How can I reduce my carbon footprint?

Ways to reduce your resource & energy consumption + comparison of climate subscriptions

If you're reading this blog post, you're probably feeling the same way I do: you want to live as sustainably as possible, reduce your own resource consumption, and reduce your carbon footprint. Personally, this has become a very big concern for me over the past few years. I consciously pay attention to the impact of my consumption in everyday life and have also had a so-called climate subscription for over two years now, allowing me to additionally offset my carbon emissions.

That's why in this blog post I want to share with you my most important tips on how you can reduce your potentially negative impact on the climate and resource consumption. In the next sections, you'll learn what a carbon footprint is, what opportunities there are to improve your carbon balance through conscious consumer choices, and how you can further increase your positive impact on our environment through various climate subscriptions.


What is a carbon footprint?

You've probably come across the term "carbon footprint" or "carbon balance" more often lately. It is a measure of the total carbon dioxide emissions generated by the production, transport and consumption of various products and activities. It can therefore be determined for individual products, entire companies or individuals, such as you and me. The average carbon footprint in Germany amounts to 10.78 tons per year, which is far above the amount that is tolerable for the planet. Calculated for the world population, this is actually less than one ton per year for every human being.

The carbon footprint must be distinguished from the "ecological footprint". The latter describes the area and thus the resources of the earth that are necessary to enable a person's lifestyle. It is therefore more broadly defined than the carbon footprint and includes emissions in the form of forests that would have to be planted in order to bind the emissions.

Nowadays, the carbon footprint is often used as a decision-making aid to choose the more sustainable one among several action and consumption alternatives. For example, taking the train has a significantly lower carbon footprint than flying, just as regional foods have a lower carbon footprint than imported products. Some products and entire companies are now also being labeled as "climate neutral". This means that the respective carbon footprint is compensated, meaning that no more carbon emissions are caused than are bound. This is where carbon compensation comes into play, which you will learn more about in the following sections.

First, let's explore what you as an individual can do to reduce your carbon footprint and resource consumption. Because even if the greatest responsibility should lie with companies and governments, everyone can do their own part to prevent climate change as far as possible. It starts with ourselves, with our actions and the daily choices we make.


Ways to reduce your own resource consumption & carbon footprint

There are several areas in which the reduction options can be categorized:


First of all, the choice of transportation makes a huge difference. If it is somehow possible for you, it is always the best choice to switch to public transportation (unless you can walk or take a bike). If the connection is not available at your place of residence, carpooling is the best option.

When traveling, there is also often the option of taking the train or long-distance bus instead of traveling by car or plane. In particular, I think we should completely avoid domestic flights. I generally try not to fly at all within Europe, as there are usually good rail connections available, which don't have to be that expensive if you plan one or two months ahead of your trip. I also have a BahnCard 25, which has always paid off for me for over three years.

If you do drive a car, it is worth paying attention to the average consumption and keeping it as low as possible. If you drive an electric car, you can reduce your carbon footprint by switching to green electricity instead of the normal (German) electricity mix.


The same is applicable to your electricity at home. Instead of the normal electricity mix, which consists of only 47% renewable energy in Germany, you can change your electricity tariff to 100% green electricity. In general, you should also make sure to turn off all electrical devices when you are not using them or when you leave the house. Even appliances on standby often consume electricity, especially if they are connected to the power grid during this time. With household appliances such as refrigerators or washing machines, you can look at the energy efficiency at the time of purchase.

The same applies to heating. When you're not at home or not in every room of the house, you don't have to keep the heating on full blast. However, it's more energy efficient to leave the heating on level two to three in common rooms instead of turning it up and down alternately.

For resources such as water and food, the rule is: waste as little as possible. You should always turn off the water tap as soon as you don't need the flowing water for the next few seconds or minutes. For less water waste, there are also water-saving shower heads, more on this in the fourth section. In addition, I reuse water from washing vegetables to water my plants, so that I don't waste this valuable resource.

When shopping, taking only what you really need helps reduce food waste. In addition, if you ever cook too much, you don't have to throw the food away. You can either put it in the fridge and use it up the next day or put it in the freezer to preserve it for a longer period of time. In addition, food usually has a best before date. This means that they can be kept at least until that date, but usually for weeks to months beyond that, especially if they are still unopened. Rules for checking the shelf life are:

  • Appearance - Has the consistency, color or shape changed? Is mold visible?
  • Smell - Does it smell strange/different than usual, acrid, sour, or rotten?
  • Taste - If the appearance and smell are normal, the food can be tasted. Does it taste as it normally should?

If these three components fit, you can confidently distort foods after "expiration" of the best before date - and that should be the case for most foods.


A large and often underestimated influence on the climate and resource consumption has our diet. As you might know, I've been eating a vegan diet for three years now, and the reason for this is not just the animals. A change to a vegan diet also has a positive impact on the environment. Not only does the production of animal products consume far more resources than the production of plant-based foods, but global livestock production also accounts for an impressive 14.5% of all man-made greenhouse-impacting pollutant emissions.

The more people do without animal products, the less emissions are caused and resources are consumed. And each small step counts. Of course, you don't have to go vegan from one day to the next, but it would already make a difference if you gave up animal sausage today and tried a plant-based alternative to milk in your coffee tomorrow. Every single consumption decision has an impact.


This includes not only food, but any everyday form of consumption - including your clothes. The most important principles regarding consumption are: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. So it's about reducing your consumption first, and then buying fair fashion instead of fast fashion, and more often second-hand clothing.

Almost all of us have far too many clothes in our closet that cannot be worn at all. Take the time to sort out all the clothes that are not your favorites, maybe someone else will be more happy about them. And if you're tempted to buy a new piece, ask yourself first: will this really be a new favorite or just another piece gathering dust in your closet?

Lastly, try to repair broken pieces first instead of replacing them outright. And if they can't be repaired, take them to a clothing donation center where they can be recycled instead of being thrown in the trash can.


In all these areas, most of us, myself included, still have some room for improvement and yet it will not be possible for you to bring your resource use and your carbon emissions to zero. Because any activity, any consumption, no matter how thoughtful, causes carbon emissions and resource depletion. Even the greatest possible reduction in all these areas will not allow you to live completely climate neutral.

Therefore, after exhausting all the previously mentioned possibilities, an additional compensation of your own emissions is possible. Through compensation payments in the form of donations to climate protection projects in which carbon emissions are captured and reduced, you have the opportunity to offset your own emissions and thus your carbon footprint. This can be done either in the form of one-time payments, e.g. for the carbon offsetting of individual air travels. For this purpose for each of my (rarely happening) plane journeys I use Atmosfair.

In order to balance my everyday carbon footprint and to live climate neutral, I also have a so-called climate subscription, in which I donate monthly to various climate protection projects. However, this possibility of compensation should only be considered as a second-best solution, the focus should be on the greatest possible reduction through the measures described above - first reduce, then compensate!


Presentation of various climate subscriptions

With a climate subscription, you can donate monthly to environmental protection projects and thus offset your personal carbon and resource consumption. In the following, I would like to introduce to you three different climate subscriptions.


TeamClimate is a social start-up founded by students with the goal of enabling people and companies from over 30 countries to become climate neutral. At TeamClimate you can calculate your individual carbon footprint and offset it through monthly donations. It is also possible to subscribe for several people, children and even pets or to multiply the impact by offsetting several carbon footprints at once.

Independently certified projects are supported to protect the rainforest in Peru, to enable clean drinking water in Bangladesh and Sierra Leone, and to support the energy transition through wind energy in India. You can track your personal impact at any time in a dedicated online portal. If you wish, you can also receive individual tips on how you can reduce carbon emissions even further in your everyday life.

A climate subscription with TeamClimate starts at €7 per month and can be cancelled at any time, so you can also suspend it for a few months and continue when it suits you again.

> Learn more about the TeamClimate subscription*



The non-profit company Planted has focused primarily on carbon offsetting for companies, as these may have a greater impact, but also offers various compensation plans for private individuals. With Planted's climate subscription, you not only offset your carbon footprint by donating to various climate protection projects, but also enable the planting of new trees every month and thus the creation of new mixed forests in Germany.

The projects supported by Planted have a primary focus on the energy transition in developing and emerging countries. Projects supported include hydropower plants in Indonesia and Chile, the production of electricity via biomass in India and the generation of solar energy in Mexico.

The three plans start at €9 per month and allow you to offset one or more average German carbon footprints and additionally plant one or more trees per month. In your climate profile you can track the growth of the forest and the positive impact of your donations to the projects. All plans can also be cancelled on a monthly basis.

> Learn more about the climate subscription from Planted



The Planet-O-Company, a young non-profit company, takes a slightly different approach with its climate subscription. The focus is less on directly offsetting the carbon footprint itself, but rather on reducing water waste, plastic pollution and deforestation in order to fight the climate crisis.

On the one hand, Planet-O-Company supports several projects for forest protection and the development of technologies to collect plastic from water. You can put together an individual climate subscription and choose for yourself how many square meters of rainforest you want to protect each month and how many kilograms of plastic you want to collect from the water.

In addition, you can get a high-quality energy-saving shower head free of charge with your Planet-O-Company climate subscription. With it, you not only save up to 1533l of water per month, but can also reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. At the same time you save up to €17 per month on water and energy costs.

Thus, you have already refinanced your climate subscription and even make a profit, while you actively contribute to the fight against climate change. A climate subscription with Planet-O-Company starts at €3 per month, depending on the selected impact. A normal subscription can be canceled monthly, the subscription with a free shower head has a minimum term of one year, but you can keep the shower head even after cancellation, it is yours.

> Learn more about the Planet-O-Company's climate subscription


My personal conclusion

As I have already mentioned, it is a great concern of mine personally to reduce my personal consumption of resources and my carbon footprint as far as possible. For this, I try my best every day by traveling a lot by train, eating a vegan diet and generally trying not to consume more than necessary.

However, since I have a very great longing to travel the whole world, I unfortunately can't avoid the one or other flight. Offsetting the resulting carbon emissions by donating to climate protection projects is the least I can do. Furthermore, it is not possible for me to reduce my consumption to zero in other areas of my life either, since living automatically involves consuming resources and causing emissions.

In order to be able to balance my carbon footprint nevertheless, I have already had a climate subscription for two and a half years. At the time, I took out a subscription with TeamClimate, which was the first company I got to know.

In addition, I recently subscribed to Planet-O-Company, because plastic reduction in water is also very important to me and because I find the concept great and definitely wanted to try an energy-saving shower head. I have now been using the "Pulsify" model for over two weeks and can definitely recommend it, even with long hair showering with it works perfectly!

I'm also currently thinking about subscribing to Planted, because I think the projects they support are also very worthy of support and I'd like to plant trees every month. Why not support as many projects as possible and not only balance my carbon footprint, but shift it into the positive? 😉

However, no matter what you choose, every little step is important and we can all make a difference!

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