The United States produces a large amount of energy and we waste much of what we produce. Power plants, such as nuclear plants, cannot power down at night. Coal plants are major contributors to greenhouse gasses which are harmful to local air quality and are involved with global warming. It is clear that we need to improve our energy efficiency and lower CO2. While there is some good news nationwide, with some coal plants being shut down, it will be a long time before we can stop using dirty fuel. However, there are things you can do to reduce your impact on the environment and it won’t require a lot of effort!
The easiest thing you can do is make sure you recycle whatever you can. Paper, plastic, Styrofoam, glass, and other materials can be reused. It’s important to make sure NOT to throw out these materials into a regular trashcan. Instead, you can take this waste to a recycling center and sometimes get a little cash back. Some cities and towns have a recycling program along with standard trash pickup, but this might not always be the case.
When I was a kid, my parents taught us about recycling by taking us to the local supermarket, where there were recycling machines for cans and bottles. It was fun to hear the machines crush the cans we brought. Afterwards, my brother and I deposited the money into savings accounts at our family bank. Not only did we learn the benefits of recycling, we also learned about saving money.
One of the best ways to prevent waste is by giving used items away as gifts. eBay is a great place to sell used electronics such as computers or iPads. I often give my family my used electronics when I upgrade. For example, I gave my mom my old TiVo last year when I bought a new TiVo Premier model. This way, someone else can find a use for your old items without buying new products. This prevents e-waste, which is a growing problem in society, and saves people money. If you can’t sell or give away a used or broken devices, there are stores that can recycle e-waste. Staples is one such store that is pretty good about accepting most forms of e-waste.
LED light bulbs are long lasting and fit standard light sockets in most cases. These bulbs last for many years and use a lot less power. Replacing old incandescent bulbs with LEDs can lower your monthly power bill. Plus, these bulbs do not have to be replaced as often as incandescent bulbs.
For a final tip, you can stop using plastic when you go grocery shopping. Bringing your own cloth bags is a great way to cut down on plastic waste. Some stores even give you perks for using cloth bags instead of their plastic bags. Of course, worst case scenario, you can reuse those plastic bags for other purposes and they are also recyclable.