Did you know that 80% or more of thrown out items that end up in landfills, could have been recycled? Renewal and “green” living starts at home, and it’s not as difficult to incorporate this into our lifestyles as some might assume. Here are three things you should know about going green at home, including easy tips for improvement, the benefits of going green, and some sobering facts about the environment.
1. The Impact of Wasteful Practices
Did you know that about 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated waste, sewage water, and storm water are dumped into U.S. waters every year? And on top of that, about 14 billion tons of garbage are dumped into the oceans. This waste not only has a detrimental impact on our environment, but also, our health. The EPA estimates that at least 100,000 marine mammals alone, such as dolphins, whales and otters, die from either ingesting or becoming entangled in debris. Many medical communities have been sounding the alarm that the rate of antibiotic resistant bacterium are increasing, and one reason is that antibiotics often enter drinking water after being improperly disposed of, rather than recycled.
2. Going Green at Home, Easily
To start with, most substances have labels which clearly state how they should be properly recycled. Pharmaceutical disposal, for example, can be collected during community drug take-back programs, according to the FDA. If there are no instructions and no program available, mix them with an undesirable substance, such as kitty litter, and throw them out in a sealed bag. Water conservation is also important to practice at home. Over burdening our local reservoirs is taxing on the environment, and water bottle pollution in particular is currently a big problem. Approximately 2 million tons of water bottles end up in landfills every year.
3. What Can I Recycle at Home?
Almost everything can be recycled, from plastic wrappings to styrofoam. Plastic, cans, papers, glass, cardboard, compost, and electronic waste can all be recycled. If U.S. recycling levels could reach 75% efficiency, the environmental benefit would be the same as removing 50 million cars, and it would generated an estimated 1.5 million new jobs. Research shows that appropriate labeling of your recycling bins will help encourage you to place items there, rather than the trash.
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