EARTH DAY: Reduce the 1,600 pounds of waste you use yearly

April 22, 2013 Latest Print Print
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The average American produces 4.4 pounds of waste per day, 29 pounds per week and 1,600 pounds per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

With resources and technology available, recycling and reusing is simpler than ever. How can you stop leaving carbon footprints everywhere you go and save money too?

One way is by switching one or more lights in a home to Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs. If every home in America replaced one single light bulb with a CFL, it would save enough energy for three million homes to be lit for a year, save $600 million in energy costs per year and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse emissions annually. This is the equivalent of 800,000 cars, according to http://www.energystar.gov. CFLs can be bought at most stores, including Target and Walmart.

Plastic bags, which take up to 1,000 years to decompose, can be reused in a variety of ways, according to http://www.protectyourcentralcoast.org. Plastic bags can be taken back to the grocery store for reuse. They also can be used as trash bags, food container protectors, packing material, kneepads while gardening and for various crafts, according to http://www.greenliving.nationalgeographic.com. When they are past useful, they can be recycled. To find a drop-off location, visit http://www.plasticbagrecycling.org.

Instead of throwing away old clothes, electronics, household items or other things, donate those items. That not only reduces landfill waste but also helps those in need as well. Recycling laptops, cellphones and other electronic devices can help recover thousands of pounds of copper, silver, gold and palladium. To find a recycling store near you, visit http://www.epa.gov.

Clothing donations help fund the Paralyzed Veterans of America or the National Children’s Cancer Society through http://www.clothingpickupok.com. Other clothing charity companies include the Salvation Army, Goodwill, various thrift stores and more. To find locations, visit http://www.donationdropoff.org.

Americans throw away enough plastic forks, spoons, bottles and cups to circle the equator 300 times each year, according to http://www.cleanair.org. While most plastics can be recycled curbside or by a recycling center, they also provide material for fun, cute crafts. Http://ww.designrulz.com provides 45 easy ideas for reusing plastic bottles for crafts, including jewelry holders, Christmas ornaments, plant containers, decorations and many more.

Riding a bicycle instead of driving a car every now and then is a healthy way to help reduce pollution to the environment through fuel emissions and saves money by not buying gas. According to http://www.youcanbikethere.com, each car produces 1.3 billion cubic yards of polluted air, scattering an additional 40 pounds of worn tire particles, brake debris and worn road surface into the atmosphere during its lifetime.

There are many ways to recycle and reuse. Along with these websites, http://www.pinterest.com provides hundreds of creative ways to get involved.

For more information about ways to get involved, visit http://www.earthshare.org.

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