Sustainability is one of those trendy words that gets tossed around in everyday conversation. But the fact is that it’s actually been around since the beginning of time. (We humans simply forgot about it for a while). Sustainability was a part of daily life until we began embracing a more convenient way of living.
The good news is we can get back to where we once were with a little bit of teamwork. However, it’s first important to fully understand what sustainability means.
The ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed.
Environmental Science.The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.
When we’re talking about sustainability, both definitions apply and can be used to improve your life and the lives of your loved ones.
Everyday Items to Add to Your Recyclables
Living in a sustainable way is incredibly addictive, and you’ll likely be raving about it in no time.
It’s all about taking care of our planet so it remains healthy for future generations. It starts with us, in the present day, taking small steps toward a thriving environment.
Let’s do it for them.
You’ll be surprised by how many of these recycling tips you already recognize! One of the most important things you can do is pay attention to the materials used to make the product packaging that you buy on a regular basis.
Did you know recycling a single plastic bottle saves enough energy for a 100-watt bulb to be powered for four hours? Or that recycling a plastic bottle causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than making a new bottle?
The amount of plastic we use as a society in the United States (and the staggering 50 billion plastic bottles used in the United States alone), makes this is a major motivator to reuse as much as we can while reducing our impact on the environment.
Like plastic, making paper from recycled material uses less energy and leaves more trees to absorb the carbon dioxide we produce.
It takes 8.5 million acres of trees (this is bigger than the state of Maryland) to produce 1 trillion pieces of paper. One trillion sheets of paper may seem like an impossible amount to go through, but the average American uses 7 trees and 680 pounds of paper products every year. We can reduce this statistic.
By recycling our paper products we can all breathe easier, figuratively and literally. If every American recycled one-tenth of their newspapers we would save 25,000,000 trees per year. Talk about motivation!
Aluminum & Tin
Aluminum cans are classified as a #1 recyclable item and make up less than 1% of the waste in this country. Aluminum and tin items have no limit to how many times they can be recycled and reused. It takes roughly 60 days before the item makes its way back on store shelves again containing the products you love.
Recycling two cans saves an equal amount of energy as a computer running for an average workday. We make 20 new cans from recycled materials using the same amount of energy it takes to make a single brand new can.
All signs point toward the continuation of recycling aluminum and tin.
It takes roughly 4,000 years for glass to decompose, but it can be recycled and used again efficiently in our lifetime. Glass is another item that does not wear out—ever—and can literally be recycled over and over again.
With the many uses for glass, there is simply no reason not to reuse it as much as possible.
Oil is one of those things we need (for now), but we must be extremely careful with. As little as one quart of motor oil can contaminate 1 million gallons of fresh water. Motor oil is similar to glass in that it never wears out, but it does get dirty. Recycling makes oil like new and saves limited water sources from the dangers of contamination.
It’s important to note that recycled products are not subpar to brand new versions, the only noticeable difference is that it’s better for our environment.
Sustainability Tips You Can Implement Right Now
Not sure where to start?
If you haven’t started already, these tips and ideas can help you start keeping sustainability in mind each day.
- Unplug your electronics when you’re not using them. It’s quite common for appliances to consume energy even when they’re not currently being used. Compare your electricity bills after unplugging electronics not in use to see just how much you’re saving.
- Consider the temperature in your home. Turning the air conditioning up a few degrees during the summer, or putting on a sweater in the winter rather than blasting the heater can be a massive energy saver.
- Switch up your driving habits. Here are a few easy driving changes you can make to do your part. Don’t idle your car as long as the outside temperature allows it; turn it off instead. Another great option to conserve your gas is to gradually accelerate while driving instead of flooring it. Lastly, slow down as much as you can. The faster you are traveling, the more fuel is consumed. It isn’t always going to be possible to avoid going 70 MPH, but if you can, why not?
- Air-dry your clothing. About 5% of the electricity consumed in the United States every year is used to dry clothes. Washing your clothes in cold water and air-drying has the potential to save quite a bit of energy and do a lot of good for the environment while lowering your monthly utility bills.
Now that you’ve got the basics covered, start off small and gradually build your way up to living a sustainable lifestyle.
At Homegrown Organic Farms, sustainability is a major part of who we are. We strive to do our part in making our planet healthy. For more sustainable goodies be sure to follow along on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.