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Monday, February 27, 2017

Cooling Down the Eco-Friendly Way

Winter is (finally) almost over! As we march out of winter and into the warmer spring and summer months, one of the biggest things on people's minds is how to stay cool. However, as detailed in this article, simply running an air conditioner all season long has a significant deleterious effect on the environment. How, then, can you stay cool without contributing to global climate change? Here are some tips to get you through the warm season in an environmentally-conscious way:


  •  Use fans responsibly -- Since fans don't cool air they only move it, make sure that you turn your fans off when you leave the room. Doing this can significantly cut back on the power that you use to stay cool.
  • Blinds and windows can help -- Make sure that you leave these closed during the day and open them up at night when the air is cooler outside. Doing this can help filter out the heat from your home on hot days and will also cool your house down at night.
  • Weather Stripping -- Use weather stripping to seal air leaks around older windows and doors to prevent hot air from finding a way into your home.
  • Get Outside -- Go visit your local pool, river, or lake, and take a swim. If you live in a forested area, a dense tree cover can also filter out a lot of heat. Doing these things will cool you down naturally, and can give your air conditioner a break.
For more tips on how to keep yourself and your home cool, check out articles like this one. With a little preparation, and by following tips like these, you can make it through the spring and summer without polluting the environment.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

It’s Time to Ditch the Paper Receipt

We’ve all been there— at a clothing store, home goods shop, or market, when someone asks us: Would you like your receipt printed or emailed? I have a habit of saying printed, it’s quicker, easier, and guarantees I won’t get junk mail about special sales and offers. But even though a paper receipt may seem like a small piece of trash with little harm to the environment, it’s doing more damage than you think.
Image courtesy of The Guardian

Paper receipts create a shocking 1.5 billion pounds of waste per year. According to the Huffington Post, “Over 250 million gallons of oil, 10 million trees, and 1 billion gallons of water are consumed each year in the creation of receipts for the United States alone.” But luckily, many businesses are going green with an alternative option, electronic receipts. Some businesses have even started asking if you’d like a receipt at all.
Not only are electronic receipts good for the environment, they’re convenient, and won’t weigh down or clutter your wallet. So the next time a cashier asks you if you’d like your receipt printed or emailed, I urge you to think twice before you answer, and choose the more sustainable option.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

BP and the Environment

How many of us remember the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico back in 2010? According to an article called, 5 years after the Gulf oil spill: What we do (and don't) know found on CNN's website,  there was roughly 4.2 million barrels of oil that spilled into the Gulf and BP was responsible for the majority of the spillage. Naturally, this had a devastating affect and people from all around the world were in an uproar. 

(Greenpeace ‘occupies’ gulf oil rig)

This was a major issue and just a few years later, BP withdrew from multi-million dollar green energy programs that focused on low carbon technology and green energy technology. This caused their public image to suffer. Fortunately, BP has made a slow effort to ameliorate those mistakes by putting forth more of an effort to show compassion for the environment. In so doing, they have implemented environmentally friendly tactics and shared many of their operations on their company website. For example, with regard to oil spills, BP has vowed to improve how they control, contain, and clean up oil spills, in the event that they should happen again. As noted on their webiste, they regularly conduct oil spill exercises in order to ensure that they have a positive response in the eventuality of another oil spill. Their website mentioned the use of in situo buring, which when done correctly, will reduce the amount of oil in the water and reduce the effects that the burning may have on the environment, because the burning is controlled. 

Clearly, BP has done a great job at taking slow steps towards becoming a more environmentally friendly oil and gas company. To find out more about BP's attempts to satisfy an eco-friendly future click here!




Save Energy, Save Money


Predicting how our choices today might affect the future can bring on a lot of anxiety.  But thinking about what kind of world we want for future generations is an important aspect of sustainability.  While sustainable decisions are important on a global scale, the choices we make on a personal level are just as important.

Personal decisions we can make regarding energy consumption is an important part of preserving our future.  Much of the energy we are using today is wasted, and finding ways to save it won’t even impact our day to day lives.  But even if you aren’t particularly interested in the sustainability of energy, you too can save with these energy saving tactics.

1.       Wear the right clothes for the climate
CC0 Public Domain


What is the temperature outside?  Is it winter or summer?  What are you wearing right now?  How hard is your home heating or cooling system working to keep you comfortable?  By wearing the right clothes for the climate, you could save hundreds of dollars a year in heating and cooling costs.  So layer-up in the winter, and strip down in the summer.

2.       Set the temperature of your clothes washer to warm, not hot.

Lots of people use hot water to wash their clothing.  For certain clothing, this is a necessary setting for care.  But make sure you are only washing clothes that require that temperature.  When you are doing laundry that is OK to wash cold, make sure to turn down that temperature setting.  The savings in your water heating bill will be worth it, and the CO2 savings will be worth it as well.

3.       Turn off, or replace, your lighting.
CC0 Public Domain


Did you know that about 10% of your electric bill is made up of lighting cost?  An easy way to save energy is to get in the habit of turning off the lights when you leave the room.  If you are already doing this, great!  The next step is to start replacing you lighting with high efficiency LED lights.  LED lighting will last years, and these days, look pretty much the same as any other light.

4.       Check your refrigerator.

Your refrigerator uses more energy than almost anything in your home.  It is really important to make sure is running efficiently.  Check the temperature and set it between 35 and 38 degrees.  Another way to make your refrigerator efficient is to check the rubber seal that runs around the door.  Fix any loose seals so that cool air stays in.

5.       Install a ceiling fan.
CC0 Public Domain

Air conditioning is a great invention for those hot summer nights.  But did you know that your air conditioner is probably running 4 degrees cooler than it needs to be?  By installing a ceiling fan, and circulating the cool air in your home, you can raise the temperature in the summer and you will never know the difference.



By implementing even a few of these simple suggestions, you can reduce your CO2 footprint, as well as your electric bill.  You will be saving the world while saving your money!

Sources

Friday, February 24, 2017

Meet our Winter 2017 partner, Green Empowerment!

Along with updating the EcoMerge blog, the PSU EcoMerge capstone students partner with a different community partner each term, and create a website for that partner. This term, that partner is Green Empowerment.

malaysia2-715x498.jpg
Image courtesy of Green Empowerment

Green Empowerment strives to “improve access to affordable and renewable energy, safe drinking water, sanitation systems, and fuel efficient cook stoves” in rural communities around the world. The organization believes that these four technologies of living are necessary for a safe, dependable, and disease free life. To improve access to these things, Green Empowerment takes a variety of actions such as installing solar power water pumps in villages and providing them with wind turbines to bring power to homes and communities.

Green Empowerment works to improve the lives in a number of countries including The Philippines, Nicaragua, Peru, Ecuador, Malaysian Borneo, and Myanmar. The organization provides opportunities to volunteer here and Portland, or even abroad. Volunteers can work in the Portland office and help with administrative tasks, or they travel to the countries that Green Empowerment supports for six to twelve months and help communities in need. Whether it’s close to home or overseas, any volunteer effort makes a huge impact and supports the hard work that Green Empowerment does.

Jocote-boys-and-water-DSC_0957.JPG
Image courtesy of Green Empowerment

Check out Green Empowerment’s website here, and PSU EcoMerge’s website supporting Green Empowerment here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Natural Beauty

Eco-Friendly Makeup

Who would have thought that lotions, serums, mascaras and lipsticks could harmful to the air around us? With makeup being so universal and popular among men and women, one would think that beauty products aren't all that harmless. In actuality there are certain chemicals in beauty products that are harmful to the air around us. There are thousands of chemicals that are used to create beauty products and are not regulated by the government nor are they approved. Even though that is the case, beauty products are not going to be eliminated from everyday use anytime soon. It would be really difficult to avoid every synthetic chemical used in the products.

If you choose to use the products here are some chemicals to look out for:
    • Parabens
    • Synthetic Colors
    • Fragrance
    • Phthalates
    • Triclosan
    • Formaldehyde
    • Toluene
    • Propylene Glycol
    • Sunscreen Chemicals
    • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
Heres an article that goes in depth about the chemicals listed above: goo.gl/7L0qLY

Even though there are chemicals that should be avoided within beauty products there are other alternatives that are available for use. The solution being organic and natural beauty products. Eco friendly beauty products typically use organic formulas and are chemical free. Due to this, these products help make the air cleaner. The products are again eco friendly, uses natural fragrance, chemicals aren't as harsh, are nutrient-rich, and are gentler on the skin.

Below are are two videos of eco friendly advocating beauty gurus. Check it out! They can further tell you why natural beauty products are great and what natural products are out there!

1) Valerie Dapsis. Beauty guru who has a passion for natural, holistic, organic skincare, haircare, body care, makeup, nutrition, and home products.




2) Teri Miyahara, Founder of TERI MIYA HARA BEAUTY. Beauty guru dedicated to all-natural and cruelty-free living, not just for beauty products but for all aspects of lifestyle. 




Next time you use makeup think about the chemicals you are putting on your skin and in the air. So try an alternative and use natural and organic beauty products.
_________________________________________________________________________

SOURCES
1) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/organic-beauty-products-earth-day_n_5184712.html
2) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vanessa-cunningham/dangerous-beauty-products_b_4168587.html
3) http://www.myhairtrip.com/2014/02/eco-friendly-beauty/
4) http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/6-reasons-to-use-organic-makeup/
5) http://www.youtube.com

Sunday, February 19, 2017

How different methods of traveling affect the environment





      Almost everybody likes to travel and those that don't do it very often probably fantasize about doing it more. Our culture glorifies traveling as a way to experience life in a more meaningful way. We have all seen plenty of films where the stuffy business person who works too hard finally sees the light and decides to quit their job and travel the world. The final scene of the movie will show them packing their bags and picking a random destination on the board full of departures before boarding their plane to some adventurous location. The other common experience we all share is reading an article about somebody in their mid 30's who was successful early in life and now they travel the world and blog about it. They are living the dream. The problem is that every time I read one of these articles or watch one of those movies I’m left wondering, does the dream come at a cost? What kind of affect do all those plane rides have on the environment? So I decided to do some research.


     It turns out that the impact of flying on the environment is quite complex. Obviously airplanes run on jet fuel which produces your usual green house gases the same as a car or truck does. It even turns out that these fuels actually have about the same CO2 emissions per gallon as well. Also the aviation industry has made great strides to reduce their annual carbon footprint from previous years and have more improvements planned for the near future. Unfortunately research shows that air travel emissions are still worse then other forms of travel. When you run all the number and consider a multitude of factors planes end up being one of the worst way to fly green. Flying is worse the cars in most cases and behind trains in all cases. In fact traveling by train is the most environmentally responsible method. Riding the rails can accurately reduce emission from traveling by as much as 90%!


     If a train won't take you where you want to go, then there are a variety of factors that go in to picking the next best option. First off, flying by plane is almost always better than driving a long distance on your own. But driving gets the edge if you can load up passengers. In fact driving a fuel efficient car with 3+ passengers starts to approach the same carbon emission reduction as a traveling by train. Alas if you must travel by plan but you want to do so in the greenest way you can then here are some interesting facts to consider when booking your flight.

  • When you fly matters.

     This has to do with the contrails that are left in the sky by planes. They are the long white cloud like lines you see after a plane goes by. The effect of these contrails differs depending if your flying at night or during the day. During the day these contrails will actually reflect some of the suns rays away from the earth reducing temperatures. At night however, these contrails will act like a blanket that traps heat on the surface, raising temperatures. So skip the red eye and fly during daylight hours.

  • Pack in like sardines!


     Airplane seats are getting smaller and smaller and we all hate getting stuck in the middle of two complete strangers and feeling claustrophobic. While traveling on a full plane may make for a long and uncomfortable flight it does help reduce emissions. Like cars, the more passengers you can transport at once the more you will reduce your footprint.

  • Fly economy.

     This is derivative of my previously remark. But just to really drive it home, studies have shown that flying first class has the carbon footprint of 3 to 7 times that of a passenger. This is due to the fact that the bigger seats and amenities offered to first class passengers take up space that could be used for more regular, smaller seats. This means that over a large amount of flights one or two could have been avoided if only first class didn’t exist and more people could have piled onto less planes.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130617111345.htm

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/climate-change/science/climate-change-basics/air-travel-and-climate-change/


https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2010/sep/09/carbon-emissions-planes-shipping

https://www.wired.com/2008/05/airline-emissio



Saturday, February 18, 2017

Consuming Coffee Consciously

Just about everyone loves coffee. It’s a simple life pleasure that many of us enjoy everyday. However, your coffee habit could be hurting the environment! Because it’s likely a daily habit, the impact of your decisions coffee-related decisions really add up. You have the power to make a difference in the environment by changing a few things about your coffee routine each morning!

Buy Fair Trade
Fair Trade is a high-standard certification that ensures that the workers throughout the harvesting process are paid and treated fairly. Additionally, Organizations such as TransFair and Rainforest Alliance include strict environmental standards in their criteria for certification. Look for the “fair trade” logo when purchasing coffee. (1)

Shade Grown Coffee
Coffee is traditionally grown and harvested in tropical, mountainous areas, but high demand for coffee has led to many people using “sun cultivation.” In this method, many forests are cleared to make room for fields of coffee, eliminating many plants and the biodiversity that comes with them. An environmentally friendly alternative is shade-grown coffee, which mimics how coffee is naturally grown (beneath trees). This provides a healthy habitat for plants and other species such as birds to thrive in. Coffee grown in this manner can be purchased at supermarkets in bags with “shade grown” written on them. (2)

Reusable K-Cups
With the invention of Keurigs, K-cups have become a convenient and cheap alternative to coffee shops. However, the K-cups you buy at the store are not recyclable or biodegradable. This is causing a lot of unnecessary waste in our environment. An environmentally friendly alternative is to use re-usable K-cups, which can be filled with coffee grounds, washed, and re-used. Not only is this environmentally friendly, but it is also much cheaper. (3)

Drink from a Mug
Usually, coffee purchased at coffee shops will produce waste due to the plastic of the lid. Additionally, many paper cups and sleeves end up in a landfill. Disposable cups you use at home pose the same sort of problem. Drinking from a mug will prevent the waste that happens when using a disposable cup. Better yet, invest in an insulated portable mug so your coffee will stay warm on your way to school or work! In fact, many coffee shops will often fill these for you if you ask them to, sometimes even at a lower price.


Click here for more environmentally-friendly coffee tips!


Sources

Image


Friday, February 17, 2017

Edible Water Bottles

How many of us go about our day to day lives and mindlessly drink water from plastic water bottles? In American society this is a typical practice, but have you ever taken the time to think about the harm that drinking from plastic water bottles can cause? Not only can the plastic be harmful to our bodies, but it also causes harm to our environment. According to an article found on www.iflscience.com, "The United States uses about 50 billion plastic water bottles each year, which requires 17 million barrels of oil. Sadly, less than a quarter of that plastic will get recycled." Fortunately, in our pursuit of a more sustainable environment,  there is something that can be done. I'd like to introduce to you edible water bottles. 


Through a process called spherification drinking water mixed with sodium alginate which
 is derived from brown seaweed, creates a liquid membrane that's completely edible. While the appearance of the edible water bottle might be off putting, it is a really good alternative to drinking from harmful plastic containers. We would no longer have to worry about the lack of recycling regarding the plastic bottles and not only are edible water bottles cost efficient, but they support a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative. Let us know what you think, click here  to take a brief survey about edible water bottles.







3 Environmentally Friendly Netflix Documentaries

We all love Netflix for its wide array of TV shows and comedies. But did you know that the streaming platform also has a huge selection of documentaries? More specifically, documentaries pertaining to the earth’s ecosystem. The next time you’re procrastinating between classes with Netflix, do it sustainably with one of these documentaries. 

Terra

Terra explores humans’ relationships with nature and the environment, while reminding us that it’s never too late to change the world. 

How to Change the World

This documentary film tells the true story of the group of activists who formed the global organization “Greenpeace” during the 1970’s in Alaska. 

Cowspiracy


Cowspiracy explores the destructive industry of animal agriculture and asks one important question: Why isn’t anybody talking about its devastating effects? 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Eating More Veggies: For Yourself, and the Environment


(Image Courtesy of Huffington Post)

For many of us, one of the first memories we have with food is from our mothers. If your childhood was anything like mine, "Eat your veggies!" is an all-to-familiar refrain. It turns out, our moms may have been onto something.

According to a recent report produced by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, the livestock sector produces more harmful greenhouse gas emissions than all of the planes, trains, and cars on the planet combined! The reasoning behind this comes from the fact that cows are one of the largest producers of methane gas on the planet. Additionally, meat producers are clearing more and more forested areas out to make room for humanity's demand for meat. Combined, these two factors are what make consuming meat have such a deleterious effect on the environment.

To combat these negative side-effects, we can all do our parts by committing to eat more veggies. Here are a few helpful tips to replace meat in your life:

  1. Shop locally. Farmers markets are a great place to find scrumptious veggies that are both grown in season and near your home. You'll feel good about supporting your local economy, too!
  2. Be in it for the long-haul. As with any change to your routine, committing to make vegetables a larger part of your diet can be hard at first. Over time, and with enough persistence, you'll find that you'll soon start craving healthy alternatives like apples, broccoli, and others.
  3. Seek out vegetarian restaurants. This is a great way to both help yourself really enjoy your new diet, and a way to find out how professional chefs use vegetables to replace meat. Find a tasty dish and try making it a home!
  4. Use the internet. The internet is a great resource for recipes, motivational tips, and other nuggets of information that can help you commit to your change. This article is a great place to start.
By following these tips, you'll soon find yourself completely embracing your new vegetable-based lifestyle. You'll feel good about doing your part to curtail the meat industry's harmful effects on the environment, and even feel healthier in the process. So, why wait? Start today!



Monday, February 13, 2017

Meet Lauren Singer: The Face of the Zero Waste Movement

Image Courtesy of Better World International

Lauren Singer is a 25 year-old graduate from New York University who studied Environmental studies. Three years ago, she decided to begin living a waste free life. This meant that she would do everything she could to avoid generating trash. She did this in a variety of ways including avoiding buying prepackaged food, and not purchasing items that came in wasteful containers such as toothpaste or lotions. This meant two things: One, that she had to completely change her diet, and two, that she had to begin making the things she used to purchase in plastic packaging.
In a TED Talk Singer gave, she described these changes. She said that she began buying fruits and vegetables, as well as bringing her own glass jars to the market to fill with grains, nuts, etc. She also began making her own beauty products including toothpaste, soap, and deodorant. Now, after three years, the amount of trash that Singer has created can fit into one mason jar.
Singer is a fantastic role model for anyone interested in sustainability or living a waste free life. And her blog is an amazing resource, providing sustainability tips and tricks for beginners. For anyone looking for some eco-friendly inspiration, or a sustainable role model, look no further than Lauren Singer!
Image courtesy of CNN.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Eco-friendly Driving

Eco-friendly Driving

2017 Toyota Prius-Hybrid
Have you ever stood on a side walk corner and
watched a gas guzzling car drive by you? Hear the loud rumblings of the exhaust? Smell the exhaust? And let's not forget watch the grey puff cloud of smoke linger in the air? Well cars like that are not the most fuel efficient yet alone eco-friendly. The grey smokey gas that puffs the air is what can contribute to pollution, and with cars being so prominent in our daily lifestyle we should be the change that can stop contributing to air pollution. A solution to this is driving an eco-friendly car such as a hybrid. Below are the listed benefits and pros to driving a fuel efficient
and sustainable vehicle.


  • You are saving money. By driving a fuel efficient car you are saving funds on buying fossil fuels for your car. Just because gas is two to three dollars a gallon now doesn't mean that prices won't surge. So just in case a hybrid is a good option due to the staggering fifty to sixty miles per gallon you can get while driving! Hybrids have the ability to go six hundred mile before needing a fill-up. According to parents.com you could save about seven hundred dollars on gas a year. 
  • You are helping the environment.Not only do hybrids typically get better mileage as a gas-electric vehicle, you are doing your part in protecting the environment. By driving a hybrid you are reducing smog emissions that form from the tailpipe by ninety percent."Hybrid cars emit lower levels of greenhouse gases than conventional cars according to the DOE." In doing so you can say bye-bye to the grey puffy cloud of smoke that typically lingers from non-fuel efficient vehicles. 
  • You are getting your monies worth.By buying a hybrid car it is typically more inexpensive than a normal car, especially in the long run. Maintenance levels on hybrid cars are typically low. An example of this can be seen through a hybrids' regenerative braking system. The lower heat production of the brake means that the brake pads will last longer and save you the costs of changing out your brakes.


So next time you decide to purchase a vehicle or you know someone that is, encourage them to help the environment and get an eco-friendly car.

Interested in a hybrid? Here are some vehicles to consider:

Sources










Sustainable Home Improvement Store Treehouse Aims to Turn All Homes Green


A new kind of home improvement store in Austin is setting out to transform one of the biggest industries in the US, by selling only sustainable home improvement products. According to Fast Company’s recent feature on the store, Treehouse, it’s not only the retail that is different from your typical Home Depot or Lowes, it’s also the experience.  
The commercial building industry has made great strides in the green space with strong adoption of the LEED Certification program, though the residential industry has a more difficult time due to the fragmented nature of the industry. After studying conservation biology at Texas A&M before working in sustainable construction in Colorado, Ballard saw the immense need for a store like Treehouse to help transform homes into more sustainably conscious structures.

The store fittingly resembles more of a more naturally lit greenhouse rather than a florescent bulb buzzing warehouse, and functions to cut as much energy costs as possible. Founder of Treehouse, Jason Ballard, has also set out to completely transform the customer’s buying experience for more long term home solutions. If a customer comes in to replace an air conditioning system for example, a team of specialists might also walk the homeowner through how insulating the attic and sealing the ducts within the home might be a better long term solution for cutting the energy costs of the constant need of AC. As the team at Fast Company put it, it’s less of a “do-it-yourself” and more of a “let’s-do-it-together” kind of vibe.
The goal of the team at Treehouse is to effectively touch every home in the United States within the next 20 years. Since being founded in 2011, Treehouse has received over $17 million in investments, most recently led by Container Store founder Garrett Boone and GameStop founder Gary Kusin.
Treehouse is currently expanding with two new stores in Texas – one in Dallas and the other in an undisclosed location. The new store in Dallas claims to be the country’s first net-zero energy commercial building. The concrete walls were poured on site and tilted into place, and the sawtooth roof allows for more sunlight to fill the store and provides a greater surface for solar panels.
A nationwide plan is currently in the works, but for the meantime, those of us not in Texas can look forward to a diverse online store of eco-friendly smart home tech products and healthy home products.

Can you all imagine if more home improvement stores were like this?
To learn more read the full Fast Company report here.

Source: http://contractors.com/blog/?p=741

Fun Tidbits About Recycling, Energy and Climate Change


Magnifying Glass
Sometimes using the right statement can help change a person's behavior for the better.  Try some of these when you need a little extra something in brochures, presentations, educational materials, or just want to convince a friend that recycling is the right thing to do!
Recycling & Jobs
  • Incinerating 10,000 tons of waste creates one job; landfilling 10,000 tons of waste creates six jobs; recycling 10,000 tons of waste creates 36 jobs. ( EPA, "Resource Conservation Challenge: Campaigning Against Waste," EPA 530-F-02-033, 2002
  • In 2000, the U.S. recycling industry employed over 1.1 million people and generated an annual payroll of $37 billion, representing a significant force in the country’s economy, job creation and economic development. (National Recycling Coalition, "US Recycling Economic Information Study, Final Report," Prepared for the National Recycling Coalition by R.W. Beck Inc., July 2001) 
  • The global recycling industry employs more than 1.5 million people. ( Worldwatch Institute, State of the World 2004 Special Focus: The Consumer Society, January 2004,I SBN: 0-393-32539-3)
Kilowatt Hours/Watts/Electricity
  • Manufacturing one ton of office and computer paper with recycled paper stock can save between 3,000 and 4,000 kilowatt hours over the same ton of paper made with virgin wood products. (EPA)
  • The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle will operate a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. (EPA)
  • Recycling one aluminum beverage can saves enough energy to run a 14 watt CFL bulb (60 watt incandescent equivalent) for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours. (EPA)
  • Recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours. (Pepsi)
  • Recycle this can and save enough energy to power a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. (Pepsi)
  • According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel recycling in the United States saves the energy equivalent to electrical power for about one-fifth of American households for one year. (EPA)
  • Recycling aluminum cans in the United States in 1996 saved enough energy to power a city the size of Philadelphia for one year. From World Watch Institute, December 1998
  • The energy saved from recycling one wine bottle will operate a 100-watt light bulb for three hours. (Calculation, courtesy of Robert Kirby, manager for R & D, Sandhill Industries, June 2003)
  • If you recycled all the aluminum cans the average person consumed in their lifetime it could power a TV for 130,000 hours or in other words 14 years. (Unknown)
Energy in General
  • Producing recycled paper requires about 60 percent of the energy used to make paper from virgin wood pulp. (EPA)
  • Recycling steel and tin cans saves between 60 and 74 percent of the energy used to produce them from raw materials. (EPA)
  • Producing new plastic from recycled material uses only two-thirds of the energy required to manufacture it from raw materials. (EPA)
  • Producing glass from virgin materials requires 30 percent more energy than producing it from crushed, used glass. (EPA)
  • Aluminum can be recycled using less than 5 percent of the energy used to make the original product. (EPA)
  • Used glass or "cullet" melts at a lower temperature than raw materials, reducing the demand for energy and lowering production costs. (Clean Washington Center, "Saving Energy with Cullet and Preheating," November 1996)
  • If all our newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year! Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil , three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water. This represents a 64% energy savings, a 58% water savings, and 60 pounds less air pollution!  That's because one tree can filter up to 60 pounds of pollutants from the air each year.
Climate Change/Greenhouse Gases
  • Recycling one ton of aluminum is equivalent to not releasing 13 tons of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) into the air. (Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, "Rethinking Recycling: An Oregon Waste Reduction Curriculum," 2001)
  • By recycling all of its paper, plastic, and corrugated waste generated in a year, an office building of 7,000 workers could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,200 metric tons of carbon equivalent. This is equivalent to taking 900 cars off the road in one year. (EPA, "Solid Waste and Emergency Response," EPA 530-F-02-034, 2002)
  • Learn about the specific environmental benefits Connecticut residents and businesses made by recycling. (NERC)
Saving Oil/Gasoline

  • One ton of recycled steel saves the energy equivalent of 3.6 barrels of oil and 1.49 tons of iron ore over the production of new steel. (EPA)
  • In 2000, the national recycling rate of 30 percent saved the equivalent of more than five billion gallons of gasoline, reducing dependence on foreign oil by 114 million barrels.
    (EPA, "Resource Conservation Challenge: Campaigning Against Waste," EPA 530-F-02-033, 2002) 

  • Recycling a PC consumes 20 times more energy than reusing it ( Computers and the Environment: Understanding and Managing their Impacts , United Nations University, 2003)

  • Recycling 35 percent of U.S. trash saves enough energy to fuel six million homes annually, generates $5.2 billion in raw materials each year, and reduces global warming emissions equivalent to taking 36 million cars off the road. (Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, White House Task Force on Recycling, "Recycling for the Future," June 1999)
Source: http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2714&q=440320



Friday, February 10, 2017

10 Easy Ways To Get Sustainable

More and more, people are saying to live more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyles. However, many people don't try because they find this idea daunting and believe you have to go to extremes, when you really don't have to.

Here is a list of simple ways to incorporate more sustainable living that can have a tremendous impact on our environment. 

  • Make compost If you don't want to compost, ask your neighbors or friends if they have compost and give your organic waste to them.
  •  Reuse envelopes, paper bags, etc Buy the reusable bags at grocery stores (cost about $1). They are super durable and hold more than regular paper and plastic bags.
  • Keep possessions We are a throw away culture. Instead of taking things to businesses that help repair items ex: bikes, or trying to repair them ourselves, people will just buy a new one because it is more convenient. By fixing them, it saves money, landfill space and resources. 
  • Buy in bulk Research the stores in your community that sell in bulk, and bring your own reusable containers to skip wasteful plastic packaging. 
  • Use compact fluorescents They screw into regular light sockets, but use way less electricity. Bonus: Add motion-sensing switches to turn them off automatically when you leave the room. 
  • Bike, walk and use public transportation Even trying to implement this 2-3 times a week can lower your carbon footprint. 
  • Use non-toxic cleaners There are many natural alternatives like borax, vinegar, baking soda, salt and lemon juice.
  • Separate recyclables, and actually recycle them So easy!
  • Store rainwater Use your roof as the collector. This is clean and free. Stored rainwater is great for your yard or garden, and saves your water bill exponentially when you think about all the water that is used to maintain the yard.  
  • Install low-flush toilets Low flush toilets can drop from 6 gallons per flush to 1 and a half. It saves money and water and cuts down on utility bills. 
This quick list is a great jumping off point to leading a more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle. Screenshot and pass along to friends and family to show them that clean living isn't as hard as it sounds!