A Few Tips For Lowering Your Emissions This Holiday Season

I understand lowering emissions is probably not on the top of your list this holiday, but there is no reason it couldn’t be or shouldn’t be factored in. There are many different ways you can lower emissions this holiday season and I’m not just talking about emissions from your vehicle either. Emissions come from many sources: vehicles, animals, people, factories, food production, etc.  You can make your holiday great while at the same time being aware of the emissions you are generating.

Now, you may be expecting to read tips or ideas that include not traveling, using less electricity, buying local, not using your dishwasher or washer/dryer as much, getting a live tree, not buying as much in general, etc.  Those are all valid tips, but I figured I’d narrow it down to give you just a few travel and a few personal tips to get you through the holidays.

So, if you plan to do any traveling in your vehicle over the holidays, these tips can help make sure your trip is not only a safe one, but a low emission one as well:

1) Get your tires rotated and tire pressure checked. 90% of tire blowouts are caused by under-inflated tires. Having properly inflated tires not only helps with fuel economy and lowering emissions, but helps ensure you and your family have a safer trip.  Here are a few more tire safety tips.

Coming in for an oil change 2) At the same time you get your tires rotated, you should get your oil changed and fluids checked/filled up. Regular maintenance done on your vehicle will help keep it running better and running longer.  By getting your oil changed regularly, you help prevent sludge and carbon buildup that could increase harmful exhaust emissions and potentially cause serious damage to your car.  Additionally, use of a proven fuel additive can further reduce harmful emissions and improve fuel economy.

While they may be simple steps, each one can help improve your vehicle’s fuel economy, lower your emissions and keep you and your family safe this holiday. Now onto a few tips for helping to lower your emissions on a more personal level:

1) Pass up the meat this holiday…instead of having your usual holiday meal, have something that doesn’t include meat.  One of the largest sources of methane emissions comes from animal agriculture.  If you do plan on having meat, go for ham (pork) or poultry.  Apparently they generate significantly less CO2 emissions in their production than beef.  One kg of beef generates about 13 kg of CO2…essentially the same amount generated from 6 liters of gasoline.

Image by MoToMo (via Flickr)

2) Don’t make too much food.  I know my family always tried to ensure they had enough food on the table during the holidays, but did you know that the “US per capita food waste has progressively increased by about 50% since 1974“?  That’s a lot of food going to waste and since emissions are generated not only in the production and preparation of the food, but also in the decomposition of any leftovers, that is definitely something worth factoring in.  It’s better to make a little less to ensure that everyone has enough without food going to waste.

I won’t get into any further ideas for lowering emissions that can result from the holiday season, as I figured these few should give you a good start.  Let’s be honest, nobody needs a huge list of things to do in addition to all their existing holiday preparations.  But if you follow these simple tips, they can contribute to a happy holiday for yourself and the environment.


  • Stephanie

    Boy, these are so simple there is no reason we can’t all partake! I especially like the “make less” food tip. It is so simple – and can save you money too! Happy Holidays and here’s to a lower carbon impact of your celebrations! 🙂

  • solargroupies

    The food waste number is unbelievable! Especially at a time when so many people are hungry.

  • Emmanuel Parry

    I do not normally comment on peoples websites however I had to say thank you for such a great read.

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