Simple ways to reduce the carbon footprint
By the Schoolcraft Connection Editorial Staff
As Earth Day approaches on April 22, it is important to think of ways that society can work together to improve the health of the earth. With increasing factory use, large scale production, and destruction of natural resources, everyone must come together to decrease pollution. While there are countless ways to do this, the following list of suggestions is a beginner’s guide to becoming eco-friendly.
Upcycling is a form of recycling by taking something seen as trash and using it in a new way. In the classroom or around the house items can be upcycled to keep their longevity of use. A simple way to upcycle items such as paper or household items is to decorate a bulletin board or poster board to create an abstract image or picture. Bottle caps can be used to decorate as well around the house. Old paper that is blank on one side can be glued together or combined to make notebook or scratch paper before being recycled. Items such as milk cartons or pop cans may be used as portable supply caddies as well. Whether they be useful goods such as upcycling a broken shelf as a side table or just saving objects from the trash to use for arts and crafts, they are all helping by not contributing to landfills.
Limiting water consumption
Another way to conserve the earth is to limit water consumption. According to waterinfo.org, American’s use on average, 80 to 100 gallons of water a day. When people brush their teeth or shave they typically leave the water running, instead people should try turning the water off in between rinses. Other ways to cut down on water include taking taking an eight-minute shower by cleaning off and rinsing with haste instead of talking a twenty-minute-shower. While cleaning dishes, instead of constantly running the water for every dish, try filling up the sink and washing the dishes in the same water to preserve even more water.
One of the easiest ways to recycle and make one’s garden healthier is by composting. Composting is a natural way to put good nutrients into the soil of a garden, thus growing better produce. Compost is made up of all the natural leftovers from the kitchen such as banana peels, carrot heads or apple cores. In the fall when leaves cover the ground, those can be collected and mixed with table scraps, garden weeds, lawn clippings, flowers, shredded paper, and even more easily accessible items. These items then decompose and mix together. Collecting multiple components and letting them recycle into a natural fertilizer is cheaper and all that is required is some space to let the compost decompose.
Human’s biggest offense with waste comes from waste of electricity. Electricity is a necessity when it comes to survival, but it can still be conserved. By simply turning down the thermostat when not at home, washing clothes in cold water and making sure the fridge is shut all the way can make a difference. Shutting the lights off when leaving a room, unplugging cables form the wall or turning off the power strip when it is not in use can help as well.
A large problem that affects everyone in the school and work system is finding ways to conserve paper. There are surprisingly many ways that can help save money in the process. First, use cloth cleaning rags instead of paper towel, which allows rags to be reused. Another idea is to pay bills online rather than postal mail. Online will also cost less money in the long run. Finally, instead of printing out receipts, save them on the computer. This option is now being offered in many stores as well, so people can tell them to email the receipt rather than printing.
In the effort to go green, there are many ways to help preserve the earth. Cleaning products are one of the most important things to think about in doing so. They tend to be laden with toxic chemicals, not just for the environment, but for those who use them as well. However, there are many ways to clean eco-friendlier. One of these ways is to use natural cleaners rather than store bought alternatives. Vinegar and baking soda can be used to clean mostly everything, and adding warm water to either of them will produce a natural all-purpose cleaner. Store bought cleaners aren’t all bad, however, so long as they are non-toxic, biodegradable and made from renewable resources.
It is necessary to protect the earth because without its health, civilization is not possible. By thinking about the effect that every action has and contemplating alternative methods, people can cut down extremely on their carbon footprint. By reducing, reusing and recycling, everyone can work together to better the earth.