Top 5 Ways WE'RE Killing The Environment
By Taylor Romanowski
Everyday we walk the planet, damaging our environment as we go along our daily routines. From plastic bags to household cleaners our actions are killing our ecosystem. But we can help! Read on to learn 5 simple things YOU can do today to help reduce your environmental impact, save money, and live a happier and healthier life.
1. Paper Or Plastic?
Whether we're packing a sandwich for lunch or buying ingredients for dinner at the grocery store, plastic bags are everywhere. According to Clean Up Australia, “Australians use in excess of 6 billion plastic bags per year. If tied together these bags would form a chain that is long enough to go around the world 37 times.” 37 times! And that’s only one continent; imagine if we calculated all 7 continents… our earth would turn into one huge plastic mummy. And that would be year round, not just on Halloween.
Reconsider your use of plastic products. Recycle and reuse all materials properly and whenever possible. Next time you pack a lunch, reconsider the packaging used. Instead of plastic baggies, switch to reusable cloth bags easily kept clean by tossing into your dishwasher. When that age-old question of “paper or plastic?” comes up at your local grocery store proudly state, “neither, I brought my reusable bag.”
2. On The Go – Using Plastic Bottles
That plastic bottle housing your drinking water may be convenient, but the reality is it's killing our environment. According to a 2001 report of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), “roughly 1.5 million tons of plastic are expended in the bottling of 89 billion liters of water each year. That plastic requires up to 47 million gallons of oil per year to produce. After all of this, 90% of bottles land in the garbage or our waterways instead of the recycle bin.”
Those 47 million gallons of oil could fuel 100,000 cars for a year, but instead it’s wasted on the making of plastic bottles. Imagine your water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. That’s about the amount it takes to produce that one bottle. Not a pretty sight huh?
Did you know: Americans use four million plastic bottles every hour, yet only one out of four are recycled! Instead of these bottles ending up in landfills, plastic bottles could be recycled and made into items like carpet, t-shirts, sweaters or toys, among other things.
3. Can It – Trashing Recycled Goods
One of the biggest challenges with our population is convincing people to hold onto their plastic and aluminum containers, bottles and cans until they get home so they can be properly recycled. It’s a small step that can have a BIG outcome.
For every six water bottles used, only one is making it into the recycling bin. Those remaining five bottles are now housed in landfills, floating in our rivers, lakes and oceans and taking more than 700 years to biodegrade. They are endangering aquatic life and our health by leaking PET into the waters and ground, contaminating everything in its sight.
On the bright side, that one plastic bottle that was recycled can now save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for six hours! Use your power – recycle and do your part in saving our endangered planet.
Recycling is one of the best and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint and help save the environment. Recycling saves energy, which saves the planet, which saves us. Did you know it takes 95% less energy to recycle an aluminum can then it does to make a new can? And to think that all you have to do is throw that one can into a separate bin and it makes that much of a difference.
4. Drip Drip – Leaving The Faucet Running
We all do it occasionally or even multiple times a day. Leaving the faucet running while we wash our dishes, brush our teeth and shave for just two minutes is equal to 3-5 gallons of water. Turning the faucet on only when necessary can save thousands of gallons of water a year, not to mention the energy and money to heat it. According to water.org, “The average American individual uses 100 to 176 gallons of water at home each day. The average African family uses about 5 gallons of water each day”
5. Clean-Up – Cleaning With Universal Household Cleaners
We use them, buy them and store them in our houses; they make our kitchen’s sparkle and bathrooms sanitary, but many household cleaning products are far from safe – they’re bad for our health, the air we breathe and the oceans we swim in. Most universal cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that have serious adverse effects on humans, our households and the environment.
Everyday, bleaches, detergents and all-purpose cleaners are poured down drains, circulated through ventilation systems and disposed of improperly. Chemicals in these cleaners have tremendous environmental consequences including air and water pollution, ozone depletion, bioaccumulation of toxic substances in plants and animals and endocrine disruption in wildlife, affecting animal’s reproductive ability.
So what can you do? When buying any product, it’s important to read the product labels carefully. Many products will sport a label stating they are “organic,” “biodegradable” and “environmentally friendly” when in fact this may not be true. Pick cleaners that are certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), meaning the products are radiation and pesticide free and made with sustainable farming practices.
Now it’s time to take action and make some green footprints…
- Reconsider your use of plastic bags and make the switch to reusable cloth shopping and sandwich bags.
- Eliminate bottled water from your diet by switching to drinking filtered tap water and using stainless steel or glass water bottles.
- Discard your plastic goods properly in recycling bins around town or at home.
- Only turn the faucet on when needed instead of leaving the water running while washing dishes or brushing teeth.
- Invest in toxic-free household cleaning products that aren’t made up of harsh, harmful chemicals.