The EPA estimates that “between 1960 and 2008 the amount of waste each person creates has almost doubled from 2.7 to 4.5 pounds per day.”
With the Copenhagen Summit dominating our news cycles and as the promises of world statesmen are heard across nations, the issues of climate change and environmental damage are rising to prominence for many.
The Holy Trinity of Conservation – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – can easily be implemented by ordinary people on a daily basis. The impact on the environment will be significant and more than that, the effort taken to make more eco-friendly changes to our lifestyles is minimal.
Reducing the amount of material consumed in your home and work is the first step to promoting a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Even the smallest change – using both sides of a sheet of paper for example, means less waste. Source: http://www.globalstewards.org
A Week of Change
For each day of the week, here is a suggestion for how to make small changes around your home and workplace, reducing consumption to preserve the environment. The effort on our parts will be minimal – but implemented on a larger scale, could lead to a positive impact on the world around us. Here are five tips, for Monday to Friday – let’s take the weekend off!
Set up a compost pit in your backyard or near your trash can. Every time you use bio-degradable materials such as food peels, rotten vegetables or fruit, put it in your compost pit rather than in the trash can. If you have a large enough garden, you can use this as fertiliser. It will decompose quickly in your garden and will do your plants and flowers a world of good! If you don’t have a large garden for this, see if your local authority has a landfill site or their own compost pit. Collect this waste and take it to this site on a weekly basis – or daily, depending on your consumption!
Buy recycled or alternative sourced paper. Printer-friendly recycled paper is available in most stationery shops so there’s no need to sacrifice quality. Conservatree estimates that a tonne of non-recycled paper uses up 12 trees’ worth of pulp. A carton of copier paper uses six trees.
Writer Claudia Thompson quotes a study on paper technology – it takes roughly 24 trees to make a tonne of writing and printing paper. This number changes depending on the technology used to make paper.
Conservatree calculates the trees saved by using recycled paper withthe following formula:
(1) Multiply the number of trees needed to make a ton of the kind of paper you’re talking about (groundwood or freesheet), then
(2) multiply by the percent recycled content in the paper.
1 ton (40 cartons) of 30% postconsumer content copier paper saves 7.2 trees
1 ton of 50% postconsumer content copier paper saves 12 trees.
Try to buy local produce rather than imported. Reducing the air miles that food, clothes, books or electronics have to travel to get to you can really help.
See if your local supermarkets, shops or electronics departments sell the same, or similar, goods. You may find a great replacement if you’re unlucky!
Reducing the number of times a dishwasher is run in a house is another great way to help protect the environment.
Large amounts of electricity and water is used up to wash dishes; this naturally varies from one brand to the next.
Substituting at least two rounds of dishwasher use a week – and doing those dishes by hand instead – will hugely impact the amount of water your household consumes.
When you leave a room, turn off all the lights and unplug electric devices. Sometimes we forget about a small desk lamp or a computer on standby. If such devices can be left plugged in without using up energy – eg. the plug points themselves have on/off switches, it’s OK to leave them plugged in so long as you turn it off.
Conserving electricity, even for a few hours a day, reduces your carbon footprint a great deal.