5 Small Household Changes That Will Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Environmental awareness is becoming more and more of a priority to most Americans. We bring canvas bags to the grocery store, ditch paper towels for washable cloths, and use ride share transportation apps like Via (or maybe that one’s just for budgeting purposes!). Regardless, our society is slowly shifting towards more environmentally-friendly ways with the mentality that if we don't take care of our world, who will? 

What some people don't know is that there are things we do in our home each day that may be hurting the environment in a pretty big way, Real Simple reports. Read on to see some of the top everyday activities that are unknowingly increasing your carbon footprint—right in your very own home.

Tossing used coffee pods: The number 7 plastic used in K-cups isn’t recycled at many plants, so the majority of cups end up in landfills, says Elizabeth Glazner, the editorial director of the nonprofit organization Plastic Pollution Coalition. Search for a plant that will take them or simply switch to a refillable pod.

Using body wash: Liquid soap users, beware: soap in liquid form takes five times more energy to produce vs. a bar (we like Pure Provence's Morroccan Mint bar soap). A study also found people use seven times more liquid soap than regular soap to wash their hands.

Running appliances during the day: It's best to use your dishwasher or dryer at night when temps are lower so your air conditioner doesn't have to work twice as hard (and require twice as much energy).

Using plastic bags: There’s nothing better than quickly throwing leftovers into a zip-top bag, but unlike tupperware, we don’t tend to reuse them. Invest in reusable, dishwasher-safe glass storage containers to beat this habit.

Leaving your TV on all night: Most of us like to fall asleep to something, but you’re wasting a ton of energy by leaving your television on all night. If you need some background noise to lull you to sleep, go into your TV settings and set a two-hour timer, or download a noise maker app like White Noise.

Visit Real Simple for more, and share your own energy-efficient home habits in the comments below!