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How to Decrease Your Environmental Footprint

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

You walk around with a reusable straw and water bottle, great! You’re off to a good start, but that is just one of the many things that can be done to reduce your environmental footprint and make the Earth a greener place! Over the summer, I participated in a footprint calculator produced by the Global Footprint Network and saw that there were much-needed improvements to make in my life! The questionnaire asks about events in your everyday life to calculate how long the earth would last if everyone lived like you. To my own surprise, the earth would not last long if people lived like me. I was shocked because I recycle, thrift, and don’t eat red meat, but there is so much more that I can do to reduce my environmental footprint! I broke the ways I can improve into the four categories of food, shelter, mobility, and goods and services!



Roased Veg
Christin Urso / Spoon
Food is one area where I struggle… Most of the food I buy is packaged and ready to throw into the oven or microwave, but there is a TON of waste that comes with individually packaged foods. One of my goals for the future is to buy in bulk so I can eliminate unnecessary plastic!

Another way to reduce your environmental footprint is to eat less animal products. Animals (specifically cattle) produce lots of carbon dioxide and take up valuable resources such as land and water. Cutting down on meat and dairy products is a great way to lower your footprint AND save money!



Make your home more energy efficient! While this is a hard step to do in college, try using LED lights instead of regular light bulbs! Turn the heat down and opt for another sweatshirt! Turn off lights when you’re not using them! There are lots of small things you can do to decrease your environmental footprint in the coziness of your own home!



Hawaii Girl Happy Biking Fun Peace
Tessa Pesicka / Her Campus
Being a poor college kid and not having a car is a great way to decrease your environmental footprint! If you do have access to a car, opt to use public transportation, bike, or walk! If you must use a vehicle, try to carpool or use rideshare programs so that less cars are on the road!


Goods and Services

Buy responsibly! UPS has implemented a new program that works to ship items carbon-neutral. The transport of goods through delivery still produces carbon that is emitted into the atmosphere, but UPS has created the option for companies to donate to projects that preserve and encourage renewable resources. Visit your favorite store’s website to see if they are already involved in the program and if not, encourage them to do so!


When using services, support companies that do their part to preserve and protect the environment! Lyft has purchased over 2,062,500 metric tons of carbon offsets in the past year, making each ride you take carbon-neutral. Click here to see other corporations that have been working to reduce their carbon footprint!


Reducing your environmental footprint isn’t easy. I am guilty of forgetting my reusable bags when I go grocery shopping and using the occasional straw, but every effort is worth it! I hope you found some ideas in my article that you will consider implementing in your own life to decrease your environmental footprint!

Rachel Hietpas

Wisconsin '20

Rachel is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is double majoring in political science and economics, and hopes to attend law school after her bachelors degree. Her passions include reading, drinking coffee, and dog-watching!
Erin Kleber

Wisconsin '21

Erin is majoring in Political Science and Communication Arts, with a certificate in Criminal Justice. She is a proud co-president of HC Wisconsin, and has been a member since her freshman year. When she's not writing or spending time with her HC gang, you can find her reading a good book, spending time up north, or cheering on the Badger football team.