|Many people realize that there are problems that result in environmental damage to our
surroundings as well as to our
oceans, but feel powerless to make any significant change. This page gives
suggestions as to what people can do to help reduce this damage. Most of
the pressures on the environment are a result of the fast growing world population. The more people reduce their negative impact, the faster
the environmental damage problems can be stopped.
Our oceans are vast, yet fragile. It is known, without a doubt, that the oceans are
greatly effected by human activities. Whether right on the coast or
thousands of miles inland, human actions have a direct impact on what happens
to our seas.
Many of the following suggestions involve only small changes in daily habits,
but these will
result in a great reduction in the human ecological footprint. To find areas
of interest, the suggestions are separated into the following
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Environment and Save your money
Environment and Reduce your Health Risk
Other Ways to Help
We are always looking for more ideas. Please send
us an email if you have one which is not included below. We will give
credit for your suggestion if it is added.
|First, some information about the basics: the 3 R's. Most of us know we should Reduce, Reuse
and Recycle, but what does this mean and why.
Reduce because while
recycling is important, it is not enough.
|Every year in the
U.S. we dispose of:
1 billion foil-lined fruit juice boxes
2 billion used batteries
25 billion Styrofoam cups
700,000 old TVs
1.6 billion disposable pens
700,000 junked cars
2 billion disposable razors
15 million tons of food
16 billion disposable diapers
- To avoid waste, buy only those products
you need or use.
- Make sure those products you do purchase are durable and long
lasting rather than having only temporary utility.
- Reduce your use of disposable products.
- Buy products which have little or no packaging. In 2000,
almost 1/3 of trash was packaging and containers.
- Avoid food packaged in individual servings. Buy in bulk. It saves
Reduce unwanted mail by instructing companies
you do business with to not sell or give away your name and address.
Write to Mail Preference Service, c/o Direct Mail Marketing
Association, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, New York 11735 or call (212)
768-7277 to be removed from national mailing lists.
- Continue to read through this page for more suggestions.
By reducing the amount of total products consumed, precious resources
can be saved. Almost all products require the use of non-renewable resources (resources which one day will no longer
be available). It also takes a great deal of
energy to produce, transport and then recycle materials. Each step
adds waste as well as greenhouse gas emissions (see graph below [image and text source:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency]), and often many other pollutants. "In
the process of making the end products we actually use, some 93 percent
of materials used in production do not end up in saleable products but
in waste, while 80 percent of products are discarded after a single
use." (WRI, World Resources 1998-99). "In 2003, U.S.
residents, businesses, and institutions produced more than 236 million
tons of municipal solid waste, which is approximately 4.5 pounds of
waste per person per day." (www.EPA.gov). Of this, only 30% is
currently recycled or composted. In the United States, the amount
of waste per person has increased by over 65% during the past 40
years. In 1960, the per person amount of
waste was 2.7 pounds per person per day (source: EPA.gov).
The image above illustrates the four main stages of product
life cycles, all of which provide opportunities for greenhouse gas
and/or offsets. These stages are: raw material acquisition,
manufacturing, recycling, and waste management.
Reuse because a product consumes little or no energy and
- Buy high quality products that will have a long life.
- Repair broken items rather than just discarding and buying new
- Donate items to charity or resell if still in good condition.
- Reuse bags, boxes, and containers.
- Use both sides of paper when printing or copying.
- Use backyard composting for disposing of table scraps.
- Use rechargeable batteries.
it saves raw materials, reduces greenhouse gas and other industrial gas emissions,
reduces energy consumption and reduces the flow of trash filling landfills. If an average American family of four were to
recycle all of its mixed plastic waste, nearly 340 pounds of carbon
equivalent emissions could be reduced each year. Currently, the U.S.
recycles only about 30% of its waste, which results in a greenhouse gas reduction equal to removing nearly
25 million cars from the road.
- Buy recycled products or products with a high-recycled material
- Use recycling facilities in your area for household recyclable
materials such as glass, plastic, tin, aluminum and paper products.
There are a number of changes that can reduce your impact on the environment and save you money at the same time.
Walk, bike or
carpool if possible.
Make fewer trips and shop locally.
Web shop to reduce car trips.
if it is an option.
When you do drive
vehicle well tuned because it will use less fuel.
Keep your tires
well inflated because they will last much longer and use less
Use fuel-efficient or alternate fuel vehicles.
Ethanol-based fuels do less damage to the environment.
Don't top off at
the gas station because all the little spills add up.
Avoid hard acceleration of your car.
Keep your speed down.
Share car trips with others.
Plan your trips to avoid unnecessary miles.
Travel outside the rush hour to avoid
Remove unnecessary items from inside your car
to reduce weight.
Remove unnecessary roof
racks to reduce wind resistance.
Use less electricity. Turning lights, computers, TVs and other electronics off when
not in use will
lower your utility bill significantly. Electrical energy production is
one of the biggest sources of carbon dioxide pollution.
time you choose a compact fluorescent light bulb over an
incandescent bulb, you'll lower your energy bill and, on average, keep
half a ton of carbon dioxide out of the air (source: www.nrdc.org).
Turn off lights and all other electrical equipment
when not in use.
Choose pots and pans that match the stove top
heating area. Putting lids on pots and pans while heating can save
your energy consumption (Electrolux).
Use programmable thermostats for heating and
cooling. Heat or cool only the rooms you are actually using.
Set your thermostat a couple of degrees lower in
the winter and a couple of degrees higher in the summer.
Insulate your home and water heater.
Only run your dishwasher and clothes washer when they are full.
Buy energy conserving appliances that will save substantial
money in the long run.
Clean or replace your air-conditioner and heater filters as
Defrost your freezer if it does not have a
frost-free feature because it will then use less energy.
If you live in a sunny, warm climate, plant trees next to your house
to reduce the heat from the sun and reduce the need for
below for more information).
Seek out power companies that produce electricity using less environmentally
taxing methods (wind, solar, etc.).
Use LED holiday lights and turn them off when you are not there
to enjoy them. LED bulbs use as little as a tenth of the energy
used by mini-bulbs
and a hundredth of incandescent bulbs.
- Don't waste food.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
as much as 27% or 97 billion pounds of food went to waste in
- Buy only what you will use while food is fresh.
- Prepare and serve only as much as you will eat and store leftovers in
reusable containers for later use.
- Compost your green waste.
Landscape with native plants that need less or no water.
water-efficient showerheads, faucets, and toilets.
Run your dishwasher and clothes washer only when it is
Use less paper
Print on both sides of the paper and reduce the width of margins
and font sizes.
Use cloth napkins instead of paper products.
Use towels and sponges as an alternative to paper
Use reusable gift bags and boxes, not single use wrapping
paper. Solid waste increases by over 25% from Thanksgiving until New
Year's, partly as a result of wrapping and packaging. This adds up to
over 4 million pounds of waste during these months (source: www.EPA.gov).
Request that your bank or credit card company provide
electronic statements instead of paper statements through the
Read your news from a credible online source instead
of from a newspaper.
Use re-usable bags to carry the groceries rather than
using new paper bags each time.