Want to help save the planet? 3 things you can do right now!
We all want to do more to keep our planet healthy, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. I am going to share three ways to get started. There is absolutely no doubt that we are really hard on our planet. The amount of garbage we dump into our environment has long lasting and far reaching effects on so many aspects of our world. We are filling up landfills at an astonishing rate, which can cause ground, air, and water pollution. Plus, who wants a landfill in their backyard? Not me, but we are running out of space fast. We are wrecking our clean water supplies, and polluting our environment by shipping products halfway around the world. However, all is not lost! If you can incorporate the following ideas into your world, you will make a huge difference to the planet. Simple changes can make a huge impact, so grab your superhero t-shirt and let’s get started!
1. Recycle. Seriously, you should at least try to recycle bottles, glass, and cans. If you have a city program, then you can recycle even more. Recycling saves a lot of room in the landfill, but this is only part of the benefits of recycling. Recycling can dramatically reduce the amount of resources and energy expended to make new products. It reduces pollution and conserves resources- it’s a win-win. Recycle as much as you can, and always look for opportunities to recycle at home and away from home. Another way to recycle is repurposing. Instead of tossing out old furniture or household goods, consider donating them to a charity, neighbor, or thrift store. Upcycling is super trendy right now- you might even make a few bucks.
Another important area of recycling is electronics. Electronic waste, or E-waste, includes appliances and electronic devices. The onset of the tech boom has left behind mountains of discarded electronics that take up a lot of space in the landfill and can pollute land and water reservoirs. Electronic waste is very toxic to the environment, and many states regulate the disposal of e-waste. So, what do you do with all of your discarded or outdated electronics and appliances? Many stores offer electronic recycling. Computers and other electronics are always welcome at schools, churches, and other social clubs. Be sure that electronics are properly erased and then pass them along to another user. If you have to discard it, find a local company that will recycle it safely.
2. Reduce your water use. When you look at a map of the world, it is easy to see that we are surrounded by water. However, according to the EPA, only about 1% of the water on Earth is available for human use. We are dumping chemicals and pollutants into our water supplies at a considerable pace, so it is difficult and costly to clean up. Try to save as much clean water as possible- it’s easier than you think. There are a thousand ways to reduce water usage around your home. Pick a few, or more, and do your part. Clean drinkable water is a very precious resource. Many of our waterways are polluted, and we are draining wells at a remarkable pace. We don’t even have to think about going to the faucet and having access to clean water- we take it for granted.
If you are looking for ways to reduce water usage, look outdoors. It is estimated that outdoor water use accounts for about 30% of total water use. That’s a lot! First, make sure your sprinklers and watering systems are working well and set for maximum efficiency. Also, run the sprinklers on a manual cycle to identify leaks and ensure that you aren’t watering your sidewalk or driveway. If you want to kick things up a notch on your water saving mission, look for water-saving home appliances and fixtures. A quick chat with a plumbing expert at your local home store should supply you with plenty of practical and cost-effective ideas.
3. Shop local. The practice of shopping local has a lot of benefits. Shopping at local farmers markets means fresher fruits and vegetables that are locally grown. You can have a conversation with the grower and find out about their farming practices. Shopping locally has other benefits as well. You put money into your local economy and support small business owners, which is a deed filled with good karma. Shopping locally gives a boost to local farmers and vendors and supports the community.
You also reduce the impact of transporting products across the country. Have you ever thought about how many resources it takes to get produce across the country? A bunch. And transportation in gas-powered vehicles adds to air pollution as well. A quick internet search should point you in the right direction to local farmers markets and stores. It is definitely worth checking out! Have fun!
Cleaning up electronic waste. EPA. (2016) https://www.epa.gov/international-cooperation/cleaning-electronic-waste-e-waste
Water Sense. EPA. (2017) Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/watersense