It includes carbon dioxide — most commonly emitted by humans — and methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming. Most of a person’s carbon footprint typically is from transportation, housing and food.


Here are a few of the simpler and less expensive suggestions from various sources on how to reduce your carbon footprint.

  • Drive less and fly less.
  • Walk more and bike more.
  • Keep your car’s tires properly inflated and get regular tune-ups.
  • Use the cold water cycle for washing clothes and use full loads.
  • Stop buying water in plastic. Get a reusable water bottle.
  • Keep stuff out of the landfill. Sell items you no longer use to thrift shops or give them to charity. Have a yard sale.
  • Buy in bulk to avoid small packages.
  • Buy fewer new clothes.
  • Compost your food waste if possible.
  • If shopping for appliances, lighting, office equipment or electronics, look for Energy Star products, which are certified to be more energy efficient.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Use a low-flow showerhead.
  • Shop at a farmer’s market. Purchasing local options reduces carbon emissions because goods that travel fewer miles to get to the consumer create a smaller carbon footprint.
  • When you shop, bring your own bags.

Steve Pokin

Steve Pokin writes the Pokin Around and The Answer Man columns for the Springfield Daily Citizen. He also writes about criminal justice issues. He can be reached at His office line is 417-837-3661. More by Steve Pokin