On average, a person generates a little over 4 pounds of waste each day. The U.S. generates approximately 220 million tons of waste annually. Since all of that waste has to go somewhere, more than half of it ends up in landfills despite the fact that nearly 66% is recyclable. Fortunately, there are ways to go green no matter where you are and there are very specific reasons why it matters.
Reduce Electronic Waste
In today's world, society is all about the latest and greatest technology, particularly when it comes to mobile devices, such as cell phones. In fact, as of early 2014, approximately 90% of all American citizens owned a cell phone. The reason why this matters is because of its relation to electronic waste, or e-waste.
E-waste is a big problem in the United States. Most cell phones are used for an average of 18 months before they are discarded. However, cell phones contain recyclable materials such as metal, plastic, and ceramic. Cell phones also contain toxic materials, including brominated flame retardants and lead, which can cause serious damage to the environment. Yet the U.S. produces over 3.2 million tons of e-waste annually.
What you can do: At home, make sure you dispose of your cell phone properly. Contact the manufacturer or your wireless service provider to ask about proper disposal methods. Many companies may take the phone back and recycle them for use in newer model phones. At work, set up a box where your co-workers can dispose of their phones properly, allowing you to cart them off to a recycling center.
Reduce Paper Waste
Although technology has seemingly replaced the use of paper in that people do not send off as many hand written letters as they used to, paper is still a highly wasted material. Approximately 30-40% of all municipal waste is paper whereas half of all office waste is paper materials. From office envelopes to printed documents, packaging, and even sack lunches, too much paper waste ends up in the wrong place, which is the trash rather than the recycling bin.
The reason paper waste is such a big deal is the fact that it takes so much energy and requires the cutting of so many trees to produce paper goods. For example, it takes twice the amount of energy to make a paper bag than it does to make a plastic bag. Furthermore, recycling could save more than 41,000 trees per year.
What you can do: It may seem easier to recycle your paper goods at home since you can set up bins to sort your waste. If you have not already done so, purchase bins from your local home and garden store where you can sort your items, such as paper, metal, and plastic. Take them to your nearest recycling center for proper disposal.
At work it may seem a little harder to recycle, particularly if there are no recycling bins. However, that doesn't mean you can't make it happen. Talk to your employer about the benefits of recycling and consider implementing a recycling program among your co-workers. Furthermore, avoid going out to eat for lunch or using a paper bag for lunch storage. Instead, bring your lunch to work in a reusable container.
Double-sided printing is another good idea. Promote the benefits of double-sided printing at work, which cuts the amount of paper you need for a printing job in half. Cutting the amount of paper you need by half can greatly help the environment and reduce the amount of trees needed to produce the paper you need in the workplace.
Waste disposal is a much needed service throughout the United States, especially considering how much waste the average person creates each day, let alone each year. Fortunately, there are ways to reuse a lot of that waste, thereby creating a cleaner, safer environment for everyone involved.
Check out companies like Progressive Waste Solutions of FL Inc. for more information.