According to the EPA, Americans generated 262.4 million tons of solid waste in 2015. This was 3.5 million more tons than the year before.
We’re already seeing the effects of environmental pollution on our planet—whether it’s air pollution or the negative effects on wildlife and habitats.
However, it’s never too late to take care of your environment. Want to know how to keep your community clean? Here are seven ways to encourage a clean and green environment.
1. Stop Using Single-Use Items
We are filling our trash with single-use items. They are everywhere. Plastic bags at grocery stores. Paper coffee cups and sleeves at coffee shops. Straws and cups at restaurants.
Many of these items are used for less than an hour and then thrown away.
One thing you can do to reduce waste in your life is to stop using single-use items. Bring tote bags with you and keep them in your car trunk for your shopping trips.
Invest in a quality coffee thermos and make yourself coffee in the morning before you go to work. You can save hundreds of dollars a year by making your own coffee anyway.
You can also buy a quality water bottle instead of purchasing plastic water bottles. You can even start out with small changes and refuse plastic straws with your drinks at restaurants.
Another thing you can do is subscribe to online statements for bills so that you don’t get a paper bill in the mail every month. All these actions can reduce the amount of waste you accumulate.
2. Dispose of Hazardous Waste the Right Way
There are certain types of waste that are illegal to throw in the trash. This is because the chemicals they contain end up contaminating our water, air, and even our food.
For example, in the state of California, these items include:
- Electronic devices
- Items containing mercury, such as mercury thermometers
There are designated places where you can dispose of your hazardous waste products. Check with your local waste management agency to see which items are banned and where you can drop them off.
3. Buy Locally and Eat More Produce
Another tip for a clean and green environment is to buy locally and eat more fruits and veggies. Check out your local farmers market to purchase local produce.
You should also eat more fresh foods. It takes energy and additional materials to process food, package them, and deliver them to grocery stores. It’s also a healthier choice to swap out processed snacks for fruits and veggies.
4. Teach Your Kids to Love Nature
How can we instill a passion for our environment in our kids? We can do so by teaching them to love nature. The easiest way to do this is to take our kids out there and show them the beauty of our earth.
Take regular hiking trips and explore different trails. Point out different animals and plants.
You don’t need to go far to teach your kids about nature. Take them out in the backyard or a local park. During the summer, take them to the beach, lake, or river.
5. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk can help promote a clean and green environment. This is because you’re buying less food packaging that ends up as waste. It also reduces energy spent on transportation.
Choose foods that don’t expire easily, such as rice, cereal, oatmeal, nuts, and dried fruit. Foods that you shouldn’t buy in bulk are ones that perish quickly, such as milk or produce.
For items that you buy with plastic packaging, you can wash and reuse containers for storage.
6. Host a Cleanup Day
If you’re part of a large community, you can organize a community cleanup day. This can get everyone in the community involved.
Depending on where you live, you can choose a project such as a beach day clean up. If you’re cleaning up a local street, you might need a street sweeper to properly clean it. You can read more here to learn more about street sweepers.
When you’ve chosen the specific project, you can set a date and time and meeting place.
Tell everyone about the cleanup day through social media. You can also tell your neighbors and friends. Go to local businesses and churches and spread the word of the event.
If you don’t want to organize a large-scale cleanup, you can do something small with your coworkers or friends. You can even have your own mini cleanup day with your family.
7. Reduce Your Travel Carbon Footprint
It’s easy to hop into the car for every little errand we have. However, driving is one of the top polluting actions in the United States. This is because the emissions from driving our cars are a factor of global warming.
Emissions from driving also contribute to smog and air pollution. The quality of our air contributes to health issues as well.
If you live in an area where stores are nearby, you should consider walking or biking to get your errands done. If that’s not possible, you can take public transportation or carpool. By driving less, you’re also decreasing traffic congestion.
If you have to drive, there are smaller actions you can take. For example, clean out your car regularly. A heavier car means you’re using up more gas.
When you run errands, try to do them when it’s not rush hour. This will decrease the amount of gas you use. You can also try to do all your errands in one trip instead of several trips throughout the week.
Final Tips for a Clean and Green Environment
Although many of these actions are small, they can add up. If all of us choose to do at least one of these the items on the above list, we can contribute to a clean and green environment.
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