It’s all the rage to ‘go green.’ Today, people all around the United States, and all around the world; are making an effort to ‘go green’ and be more eco-friendly But what does it mean to ‘go green,’ and what is ‘eco-friendly?’
As consumers, we need to be more aware of the world around us and how we are affecting it. A single American will produce approximately 4.5 pounds of trash, per day (this is based on a national average.) That’s a lot of garbage! Making simple modifications to your daily life (such as recycling that plastic water bottle, instead of trashing it,) will help the environment in the long run, rather than having this ‘go green’ movement fade out like another fashion trend.
Eco-Friendly Suggestion #1 – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We’ve all heard it before: reduce, reuse, recycle. There are plenty of ways to incorporate this saying into your daily life. You can reduce the amount of water you use by not letting the faucet run while you’re brushing your teeth. You can recycle plastic bottles. You can also reuse many household items to prevent them from going to the dump, or you can donate them to charities who can reuse them for projects or to help families in need. Either way, “reduce, reuse, recycle” is a great place to start on your journey to go green.
Eco-Friendly Suggestion #2 – Shop Local
It may sound crazy, but shopping locally will save a lot. By shopping at places that sell locally produced goods, you’ll save time, money, and the environment – seriously! Here’s how: by purchasing produce at a locally grown farmer’s market, you’re reducing the amount of oil used to transport these goods from oh say, Ecuador. Also, farmers generally sell their products for less than chain grocery stores, so you’re only paying for the food you purchase, rather than paying for the farmer, the middle man who transports the goods from place to place, and the company selling the product, trying to make a profit.
Eco-Friendly Suggestion #3 – Check the Label
Check the labels on products you plan to purchase. Today, the effort to go green is so big that many companies are falsely advertising “eco-friendly products” that aren’t actually eco-friendly. Many companies are making plenty of cash off this, and it’s wrong, so don’t support their product – you’re only encouraging companies to continue on being wasteful, rather than to actually helping the environment.
Also, look for products that use recycled packaging. Packaging from products takes up approximately 30 percent of the waste we produce each day (in volume,) or more than 50 percent of the weight of the waste that we produce. That’s a lot of waste that can easily be avoided. Again, think: reduce, reuse, recycle.
Eco-Friendly Suggestion #4 – Organic Goods
When you’re out doing your grocery shopping, look for foods that are labeled as “organic.” Organic foods are foods that are grown or produced without the use of pesky chemicals or pesticides. If more people purchase organic rather than processed foods, we’ll begin to significantly reduce the amount of pesticides and chemicals that are released into the environment.
So remember: reduce, reuse, recycle and you’ll significantly decrease your impact on the environment. To go green takes some work, but don’t feel discouraged because even the littlest bit helps.
Informational Sources on American Consumption and Waste Production:
PSSI; Stanford University; Commonly Asked Questions – More On Recycling