Recycling and Green Living
Surprising Ways to Save the Earth
You know you need to carpool and recycle, but what are some other ways to go green? Sustainability is about choices. If you want to save the earth, try these:
1. Use spray paint.
Don't tag the neighborhood. Use spray paint to rejuvinate things that might otherwise be thrown into the trash.
Spray paint can be used on any number of materials, from cloth to metal to plastic to wood. One $3 can of spray paint can be used to restore old furniture, lamps and lamp shades, bicycles, lawn furniture, rugs, cabinet hardware, metal heat registers, just about anything. Some items may need to be primed first (to help the paint stick), but luckily, they sell primer in spray cans as well.
So before you throw out anything old, see if it can't be revived with a can of spray paint first. It only takes minutes and saves perfectly good items from being tossed into the landfill. This is a sustainable choice that is fun and easy.
2. Stop eating fast food
Not only is fast food bad for your health, it is bad for the earth.
One fast food restaurant will generate over 100,000 pounds of trash in one year. And many people don't leave their trash AT the restaurant, such as people who pick up food in the drive-thru. They are taking the trash with them and depositing it elsewhere.
Very few fast food restaurants are even considering packaging that is recyclable or bio-degradable. So what should you do? Skip the fast food. Pack your lunch at home in reusable containers. It will be cheaper, better tasting, better for you, and better for the Earth.
3. Eat less beef.
You know that beef is bad for your heart and waistline, but do you know how bad beef is for the world? Raising cattle for slaughter consumes a huge amount of resources. In fact, it is one of the least efficient foods on the planet. In other words, a huge amount of energy goes in...but very little energy comes out.
Raising beef cattle contributes to:
- The destruction of the rain forest - Trees are cut down to make ranchland.
- High world food prices - 40% of the world's grain is fed to cattle instead of humans.
- Dependence on foreign oil - Over 200 gallons of oil are needed to raise one beef cattle.
- Water shortages - The water used to raise cattle feed accounts for 60-80 of freshwater consumption worldwide.
- Environmental damage - Raising cattle results in soil erosion and cesspools of rancid waste which leaks into groundwater.
Most westerners consume 4 to 5 times more protein than their bodies need to survive. Save beef for special occasions and save the planet.
4. Organize Your house
How can organizing your house save the earth? Many of us have so many things in our house, and our things are so disorganized, we don't know what we have. This leads to constantly buying duplicates at the store. Those duplicates, unfortunately, usually end up in the trash.
Let's say you need white ceiling paint. You know you have some...somewhere, but you just can't find it. So you go to the store and buy more.
Had your garage been organized and easy to access, you would find four more cans of white ceiling paint, two of which are now useless. Therefore, you toss the old ones in the trash. How is that environmentally responsible? How is that sustainable living?
5. Grow something besides grass.
With food prices soaring and our forests being cut down at a record pace, now it the time to start growing something more than a nice lawn.
Start by planting a tree. One tree removes 48 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, clearing up our air and providing oxygen to the atmosphere. Trees also help cut down heating and cooling costs. If you live in a cold climate, plant a row of trees on the northwest corner of your lot and watch your heating bills go down. If you live in a hot climate, plant trees all around your house to reduce your cooling costs.
Or try gardening. Anyone can do it. If you have a yard, or even a porch, start a small vegetable patch, or a berry patch. Try planting fruit trees. See How to Start a Vegetable Garden for instructions on how to start a garden. Growing your own food is cheap, fun, fulfilling, and delicious.
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