Recycling is one of the most effective ways for an individual to make an impact on the world. It helps improve the natural environment in which we all live. Making the right steps toward the reduction in consumption, reusing what we can, and recycling what we can't reuse will make a huge difference. It all starts with one person doing the right thing, such as throwing that plastic bottle into the appropriate bin or buying wholesale reusable shopping bags. An increasing population means more people create waste. Therefore, we must all play a role in reducing that waste.
Recycling and Reusing Plastic
- In the United States, roughly 2,500,000 plastic bottles are used every hour! Unfortunately, the majority of them are tossed into the trash. Using a reusable water bottle will help reduce the amount of plastic bottles that end up in landfills. The same concept applies for plastic bags. Use custom reusable bags to cut down on environmental pollution.
- It takes between 100 and 400 years to break down plastics in a landfill. Imagine how much of that could be reduced by switching over to custom reusable bags rather than throwing out plastic shopping bags.
- Recycling plastics conserves roughly 88 percent more energy than when they are made from raw materials, such as natural gas and oil.
- In the United States, people throw away enough plastic bottles to line up around the Earth four times!
- It takes five two-liter bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) to manufacture one square foot of polyester carpet.
- Internationally, people use roughly a million plastic bags every minute, which adds up to 2.2 billion gallons of oil used every year. This could be greatly reduced if everyone switched to using custom reusable bags.
Reducing Waste and Composting
- Composting yard waste replenishes nutrients in the ground and saves landfill space.
- Roughly 30 percent of all materials sent to landfills could be composted at home.
- The majority of households can compost between 28 and 38 percent of waste, which could drastically reduce the amount of trash managed at landfills.
- Yard and food waste make up about 30 percent of the waste stream. Composting kitchen scraps and yard trimmings helps keep that waste from reaching landfills, waterways, water treatment centers, and incinerators.
- Composting helps balance the pH of soil. It also makes clay and other friable soils easier to dig.
- Composting helps control soil erosion.
Water and Energy Conservation
- According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the annual energy used to deliver and treat water for ten homes could run a refrigerator for more than two years.
- The average household loses approximately 10 gallons of water per day through leaks. Repairing leaky faucets and toilets will reduce each household's water footprint.
- Americans drink less than one percent of treated water produced at water facilities. In fact, the majority of water consumption goes toward lawn care, washing machines, and toilet usage.
- In United States, the combined energy output of all home refrigerators across the nation could power 25 large power plants every year.
- Collectively, the residences in America today use an estimated 22.5 percent of the country's energy. Unfortunately, the majority of these homes do not practice energy efficiency, which could drastically reduce energy consumption. It could also save the average family up to 25 percent off their utility bills.
- The average household could drastically reduce water consumption by using greywater for watering trees, shrubs, and flowers. Do not use greywater on vegetable gardens or lawns.
Environmental Awareness and Conservation Lesson Plans
- Water Conservation: Use this lesson plan to teach students the availability of fresh water and ways to purify and conserve it. Be sure to stress the importance of reducing bottle consumption and ways to avoid polluting the environment, such as using a reusable water bottle or buying wholesale reusable shopping bags.
- Water Conservation Lesson Plans: Choose from one of the many water conservation lesson plans that will help kids understand the importance of saving water.
- How Can We Help Maintain Our Water Supply? Conserving Water: Use this lesson plan to help students understand ways to maintain our water supply starting at home.
- Water Conservation for Kids: NASA shares a lesson plan that helps promote water conservation and environmental awareness for students.
- Recycling Lesson Plans: Use these lesson plans to impart the importance of recycling to students at an early age. Teach them simple steps, such as recycling bottles and using reusable imprinted grocery bags.
- Recycling Plans and Activities: Choose from a variety of lesson plans and activities that kids can participate in that will help them learn the importance of recycling, including the importance of using reusable grocery bags to cut down on pollution.
- Reduce, Re-use, Recycle: Use this lesson plan to introduce the concepts of reducing, reusing, and recycling everything, especially plastic bags that end up in the waterways. Teach kids to use reusable bags instead.
- The Importance of Composting: Use this module to help students understand the importance of composting and techniques they can use at home to improve their soil.
- Composting for Better Soil: Use this teacher guide to help students learn how composting improves the condition of soil.
- Composting With Worms Lesson Plan for Preschoolers: Use this lesson plan to teach preschoolers the role of worms in composting.