Simple Changes can add up to make a big difference in helping to keep our earth clean. There are many ways in which a person can take part to help reduce their consumption of trash. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Repurpose are the four main ways which you can make a difference in the waterways of our worlds. Reducing the ways in which you consume products is the best way to start out. Bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery store is the best way to reduce the amount of plastic that is used every year. It can also help you save money since some laws are now in effect that make you pay extra for bags. Plastic bags can take up to 450 years to decompose which poses a great threat on our oceans.
A lot of today’s grocery store foods are packaged in ways they are not environmentally friendly. These include plastic wrappers, soda bottles, and other non recyclable items. Sustainable packaging has become a recent trend in which retailers package their products using more environmentally friendly ways. Shopping at farmers markets is a great way to eat healthy while supporting local farmers and reducing packaging. Some cities also have CSA programs or community supported agriculture. These programs allow fresh produce to be delivered to your door for a low cost.
All of these produce are locally grown by farmers and packaged environmentally. Local Harvest is a great website where you are able to locate local programs around your home. Consumers are able purchase a membership card which makes them eligible for a box of fresh produce each week. Consumers are also able to grow their relationship with their growers and express what they strive for. Another great way you can reduce your environment is by using more public transportation like busses, trains and less driving. National Ride your bike to work day was created in order to raise awareness of the impact cars have.
Reusing different household items can help the environment and save you money everyday. Every year in the USA, we go through about 100 billion one time use plastic bags every year which costs us about 4 billion dollars. These plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to completely degrade. With the slow decomposition rate, this allows for these harmful plastics to find their way into our open water ways. Simple at home strategies can be done to save you money and affect our environment in a positive way. About .5% of plastic bags end up in the recycling and they aren’t helping us in any way sitting in a landfill. By making simple changes in our daily lives can increase the amount of plastic bags recycled and decrease the amount of bags purchased. Reusable plastic bags can cost as much as $3.00 to buy in a grocery store and can save you from using up to 600 plastic bags every year. Using these reusable plastic bags can also help you avoid any plastic taxes that have been implemented on different purchases. One other strategy that can be used to help lower the amount of one time use plastic bags is to simply wash and reuse you ziploc and grocery bags. If we effectively use these strategies, we would ultimately leave a positive lasting impact on our environment and lower the amount of emissions let off by the degrading plastics.
Recycling is one of the most basic ways to make a difference in our communities. Not all people know what’s recyclable, and what’s not. Not recycling any of the following items, will heavily damage our Earth. Foil, Aluminum, Paper, Plastic bottles, Glass, and oil can all be recycled. Every year, each American throws out about 1,200 pounds of organic garbage that can be composted. On average, each one of us produces 4.4 pounds of solid waste each day. This adds up to almost a ton of trash per person, per year. On average, we use over 80,000,000,000 aluminum soda cans every year. There is no limit to the amount of times an aluminum can be recycled, and an aluminum can thrown away today, will still be reused 500 years from now, if recycled properly. When an Aluminum can gets recycled, it can be placed back on a shelf within 50 days.
Over 75% of all aluminum foil produced in the United States is used for food packaging and much of that ends up the local landfills. This is an unfortunate result of bad habits that need to be changed. Recycling foil can be difficult, since most recycling centers won’t accept foil. The cause of this situation, is from used foil containing too much food and contaminants. People don’t know that foil is actually dishwasher safe, and you can reuse it as much as possible doing so will save you more money.
Recycling paper can make a huge difference on our planet’s Forests. Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees. If all of our newspaper were to be recycled, we would save 25,000,000 trees a year. This amount of trees could be saved if every person recycled just one-tenth of newspaper a year. Recycling plastic bottles, and Glass Bottles can heavily benefit the environment. Plastic bottles and other plastic garbage gets thrown into the ocean, and kills 1,000,000 sea creatures every year. Glass bottles can do the same damage to our ecosystem, since it takes 4,000 years to decompose, if not recycled. The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or a compact fluorescent bulb for 20 hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials. If people were aware of what happens to trash that is not recycled, then our planet will be a much cleaner place.
“EPA.” Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2015.