Tips for Living More Lightly
- Consider the question-paper or plastic? Producing plastic uses less energy and water and generates less air pollution and solid waste than paper. Plastic bags take up less space in the land fill but most of them end up in trees, fences, gutters, sewers, and waterways. The best alternative is to carry and re-use your own durable cloth bag.
- Consider the fact that the average use-life span of plastic dinnerware is about three minutes and a geological life of over a century. Eating in restaurants that use washable dishware is even more environmentally friendly than eating at home.
- Do all you can do to keep containers from the landfill. The three Rs of waste reduction are reduce, reuse (refurbish and repair), and recycle.
- First ask, “Do I really need this?” Second, where can I purchase this second hand? Third, buy quality goods that last.
- Use your zip code on the Earth 911 website. Learn local opportunities for keeping all kinds of things out of the land fill.
- Choose aluminum or glass over plastic. Most of the plastic you recycle does not actually get recycled, whereas recycling aluminum saves 90% of the energy cost of production and reduces 95% of the air pollution and 97% of the water pollution. Recycling glass saves 50% of the raw materials, 50% of the water, and 33% of the energy and it reduces air pollution by 20%. Using refillable bottles saves four times the energy of using new bottles and 100% on materials.
- Post consumer recycling not only saves trees but reduces the energy used in paper making by 50% and air pollution by 74% and water pollution by 35%.
- Reduce your junk mail. Paper has three major environmental impacts: destruction of forests, dioxin production in chlorine bleaching, and disposal in landfills (approximately 40% of landfill waste). For every 150 pounds of paper you reduce, reuse, or recycle you save a tree.
- Plan ahead for major projects. Home projects and cleanups generate huge amounts of waste. Think what can be sold, donated, and recycled before taking it to the landfill
- Packaging accounts for about 60% of the paper in landfills and about 25% of the total landfill space. Americans produce more than twice the landfill waste as other first world countries such as Germany and Japan.
EarthScore: Your Personal Environmental Audit & Guide ISBN 0-9629069-6-4 (Source for tips 2, 6, 7, 8, and 10)
The Consumers Guide to Effective Environmental Choices, The Union of Concerned Scientists, ISBN:0-609-80281-X
Recycle your cell phone