Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Manufacturing new goods expends energy, so eliminating the need to produce goods will result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. First, reduce the amount of goods you purchase. Cutting down on extraneous or relatively useless products, especially electronic devices, can have a large effect on overall emissions. If you do have to purchase something, buy second hand or purchase products that will last a long time, which have minimal packaging, and which can be reused or recycled. By reusing items, you keep them out of the waste stream and eliminate the need to produce more of that item. By recycling paper, cardboard, glass or metal, an average family could reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by up to one ton annually.
You can reduce the production of greenhouse gases by making smart consumer choices when you shop. While purchasing energy-efficient products may have a higher front-end cost, over the long run, the money saved on energy bills more than pays for the extra cost and you get the added bonus of reducing your greenhouse emissions. Also choose products that require a less energy intensive production process. For example, aluminium packaging has a much more energy intensive production process than plastic packaging, and therefore higher greenhouse emissions.
From farm to dinner plate, food grown in the United States travels 1500 miles on average. Distances are substantially longer for foods imported from elsewhere in the world. Add on the energy used for packaging and refrigeration, and your food can carry hefty carbon emissions. When you visit a farmers market, subscribe to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), or buy local produce at your grocer you are saving thousands of miles of energy costs. Consider the differences in energy expenditures saved when you purchase handcrafted goods and gifts from local producers as opposed to goods produced in other states or nations.