If there is one word that accurately describes Gen Zs, it is informed. They know a lot about not only social issues but also sustainability. And they act on what they know, for the progression of the causes they care about.
It’s therefore not surprising to find them at the forefront of sustainable retail shopping and other carbon-reducing efforts.
But it can be tricky figuring out how to reduce your carbon footprint when you are still so young, especially if you’re just in high school.
So to help out, today we are going to share 10 ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint as a high school student.
Avoid plastic bottles
Let’s be honest – single-use plastic bottles are convenient, especially for students who are always on the go. However, they are really bad for the environment and can massively increase your carbon footprint. So instead, get a metal or glass water bottle that you can comfortably carry around as you attend classes.
And with the many cool brands and designs available in the market today, finding the right one for you should not be an issue.
Use alternative forms of transport
While getting a car ride to and from school every day is convenient, it is not good for the environment. Instead, you should use public transportation, bike, or even walk.
And if you are really into adventure, you could look into using skateboards, scooters, or inline skates. This will ensure that you get in some exercise as well.
Avoid fast fashion
We understand the appeal of fast fashion – it is a great way to get trendy fashion pieces at an affordable price. But its negative environmental implications can’t be ignored.
For one, it contributes to massive amounts of textile waste that end up in landfills.
Also, it poses contamination issues. This is because most of the clothes are made from genetically modified cotton that requires large amounts of pesticides.
So if you’re really looking to reduce your carbon footprint, get a few ethically manufactured clothing items and consider getting the rest of your clothes at thrift stores.
Second-hand clothes are not only cheaper but also reduce your waste output. And you can easily find a one-of-a-kind piece.
Ditch the plastic straws
Many of us immediately think of plastic when we think of straws. This leads us to only use plastic straws and contribute to their accumulation in landfills. And while the negative impact of such small items may seem inconsequential to you, it causes a lot of damage over time.
Fortunately, you can easily make things better by using reusable straws. And there are so many options today – glass straws, metallic straw, and silicone straws are all solid choices.
What’s more, many coffee shops now have such options and you can even suggest your school administration stock them in the cafeteria.
Ease up on the meat
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), agriculture accounted for 10% of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. And a large part of this comes from livestock farming.
As such, one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by reducing the meat in your diet.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to leave meat entirely – you could just incorporate some meat replacements here and there.
For instance, you could try out some tofu or seitan and incorporate legumes like beans and peas.
Use less water
If you are one of those teenagers who spend hours in the shower, this is a great time to stop. The more water you waste, the more energy you waste and the more greenhouse emissions you contribute to.
So take shorter showers and always turn the water off when you are lathering up.
Also, don’t leave the tap running when you are brushing your teeth or applying soap to your hands. And if you have a car, wash it less and always try to conserve water when doing so.
You can even go as far as convincing your parents to buy water-efficient appliances and avoid wastage when watering the lawn. It may not seem like much but trust me, every drop counts.
Don’t waste energy
Things like leaving the lights on when you exit a room or leaving the TV on while you’re asleep not only raise your parents’ electricity bills but also harm the environment.
So, if you truly want to reduce your carbon footprint, try conserving energy around the house and school.
Use LED lights
In the spirit of conserving energy, you should encourage your parents to get LED bulbs for your room and the other parts of the house.
These bulbs not only last 25% longer than others, but they also use 75% less energy. As such, it is estimated that over the next 10 years they could save as much energy as that produced by 44 US power plants.
Lean towards renewable energy
To minimize gas emissions, encourage your family, friends, and teachers to adopt the use of solar and other renewable energy sources.
Also, when getting a car, look for an energy-efficient model and encourage your friends and family to do the same. The less fossil energy you all use, the better.
Buy environmentally friendly products
Whether you are buying school supplies or personal products, always opt for ones that are environmentally friendly.
Look out for natural ingredients, sustainable sourcing methods, and minimum consumption of water and energy.
This will ensure that you invest in companies that care for the environment as much as you do.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
While it is great that you are already so keen on reducing your footprint, you shouldn’t be hard on yourself.
Remember that you are still young and don’t know a lot of things. Join groups that share information on how to live a more sustainable life and be ready to make a lot of mistakes. You will learn as you grow and there is nothing wrong with that.