During this heavily laden political season, I feel like I cannot really make a difference. NPR this morning had a program on environmental issues and their closing remarks were that we should make our vote count for the environment. Which candidate is more for saving the environment should be our first and foremost question. We can each make a difference environmentally. Here are some things to think about.
Napkins: Americans use an average of 2000 napkins each annually. If we used just one less each it would save a billion pounds of landfill waste a year in the US.
Meat: It takes 2500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. That doesn't even count the trees lost for fast food chains that graze cows where rainforests used to stand or the fuel to get beef to market.Even one meatless day a week would make a huge difference.
Plastic Bottles: A bottle of water is so convenient and I think we are all drinking more water because of them, but did you know the EPA has more stringent rules for the safety of tap water than the FDA has for bottled water? And consider the land fill problem. Let's start cutting back on plastic bottles.
Paper: Print on both sides and cut your paper and ink costs in half and dispose of half the volume.
Cell Phones: Recycle your old cell phone. More than 130 million phones go into landfills a year.
Dishwashers: If you have a dishwasher that was produced in the last 10 years, you do not need to rinse dishes before loading them. You will save 20 gallons of water per load by eliminating this step.
Cotton Swabs: If 10% of users in the US switched to paper spindle swabs as opposed to plastic spindles which are petroleum based, the savings would be the equivalent of 150,000 gallons of gas.
Of course we all know the common sense ideas: avoid disposable anything, donate, give away, reuse, plan your route efficiently each day, unplug, switch off, change lightbulbs and be smart about what you buy. In today's world, it is sometimes really difficult to avoid what we know is not the best, but if we strive to be better each day, it just might make a difference.