5 Terrible Things That Happen When You Don’t Recycle

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, America produces over 258 million tons of waste every year ― which is close to a ton of trash per American citizen. The EPA believes as much as 75 percent of that waste to be recyclable or reusable, but instead of properly disposing of unwanted goods, many Americans choose to carelessly toss anything and everything into the garbage can. The results of this behavior are quickly becoming disastrous, impacting not only natural environments but also urban areas and human livelihoods. Here are a few ways failing to recycle negatively impacts the world around us.

1. Landfill Growth
Nearly all of America’s trash goes into landfills, which are essentially gigantic midden heaps that are eventually covered with soil and potentially used for urban development. The positive idea behind landfills is that trash will eventually decompose and settle, turning into fertile land. The problem is that much of our waste is not biodegradable; plastics require between 10 and 1,000 years to begin breaking down, and even then, the chemicals used in them can leach into groundwater and destroy surrounding environments.


2. Marine Pollution

Not all garbage is safely tucked into a landfill. At least 10 percent of all plastics created have found their way into the oceans, creating enormous gyres where the non-biodegradable waste is more plentiful than plankton. Most of the pollution comes from poor waste management on land, but some is dumped by unscrupulous ocean liners. The plastics wreak havoc on marine environments, as animals ingest or become entangled in the waste.

3. Incineration

For many, burning trash seems a viable solution to land and water pollution. However, incineration might be even more disastrous than landfills. For one, many products and packaging materials are made using toxic chemicals that are released into the air during the burning process. For another, glass as well as many plastics do not burn except at exceedingly high temperatures, which requires excessive amounts of fuel ― which itself releases dangerous emissions. Studies have found that air pollution causes all sorts of terrible diseases, from chronic asthma and cancer to birth defects.

4. Resource Waste

It isn’t just the items or materials themselves that are wasted when you throw something away; all the effort and energy used to create those items are also squandered. Between 2.5 and 4 percent of U.S. energy consumption is devoted to the manufacturing of plastic and plastic products; what’s more, at least 24 gallons of water is used to create just one pound of plastic, and about 2.5 million plastic bottles are produced every hour. Those resources could be diverted to more beneficial endeavors if everyone recycled more.

5. Economic Trouble

Though it might seem an economic advantage to create disposable goods that must be repurchased, pollution actually hinders economic advancement in notable ways. For example, many beaches experience lower tourism because the sand and water is covered in trash; fishing and shipping industries have reportedly suffered losses of $365 million and $279 million thanks to debris-clogged waterways. Less trash is almost synonymous with more profit for much of the economy.

How to Reduce Trash the Right Way

Though some waste is inevitable, it is possible to drastically reduce the amount of trash you personally produce. For example, one woman committed to a minimal-plastic lifestyle and managed to produce less than 16 ounces of waste over a two-year period. Not everyone has the luxury of avoiding plastic and packaging so thoroughly, but there are a number of effective ways you can increase your recycling efforts.

• First, you should strive to reduce the amount of purchases you make. This doesn’t necessarily mean becoming minimalist; instead, you should merely consider investing in a few well-designed and manufactured products rather than many cheap and disposable ones.

• Next, you should research what objects around your home can be reused. In fact, most things can find new life, and many charities gladly pick up or take in items you don’t want to sell. Some of these items will directly improve the lives of the needy, but others, especially valuables like digital devices on up to larger items like broken-down cars or boats, can be refurbished and sold for funds to benefit charities.

• Finally, you should learn more about recycling services in your area. Not all cities have the resources to recycle all types of materials. Instead of tossing any paper, plastic, or glass good in the recycling bin, you might need to find facilities designed to recycle specific goods. Items that are improperly recycled are likely to end up as pollution.

The E-Waste Problem and How to Help created by Digital Doc

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint in 8 Different Ways

Climate change is an issue that is hanging like a sword above all of our heads. The planet is suffering due to the rising level of carbon pollution. We must try to reduce our carbon footprint to reduce some pressure on the environment. Let us look at 8 ways to do so. 


Reduce your Driving

Ditch your car and walk or ride a bike whenever possible. Carpool to work or school and choose public transport as much as you can. Simple steps like that help in cutting down CO2 emissions significantly by spreading them out over many riders.


Reduce Water Usage 

You can reduce your water consumption by washing your car less often, installing drip irrigation to ensure that the plants receive only the amount they need and using climate-appropriate plants at your home. You must make water-efficient choices when you purchase bathroom and kitchen fixtures such as shower heads, dishwashers, faucet heats, etc. I 

Reuse and Recycle

When you make any product from scratch, you have to use a lot of energy on extracting resources, manufacturing them, packaging and transporting them. You can help in reducing the carbon footprint by using recycled products and reusing goods such as plastic bottles and glass containers


Use Alternative Sources of Energy

You can reduce your consumption of fossil fuels by using alternative sources of energy. Use wind, hydro, solar and geothermal energy and try to advocate about the same.


Light Up Differently 

Switch your light bulbs at home with light emitting diodes (LED). One LED helps in reducing up to 2000 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution during its lifetime. Therefore, by switching every light bulb with them you can drastically reduce the amount of electricity required to light up your house. Imagine what would happen if every house in the country did that!

Read the News Thoughtfully

There has been an ongoing debate of whether consuming news digitally is actually better than its print cousin. It has been said that reading the news digitally helps in saving trees as you no longer have to cut them to make paper, however, at the same time it has been argued that even surfing the web expends various amounts of energy depending on the device being used. The best way to go about it is to be mindful of how you choose to get your news. If you prefer print, recycle your papers instead of throwing them out. If you like the digital medium, opt for an unplugged laptop instead of a plugged-in device for the majority of your browsing time.

Telecommute and Teleconference 

Telecommuting is the practice of doing work remotely using the internet instead of fighting against the traffic to do the same work in an office. More and more companies are encouraging their employees to telecommute as it is quite effective. Long gone are the days when companies would send their employees to long distances via flights just to attend one meeting. It’s a waste of time and burdens the environment with huge amounts of CO2. Cut down a few trips and teleconference instead. You can’t completely reduce your CO2 footprint through these practices, but as they say — something is better than nothing.  


Plant a tree

Sounds obvious, but it is still one of the most efficient ways to slashing your carbon footprint. Trees not only provide shade and oxygen but also consume carbon dioxide. According to Urban Forestry Network, a single young tree is responsible for absorbing 13 pounds of carbon dioxide every year. As the tree grows, this amount adds up to 48 pounds. A 10 year old tree releases enough oxygen to support two human beings. So, go ahead and plant more trees!

By making smart and informed decisions such like recycling waste will go a long way in making the planet a little greener. 

Author Bio 
Erich Lawson is passionate about saving environment by effective recycling. He has written a wide array of articles on how modern recycling equipments can be used by industries to reduce monthly garbage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment savings techniques by visiting Northern California Compactors, Inc blog

Stop Littering Now Please! Stoplittering.com explains why and how!

Here is the thing. I do recycle religiously. My family knows this. Yet I’m not the main advocate here. It’s stoplittering.com

His website is selling the rights to a litter-free society. 

To symbolize and implement this enterprise we are selling stuff with our logo. By purchasing these items you will become authorized* to exercise your prerogative to pick up one or more pieces of litter a day. And, by actually engaging this prerogative, you are, in effect, voting for a clean society and helping to stigmatize littering. And you won’t feel like you’re the weird one for picking up litter at the bus stop since you won’t be the only one doing it.*products not actually required to exercise said authority.

What got me intetested was their campaign about 

JUST SAY NO TO STRAWS! 

FYI, their Green Living Guy support was the awesome bamboo shirt they sent.  Get ready to check out on my Instagram @greenlivingguy soon enough!!

Besides that I received no other compensation for this post folks. 


http://thelastplasticstraw.org/

Is an important resource and their strength, product lines and involvement in this issue is extremely important. 

As I wrote about in 2016 regarding plastic waste:

From drones to filters to artificial islands, innovators are working to reduce the threat thousands of tons of trash pose to marine ecosystems.

Located on the southern tip of the Pacific island chain of Hawaii, Kamilo Beach is an isolated stretch of black volcanic shoreline in the middle of nowhere. Just a few hundred yards from shore, humpback whales rise up from the depths, colorful fish fill the reefs and rare sea turtles swim in to nest on the beach.


Photo courtesy of Honolulu Civil Beat

But even in this remote place, garbage washes ashore each day. “We find a lot of toothbrushes and combs, plastic bottles and caps, over and over again,” says Megan Lamson, a marine biologist working for a local non-governmental organization, the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund. (Source: Anja Krieger @anjakrieger)

In response to the growing anti-plastic movement, the paper drinking straw made a comeback in 2007 to meet the needs of zoos, aquariums and theme parks where plastic straws could kill animals if ingested. These new paper straws were crafted with the highest quality in mind, becoming much more durable than the first generation of paper straws. The earth conscious product soon took off among both restaurants and consumers, and is growing increasingly popular because of worldwide green initiatives.

Americans use approximately 500 million plastic straws per day, making them one of the top 10 debris items that pollute our oceans, beaches and marine life. Paper straws, which are biodegradable and decomposable, offer an earth friendly alternative to the harmful plastic straw. However, trusting that your paper straw won’t get soggy, deteriorate or bleed ink into your drink is another concern that most don’t consider.

Some plastic gets trucked to landfills, some to illegal dumping grounds and left to scatter, more is just recklessly discarded joining tons of the toxic stuff already cluttering our waterways. The latest research unmistakably proves that plastic waste toxins are being fed right back to us. It’s time to start producing less plastic trash – for our own health’s sake.


So as Stoplittering.com quotes:

“If I criticize somebody, it’s because I have higher hopes for the world, something good to replace the bad. I’m not saying what the Beat Generation says: ‘Go away because I’m not involved.’ I’m here, and I’m involved.” ~Mort Sahl

Green Roofs Are The Urban Gardens Of The Future

Urban areas are known for their convenience, not their green spaces. Living in a city generally means trading wide open spaces for walkability, but that trade-off comes with a price– without space, gardening doesn’t seem like a possibility for a lot of people. When your yard is confined to a tiny concrete patio or balcony, what can you do?

The answer may lie in green roofs. For the most part, the flat roofs of city buildings are essentially wasted space. A properly outfitted, planted, and maintained green roof can be effectively used to combat hunger and possibly even slow climate change.

Source: Flickr

Creating a Green Roof

As tempting as they might sound, creating and maintaining a green roof is more than just putting down some soil and commencing planting. Soil and water are extremely heavy, and many roofs may not be structurally sound enough to support them. Waterproofing and drainage can also become an issue for old, sunken, poorly-sealed roofs. It’s vitally important to level the surface too, to keep water from pooling, stagnating, and contributing to leaks or mold growth.

Planning the Layout

With your roof level and fully open to the sky, you can plan your layout based on what will be easiest for you to maintain. Have an idea of how large each plants will get at maturity to avoid crowding and shadowing. Avoid grouping plants with different needs together– for example, plants that require a lot of fertilizer with those that prefer poor soil.

Preparing the Soil

Image Credit: Flickr

For a green roof, you may actually want to skip soil. One of the major things to consider is the degree of evaporation most roofs deal with. Organic compost typically retains water better than soil does, and some rooftop gardeners find that their plants do best in pure compost. If you plan to grow plants that require well-drained soil, use organic compost for soil augmentation. Since drainage is also a factor, there must be a drainage layer and waterproof membrane between the soil and the roof itself. Landscaping fabric will help keep the growing medium from filtering down into the drainage layer. The growing medium sits atop the landscaping fabric, and an additional layer of mulch above that can help protect roots, deter pests, and reduce evaporation.

Watering

To save water, consider adopting some xeriscaping principles. Rely on natural rainfall as much as possible, and group plants together based on their water needs. If space, weight, and pollution allow, consider installing a rain barrel to capture rainfall for later use. If that isn’t an option, a hose spigot can be a lifesaver. Water is heavy, and carrying bucket after bucket up to a roof to water vegetables may soon prove to be more trouble than it’s worth.

Choosing the Right Plants

The best plants for a green roof love the sun and don’t mind drought. You’ll avoid excess water weight on your roof, and your plants won’t burn and wilt under the hot sun. Rhubarb, Swiss chard, sweet potato, eggplant, okra, mustard greens, peppers, chickpeas, and lima beans are some drought-tolerant plants that may do well on a roof. Some plants function as “companion plants” in gardens, reducing disease and pest exposure and encouraging growth. For example, aromatic herbs function as pest-repellent. Calcium-depleting plants like broccoli should be planted near plants that don’t require as much, like beets.

Source: Project Verts

A lot of publications treat green roofs as a fad, but that couldn’t be further from reality. Rooftop gardens produce food for urban communities, reduce people’s dependence on unsustainable produce, sequester carbon dioxide, and help reduce urban heat problems. While gardening has long been the purview of rural and suburban communities, urban green roofs may be the sustainability wave of the future.

Top 10 Reported Causes of Water Contamination

While many of us think of water contamination as something that happens outside of the United States, US public water supplies are pushed to their limits more and more each year as the demand for clean and contaminant-free drinking water grows with the public. As best efforts are made by those in charge of water purification and the monitoring of public water health, slip ups happen and some issues are left free to slide by.

On average, most Americans have access to some of the most advanced water supply systems in the world. Although advanced water systems are in place, drinking water outbreaks and even boil water notices may be more common than believed. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported on top causes for public drinking water outbreaks and included public exposure to some of the following bacteria, microorganisms, and substances to be the cause for many public water contamination illnesses.

1. Giardia– This microscopic parasite is often cause for a diarrheal illness known as giardiasis.

2. Legionella– A bacterium that, when digested, can lead to a lung infections known as Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac Fever.

3. Norovirus– This highly contagious virus can cause stomach and intestine inflammation. Vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain are common side effects of drinking this kind of contaminated water.

4. Shigella– The bacteria that causes the stomach infection Shigellosis. Stomach problems, diarrhea, and fever can occur but will not likely require hospitalization. 

5. Campylobacter– The bacterium causes Campylobacteriosis. Side effects are very similar to Shigellosis.

6. Copper– While this metal may sound harmless and common to the average water consumer, it can actually be cause for stomach irritation when ingested at high levels. Extreme levels of copper can damage the liver and kidneys.

7. Salmonella– If you thought raw chicken and eggs were nasty, try drinking water contaminated with salmonella. This common bacteria causes 1.2 million illnesses each year in the USA. Severe diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps can lead to 12 to 72 hours of painful sickness.

8. Hepatitis A– When found in water, Hepatitis A can lead to serious liver problems. 

9. Cryptosporidium– This microscopic parasite causes the disease Cryptosporidosis. Its most common symptom is diarrhea.

10. Excessive Fluoride- While many public water supplies are intentionally laced with this element to improve oral health, it can be cause for concern when consumed at incorrect levels. Incorrect measurement of fluoride levels can lead to a condition known as fluorosis which damages the teeth and bones. Prevention of this mineral overdose can be done using the correct water filter.

Water safety is an issue, which should not be taken lightly as the dire effects of contaminated water can cause anything from slight temporary pain and discomfort to life altering illness, ailments, and health conditions. When the well-being of individuals is put in jeopardy due to the contaminants in a public water supply, no amount of mineral, bacteria, or other harmful substance should be justifiable in a water source that you and your family use daily. If protecting your family is a priority, simply installing a water filter or water purification device in your own home may be the simple solution you need for such a serious problem.

Read on to also learn facts about boil water notices and what you can do to protect you and your family in the event of one.

Boil Water Alerts Infographic