Whether you believe climate change is real or not, nurturing our Earth is the least we can do since we’ve marked our territory on pretty much every inch of this planet. Although it’s not something we think about everyday out of our busy schedules, it seems fair we should at least incorporate easy and quick ways to take care of our planet into our very own lives.
One of the easiest ways to conserve energy is by recycling. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, they’ve estimated at least 75 percent of our waste can actually be recycled, but it turns out Americans only recycle up to 30 percent of it. That’s a 45 percent actual waste dump we’re leaving onto our precious Earth to use and produce all over again, not to mention we’re doubling our natural resource production by almost half. With helpful data provided to us, we can make arrangements and recognize that not all our waste has to end up in a landfill, we can make use of it.
Acknowledging your surroundings is the first step, take a good look around and observe what’s keeping your community from being a sustainable and pleasant environment. The key is to observe now. Creating eco-friendly habits for yourself can motivate others around you to follow in your steps, and the skills you learn on campus can easily be incorporated while you’re back home, or really anywhere on Earth.
For many people, recycling can be seen as an extra chore or a burden added to their schedule, but how can we make conservation and the act of doing it, easy and almost like second nature? Well thinking about it, recycling can actually make your life easier. It can eliminate trash build up over time if you actually separate the bins, one for recyclable items and the other for non-recyclable items. Instead of piling up one trash can, balance out the waste and get organized. If you’re not sure where the nearest recycling service is in your area, use this app to track it down at iRecycle, Earth911 Inc. on the iTunes Store.
That’s not all. By reusing recyclable products, we’re expanding their longevity and expanding our wallets. Reusing plastic water bottles can actually save your wallet the next time you take a trip to your local grocery store. Stock up on a carton of water bottles and save now. Also, there are numerous institutions around the country that will take your recyclable, precious goods and give you money in exchange. That’s an extra dollar for your buck while helping other companies modify and reuse products for sale again.
Lastly, if you’re a college student, you want to maintain a positive image for yourself and your potential company’s image of a quality employee. If you’re not going to recycle for Mother Nature’s sake, do it for yourself and how you might outshine the rest. It’s no secret not everyone is as heavily motivated to save our planet, but by expressing specific interest and commitment to your close surroundings, employers can see you as the one different from the rest, proving devotion to not only the company, but the environment around you. Transform yourself into a hard-working, well-rounded citizen and others will follow.
A huge problem nowadays is the hesitation to recycle. Do we need to re-educate ourselves the difference between recyclable and non-recyclable items? Without a doubt, recycling standards differ throughout each community and each year, the Environmental Protection Agency is changing what’s acceptable to recycle. So stay up to date, here’s a list of what’s appropriate to recycle as of now:
- Steel and Aluminum cans (pasta and vegetable cans)
- Glass containers (vases and beer bottles)
- Paper, including cardboard (juice cartons and old homework assignments)
- Plastic (floral wraps and sandwich bags)
- Batteries (non-incandescent lightbulbs, printers and old keyboards)
- Electronics (cell phones, stereos and televisions)
The most essential factor when recycling any of these items, is to make sure they’re clean and physically safe to grab. In other words, don’t throw away pieces of your broken glass frame; at this point the glass can’t be used and the worker separating the products can end up hurting themselves. If you’re going to recycle anything that was touched by chemicals and/or food, rinse it thoroughly before disposing or even reusing it – that also includes rinsing your plastic water bottles too.
Here’s what NOT to recycle:
- Pizza boxes (cross contamination)
- Used napkins or paper towels (that’s just not right and definitely not sanitary)
- Wet, shredded and/or colored paper (broken fibers and color-dye is not safe to reuse)
- Prescription bottles (major identify theft alert)
- Plastic bags and used chip bags (too much of these items can clog up machinery tubes separating these products)
When you’re on campus, familiarize yourself with the locations of accessible recycling bins when it’s time to dump the trash away. If there aren’t enough around you, speak up! There is no excuse why higher institutions can’t create a healthy, clean environment. As students, we strive off of a good-looking campus. If your school isn’t emptying the recycling bins in appropriate increments during the week like the regular trash bins, speak up and have them prioritize!
Recycling is a whole concept in and of itself, but what’s another way to conserve energy and protect the environment around you and your peers?
Well for one, stop littering. It’s possibly one of the easiest and quickest ways to destroy our planet. If it wasn’t meant to be on the ground, it shouldn’t be left on the ground. Non-biodegradable items can sit on the grass for weeks before slowly fusing out its toxic chemicals into the soil. Do us a favor and wait until you see the next available trashcan.
Finally, practice what you preach and stick to it. All it takes is one person to inspire another and start a movement together. A huge reason why conserving energy is hard to keep up with is because we simply aren’t used to it..yet. No wonder why you rarely see anyone committing to these actions, we all stopped halfway. All habits start somewhere, so develop yours today. Jessica Hoak, an environmental studies major at Longwood University said, “I try my best to recycle and use eco-friendly products at home. Here at school, I wish they would have better advertising of it and actually empty out our recycling bins when requested.”
Start your own club and reach out to environmental studies majors, they probably know alot more and can give fresh, new perspectives for innovative eco-friendly tricks. You can also reach out to business majors if you end up taking your club to the next level and build fundraisers. The key is to network and use your resources to the fullest extent. Kind of like the whole idea for our natural resources we’re trying to conserve.
One last reminder, stop sticking your gum beneath chairs and tables. It’s damaging your school’s property, preventing other students from studying and not giving a good look to your school – we’re not in fifth grade anymore.
Be consistent with your eco-friendly tricks and realize it’s not an overnight miracle to possess, just know it’s all for the sake of Mother Nature.
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