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The Best Tips To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint And CO2-Emissions

Save CO2 – 10 Ways To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Do you want to save CO2 in your everyday life and reduce your carbon footprint? Then you've come to the right place! The climate change is one of the biggest problems of our time. As we humans ourselves contribute significantly to this through our greenhouse gas emissions, we cannot avoid adapting our lifestyles and behavior.

Globally, 4.7 tons of CO2 were emitted per capita in 2021. In the industrialized nation of Germany, per capita carbon dioxide emissions in the same period were as high as 8.09 tons.₁ The Climate Budgetthat every person on earth would be entitled to annually in order to achieve the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Agreement is about 1.5 tons.

That sounds like a truly Herculean task! But there are actually countless ways in which we can make our lives more climate-friendly.

In this article, I would therefore like to give you the best tips on how you can save CO2 in your own everyday life and make a real difference for the climate. Before that, you will also get to know all the motives and some measures from the world of politics. Let's go!

You can find a brief overview of the article here in advance:

Motives: Why should we save CO2 at all?

Why should we humans reduce our carbon footprint?

For a high level of motivation - and because the climate problem is not really tangible for many people - I would like to explain the reasons for CO2-saving measures here. First of all, however, I must clear up two misunderstandings and counterargumentsthat I often hear.

Misconception #1: "We Germans have hardly any influence on the climate".

Although Germany "only" has a two percent share of global CO2 emissions - but in terms of per capita consumption, we are one of the world's biggest climate sinners. Moreover, it was still never particularly smart to shift the blame onto othersto avoid having to adapt and change.

Misconception #2: "CO2 compensation is enough after all".

You could also simply use your own Offset CO2 emissions - for example by donating to a climate protection organization. This attitude is generally very commendable. However, it is much more environmentally and climate friendly if they are not created in the first place..

The most important advantages and reasons at a glance

Motifs, why we live sustainably and CO2 are diverse and closely interlinked. At the forefront is above all the Climate protectionas global warming has serious consequences for all areas of life on Earth. This is because the anthropogenic greenhouse effect (caused by man-made, climate-damaging gases such as CO2) is making a decisive contribution to our planet becoming increasingly warmer. Today, around 40 percent more CO2 is measured in the atmosphere than at the beginning of the industrial age.₂

"We deal with this world as if we had a second one in the trunk."

Jane Fonda (more at Climate protection quotes)

By reducing our CO2 emissions, we can make a direct contribution to climate protection and limit the extent of global warming and its consequences for our own lives.

Here I have given you the most important Advantages of the CO2 reduction measures once clearly arranged:

  • Environment: Ecosystems remain in balance and also the Environmental problem of species extinction decreases because the earth heats up less quickly.
  • Health: In most cases, less CO2 also means less air pollution and therefore better conditions for this, stay healthy in the long term. Increasing heat and the growing likelihood of severe extreme weather are also a major threat to our health.
  • Respect: Saving CO2 is also a respectful gesture towards the people who are already suffering massively from climate change (for example due to rising sea levels).
  • Resource conservation: Many measures to reduce CO2 emissions also lead to lower consumption of natural resourcesso that the planet's treasures can be preserved for future generations.
  • Economic efficiencyClimate-neutral or CO2-saving measures and products are generally cheaper and more economical in the long term - whether from the perspective of companies or private households. In addition, the local economy is also specifically promoted.

In summary, reducing the carbon footprint contributes to a more sustainable, healthier and fairer planet. It's a win-win-win situation for you, the community and the earth.

Politics: What climate protection measures are being implemented in the European Union and in Germany?

Measures for CO2 savings at European level

The EU and Germany are pursuing clear targets on the road to greenhouse gas neutrality. Compared to 1990, 65% of greenhouse gas emissions in Germany are to be reduced by 2030 - and as much as 88% by 2040. Our country should then be climate-neutral by 2045. To achieve this, the so-called Climate Protection Act adopted.

At EU level, the European climate law the basis for achieving the European Union's climate target of reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 - and achieving climate neutrality by 2050.₃

The "Fit for 55 Package

The so-called "Fit for 55 package" takes its name from the EU target just mentioned and includes Proposals to revise and update EU legislation. It sets clear targets and specifies the following objectives and measures₄:

  • EU Emissions Trading SchemeA kind of CO2 market that has already reduced emissions in the EU by 41 percent since its introduction in 2005.
  • Climate Social Fund: It is intended to cushion the social and distributional effects of emissions trading on the building and transport sectors. 
  • Carbon Boundary Adjustment Scheme (CBAM): This is intended to prevent the effect of CO2 reduction measures in the EU from fizzling out. This could be the case, for example, if production is outsourced to non-EU countries with low climate protection requirements.
  • Emission reduction targets of the member states: Every country in the EU must adhere to these binding targets for the annual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • LULUCF Regulation: For the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from land use, land use change and forestry.
  • Ordinance on CO₂ standards: The transport sector is responsible for around a fifth of emissions in Germany - and the trend is rising. This regulation is therefore primarily concerned with requirements in the mobility sector. A significant proportion of these emissions are caused by commercial vehicles. Alternative drives and fuels as well as new technologies for trucksare therefore an important projectin the German government's 2030 climate protection program.
  • Revised Renewable Energies Directive: By 2030, at least 40 percent of the total energy mix in the EU is to come from renewable sources.
  • Energy efficiency: Compared to forecasts from 2020, final energy consumption at EU level is to be reduced by 11.7% by 2030. In addition, all new buildings are to be zero-emission buildings by 2030.
  • hydrogen market and the decarbonized gas market: The aim here is to gradually reduce the carbon footprint of the gas market.
  • Energy taxation: Adapted to the EU's energy, environmental and climate policy, new capacities for generating revenue for the budgets of the member states are to be created, among other things.

How realistic are the objectives and how effective are the measures?

According to the European Court of Auditors the European Union will miss its CO2 reduction targets despite all the objectives and measures taken. The authority's special report also explicitly criticized Germany for not independently achieving its own greenhouse gas targets for 2020.

In the period from 2013 to 2020, Germany had to around 17 million tons CO2 equivalent in greenhouse gas emission allocations from other EU countries that had even exceeded their targets.₅

10 tips: How can each of us reduce our own carbon footprint?

The carbon dioxide footprint per capita in Germany (2022)
The carbon dioxide footprint per capita in Germany (2022) | Source: Federal Environment Agency

Many people see politicians as having a responsibility - and this is fundamentally correct, as they are responsible for creating the framework conditions for a sustainable future. more sustainable lifestyle is set. But, of course, politicians are not the only ones responsible - and apart from that, the (interim) goals do not even seem to be being achieved. It is therefore primarily up to us consumers - not least because our demand for climate-friendly alternatives determines the supply of the economy.

So let's take a closer look at what each of us can do in our everyday lives to save CO2! Every small change can make a big difference. Use the following tips and ideas now to reduce your carbon footprint and make a positive contribution to our planet.

Here again I have given you a little Overview prepared:

  1. Reduce hot water
  2. Save heating energy
  3. Use green electricity and save electricity
  4. Prefer bus, train and bicycle to car and plane whenever possible
  5. Choose electric cars over combustion engines and use them ecologically
  6. Modernize buildings
  7. Organic, regional, seasonal and plant-based nutrition
  8. Avoiding waste and wasting resources
  9. Conscious consumption
  10. Get active for climate protection

Notice: If appropriate, I will also link you to more specific tips and further blog posts.

1. reduce hot water

Reduce heating and hot water to minimize CO2 consumption

According to the Federal Environment Agency the provision of hot water in German households accounts for an average of around twelve percent of total energy consumption. Hot water for Showers or for a cozy Foam bath therefore has a significant impact on your own CO2 footprint.

To get your (warm)Reduce water consumption you can for example shorter and Shower colder, the Turn off the water when brushing your teeth, a Water saving shower head install and the Washing machine only when it is really full. These measures allow you to save every year quite 400-600 kilograms of CO2.

2. save heating energy

If you want to live as climate-neutrally as possible and minimize your CO2 emissions, you should also find out about the efficient and sustainable use of heating energy inform

For one thing, it is important to note, What technique heats your rooms and the water. Heat recovery using a geothermal heat pump is one of the most sustainable technologies in this respect - in contrast to oil or gas heating systems.

On the other hand, even with older building technology, you still have the opportunity to consciously save heating energy and thus heating costs and CO2.

For example, make sure to use the Do not keep the room temperature unnecessarily high and wear warm clothes instead. Ventilate your rooms briefly and intermittently instead of leaving the windows ajar all day to keep the heat in. Furthermore, you should only heat rooms that really need to be warm because you spend time in them. This also gives you the chance to save up to 600 kilograms of CO2 every year.

3. use green electricity and save electricity

You can lay the foundations for climate-friendly use of technology in your home with a Switch to a green electricity provider*. After all, your electricity comes from regenerative energy sourcessuch as wind, solar or hydropower.

In addition, you should, of course, generally make sure economical use of the available electricity pay attention. For example, switch off all your devices completely instead of leaving them in standby mode. Also preferably energy-efficient technology (e.g. fridge, TV, washing machine and lighting) if you have the option to do so.

Also Timers, Motion detector, the Drying laundry on the line instead of in the dryer, as well as the Cooking with lidcan help you save energy and therefore CO2 in your household.

4. prefer bus, train and bicycle to car and plane whenever possible

Use train and bike instead of car and plane to reduce CO2 footprint

The transportation sector is one of the biggest CO2 emitters. So think carefully about whether a particular car journey or short flight is absolutely necessary in your everyday life. Use public transportation whenever possible, the Bike or go on foot.

For slightly longer distances (for example, when traveling as sustainable journey) are Train rides in many cases not only a more climate-friendly, but also a more relaxed alternative to flying.

Sometimes, however, trips can be avoided altogether! For example, if you want low-emission and environmentally friendly in the Home Office work - or a meeting with business partners online instead of traveling to meet them. This also frees up a lot of time in your day-to-day life for a better work-life balance.

Tip: In keeping with this, I have written an article about "lasting feelings of shame" which also deals with the shame of flying. Many people refrain from flying because they have a guilty conscience when they blow huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the earth's atmosphere by plane.

5. prefer electric cars to combustion engines and use them ecologically

Extremely sustainable it is, not to use a car at all. However, if you are dependent on a car, you should use the biggest advantage of the electric car use if it is charged with electricity from renewable sources, it runs emission-free. This way you can reduce your CO2 emissions over many years. But remember that the production of the car also causes CO2 emissions, which is why it is important to use a car for as long as possible.

In principle, a climate-friendly car should always be As small, light and economical as possible be. If you already own a petrol or diesel car or have just bought a used combustion engine, your carbon footprint can also be reduced by a sustainable driving style and the efficient Use improve significantly.

Form for example Carpools with colleagues, use Car sharing-Switch off the car when stationary, reduce its weight as much as possible and try to combine as many everyday errands as possible with one trip.

Tip: Do you want to practice more climate protection in your everyday life? Then take a look at the more in-depth article on the sustainable way to work an.

6. modernize buildings

With an energy-efficient refurbishment, you can ensure that your home or rental apartment is will become more energy-efficient in the coming decades and significantly less heat energy will be lost. A Sustainable thermal insulationmodern windows or efficient heating systems can make a real difference.

As an owner, you even benefit from state subsidies. And also as tenant:in you can certainly convince your landlords to implement climate-friendly modernization measures. For example, by arguing that the rental apartment will remain attractive to tenants in the long term because heating costs can be saved.

7. organic, regional, seasonal and plant-based food

Organic, plant-based nutrition is climate-friendly

The ecological footprint of animal foods (e.g. meat, butter or eggs) is really massive. For example, it takes 21.7 kilograms of CO2 equivalent to produce one kilogram of organic beef.₆ No wonder, since the animals have to be fed and kept - and since ruminants emit large quantities of the climate-damaging gas methane.

So of course it is much more environmentally friendly to consume the grown plants directly. Meat eaters who want to make the switch to a vegan diet master, can certainly save more than one ton of CO2 per year.

Always try to do this as plant-based, organic and seasonal food from regional, organic farming to be preferred. Short transport routes, no resource-intensive "detour via the animal", cultivation without energy-intensive greenhouses, but also the absence of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, drastically reduce the CO2 emissions for your meals.

Tip: Animal and climate protection is one of my personal Reasons why I live vegan. In the combined article you can find out what else motivates me to do this.

8. avoid waste and wasting resources

The production and incineration of just one tonne of plastic alone generates around five tons of CO2 emissions.₇ So if you want to consume less carbon dioxide in your life, you should use the Zero Waste Lifestyle and try to produce as little waste as possible.

Replace disposable alternatives with Reusable products (e.g. plastic straws through Glass straws*), prefer recycled products, try to use items for as long as possible, buy food without packaging and try to avoid throwing food away as much as possible. So you save the earth's resources every day.

9. consume consciously

The basic principle is avoid resource-intensive new purchases and live minimalistif you want to emit less CO2.

For every potential purchase, consider whether you really need the product - and if so, whether there is a more sustainable alternative. For example, I always immediately think of the Used purchase via classified ads or in second-hand stores. You can also borrow everyday objects.

And if you do buy something new: avoid impulse purchases and rather invest carefully in high-quality, durable products that you then treat and care for well. This is incredibly important, especially in the fashion sector. Also avoid imported goods from abroad when sustainable online shoppingto avoid long, CO2-intensive transport routes.

10. become active for climate protection

Active for climate protection and a better carbon footprint

As individuals, we can do a lot in our own everyday lives - but of course we can't save the climate all by ourselves! In order to multiply your own impact a thousandfoldIf possible, you should therefore also campaign for climate protection at a social level.

Set a good example! Inform others about the reasons and possibilities for saving CO2take part in demonstrations, support environmental organizations and start petitionsto uncover and change grievances. Every vote counts and can help to ensure that politics and the economy are more focused on climate protection.

Tip: Also talk to your friends and family about the problem and the opportunities to actively save CO2. For example, how you can Inspire parents for sustainabilityI will explain in a separate blog article.

Save CO2: Use tips to reduce your carbon footprint

Whether it's a plant-based diet, public transport, saving energy or avoiding waste - now you know how you can save CO2 in your everyday life. Simply try to put the knowledge from this article into practice step by stepso that your children and grandchildren - and all future generations - can also enjoy life on earth.

"Ultimately humanity is one, and this small planet is our only home. If we're to protect this home of ours, each of us needs to experience a vivid sense of universal altruism and compassion."

Dalai Lama (more at Environmental protection quotes)

But please don't forget that the path to a low-carbon, climate-neutral way of living is a marathon and not a sprint - Nobody expects you to implement all the tips perfectly at once.

Finally, here are a few continue blog articlethat could make your everyday life even more environmentally friendly:

I really hope that my tips for saving CO2 will help you and that you get a little bit closer to a climate-friendly lifestyle every day. Do you have any questions, suggestions or other tips for reducing your carbon footprint? Then I look forward to your comment.

Stay sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: It's not just your consumer behavior that shapes the world of tomorrow! Also through conscious and sustainable investment you can use every penny to ensure that our way of life becomes fairer, more equitable and more environmentally friendly. I explain how this works in the linked blog post.


₁ IEA; Global Carbon Atlas: Energy-related CO2 emissions per capita worldwide by selected countries in 2021 (as of September 2022), available at [28.06.2023].

₂ myclimate Foundation: What is the greenhouse effect? (as of 01.03.2022), available at [28.06.2023].

₃ Bavarian State Ministry for the Environment and Consumer Protection: European Climate Law (EU) 2021/1119, available at [28.06.2023].

₄ European Council: "Fit for 55", available at [28.06.2023].

₅ ZEIT Online: Climate protection - European Court of Auditors doubts EU climate targets will be met (as of 26.06.2023), available at [28.06.2023].

₆ Ivy (2020): Ecological footprint of meat, fish and meat alternatives in Germany in 2019, available at [28.06.2023].

₇ P. Jasper: On the road to climate neutrality: plastic recycling must become more of a focus (as at 30.06.2021), available at [28.06.2023].

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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