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

Sustainable Tourism Along Dominican Republic’s North Coast for Green Living Guy and Green Travel Girl

Since Green Travel Girl just relaunched we thought it best to set it off with a trip to the Dominican Republic. This event was fully sponsored and we thank them for it. 

The North Coast region, which includes Samaná, Cabarete and Puerto Plata, is comprised of pristine beaches, lush green valleys and palm-covered mountains. The beautiful landscape provides a wide-range of sustainable attractions unique to Dominican Republic. From nature trekking to snorkeling, this was an ideal trip for travelers with a passion for exploration, adventure and supporting the local economy.

Green Travel Girl Amanda got to:

Sourcing: Amanda Monique @amandamonique1_wanderlust, The Original Green Travel Girl
Sourcing: Amanda Monique @amandamonique1_wanderlust, The Original Green Travel Girl

Slide down waterfalls at the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua

Snorkel the coral reefs of Sosua Bay

Experience the ultimate in watersports in Cabarete, the Kite Surf Capital of the World

Learn about sustainable and aquaponic farming practices of area resorts

Participate in a surf lesson

Tour the Amber Mine

Go for a swim and hike at Blue Lagoon Cenote

Took in the sites from the Teleférico Cable Car in Puerto Plata

Sourcing: Amanda Monique @amandamonique1_wanderlust, The Original Green Travel Girl
Sourcing: Amanda Monique @amandamonique1_wanderlust, The Original Green Travel Girl
Sourcing: Amanda Monique @amandamonique1_wanderlust, The Original Green Travel Girl

Not only is sustainable tourism an incredibly important component of any economy, but the United Nations has declared 2017 “The Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development,” which adds another interesting angle to share with your readers, who are so passionate about sustainability.

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

Finding Impactful Ways to Fight Food Waste Epidemic

New AAEA member research on how people react to real-life solutions

The United Stated Department of Agriculture estimates between 30 and 40 percent of the country’s food supply is wasted. In fact, in 2015 U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the first-ever national food waste goal; hoping to reduce food waste by 50 percent before 2030.

There are several efforts in place to curb food waste, including composting and campaigns to show the impact of throwing food away. But are they working?

Danyi Qi and Brian Roe of The Ohio State University recently conducted an experiment in which people got free lunch in a cafeteria setting and were given different information about if, or how, leftover food would be handled.

        Roe, who leads the Ohio State Food Waste Collaborative, says this is a critical issue that “people can rally around, but there isn’t one set way to combat the problem.

        “(The country) is moving forward with a lot of good ways to reduce food waste,” Roe said, “but what ways are working in harmony and which are working in conflict?”

        What happens when people know if food is being composted? How does guilt play a role in food waste? Those questions and more are analyzed in a paper by Qi and Roe titled “Foodservice Composting Crowds out Consumer Food Waste Reduction Behavior in a Dining Experiment.”

        This research will be presented during an AAEA session at the Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) 2017 Annual Meeting, in Chicago, January 6-8. If you are interested in setting up an interview with the authors, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 20 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices. To learn more, visit www.aaea.org.

Illustrated Guides to Reducing Home Plastic Use

Got an email from the Green Living Editor for Fix’s lifestyle blog. They’ve recently published an illustrated article on reducing plastic use in your home that you may enjoy. The article includes guides to the types of hazardous daily plastics and how long those plastics may stick around.

Here is ONLY a segment. 

Carry Your Own Reusable Water Container or Coffee Cup with You

Here’s where we give you permission to buy yourself a little gift. By purchasing a stainless steel (the aluminum ones are lined with plastic) or glass water bottle and/or an insulated or ceramic coffee cup, you’ll easily avoid plastic on a daily basis. Buy the most beautiful one that you can find.

Bring Your Own Eating Utensils
My mind can’t even wrap itself around all the plastic knives, forks, and spoons that are tossed into the garbage can every day, much less every month or year. Keep a set of personal cutlery in your car or purse in a cloth bag. Tuck a stainless steel straw in there, too.

For the entire story on Fix.com!

Life of plastics