Earth day: What YOU can do to help

We all know that it’s important to take care of our planet. What many of us aren’t too sure of, however, is what we can do as individuals to help make it better. Below are a few easy tips to point you in the right direction.

Energy & Waste

The average American produces more than four pounds of garbage per day. Over the course of a year, that is more than 1,600 pounds of garbage per person. Making small changes in your daily habits, like using cloth bags at the grocery store, using tupperware instead of plastic sandwich bags, and starting a compost pile can all add up in the long run.
Almost half of the food in the U.S. goes to waste – approximately 3,000 pounds per second. One big reason for this is that people buy only the “pretty”-looking vegetables at the store instead of the ones with a couple bumps and scratches, even though they’re perfectly fine to eat.

Plastic

In 2012, the U.S. produced 32 million tons of plastic. Only 9% was recovered for recycling. It takes about 450 years for plastic beverage bottles to break down in a landfill. The energy saved by recycling one plastic bottle can power a computer for 25 minutes.

Glass

It takes approximately 1 million years for a glass bottle to break down in a landfill. The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle will operate a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. Producing glass from new materials requires 30% more energy than using used glass. That’s why reusable water bottles are the name of the game! Take your Hydroflasks and Camelbaks into restaurants and stores and ask for them to be filled rather than consuming more glass and plastic bottles.

Paper

Americans use about 69 million tons of paper and paperboard each year. Preventing one ton of paper waste saves between 15 and 17 mature trees. By recycling 1 ton of paper, we save enough energy to heat a home for six months. Use paper sparingly– using both sides of the paper instead of just one will cut your waste in half just like that!

Water

Almost 97% of the world’s water is salty or otherwise undrinkable. Another 2% is locked in ice caps and glaciers. Only 1% is usable for agriculture, manufacturing, and personal needs. The average American uses about 100 gallons of water per day and more than 100,000 gallons of water per year. Turning dripping water off when it’s not in use, taking shorter showers, and fixing leaky faucets can make a big difference.
Every square mile of the oceans contains more than 46,000 pieces of floating plastic, and about 8 million metric tons of plastic goes into the ocean each year. Cutting down your plastic usage will help conserve water and save the ocean animals!

Earth Day is a great time to recognize what impact we have on our planet and to make positive changes for the rest of the year in an effort to make it better. Tell us what you did to celebrate Earth Day in the comments!

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