Jovanna is back with more eco-friendly tips! So far she has taught us how to Say NO to Chemicals and Emissions and how to Help a Species. Now she’s here to help us Cut the Waste! Check out her tips below to see how you can make your world a little greener.
You can really cut down on your waste by reusing items like clothes and toys instead of throwing them out. But what do you do when you grow out of that blue shirt, or no longer want your teddy bear?
If you have old clothes, books and toys that you no longer use, it’s the perfect time for an Item Swap! Invite some friends over and tell them to bring their gently used objects. Once the guests arrive, set the clothes and toys on the table. Tell each person to take a few things that catch their eye. If there are still objects left on the table once everyone leaves, you can donate them to a charity like Good Will or Salvation Army.
Paper or plastic? Which is the best choice?
You are at a grocery store with your dad picking out food for dinner. At the checkout, the cashier offers you a choice of paper or plastic bags, and you choose paper. After all, paper IS the greenest choice. Right?
Wrong. Actually, paper and plastic bags are both damaging to our environment. We should try to reduce the amount of paper AND plastic bags we consume. Here are some reasons why:
Paper bags: Paper bags are made from trees (well, duh!) and lots of heavy machinery is required to cut down trees and transport logs for shipping. During the production process, chemicals that damage the environment are used to treat the pulp, so it can be transformed into paper. In fact, 70% more air pollution and 50 times more water pollution is produced by making paper bags compared to plastic! If thrown in the trash, these paper bags take many years to break down in landfills. Even if they are recycled, paper bags use a lot of energy to transform them back into pulp to make other things.
Plastic Bags: Plastic bags are made from oil, a limited non-renewable resource. The oil is turned into a pellet which is melted in a machine and turned into a plastic bag. This whole process requires a lot of energy. Despite this environmental pressure, Canadians still take home around 55 million plastic bags per week! Once the plastic bag has finished its job, what is done with it after is another issue. Plastic bags made from oil are not biodegradable, meaning they will never decompose. The story isn’t better for recycling because many times, plastic bags that are sent away to be recycled never actually get recycled. Sometimes, plastic bags end up in the ocean, where marine animals could swallow them.
So what can you use? When you are shopping, bring along a canvas or nylon bag. You can usually buy these at any grocery store.
You’re coming back from a soccer game, and you’re really thirsty. You go into the kitchen to get yourself a nice cool glass of water. As you are pouring the water into the glass, your hand wobbles, and you spill some. Shoot! Without even thinking, you reach for a paper towel to wipe up the spill…
Grabbing that paper towel might not seem like you are doing a lot – after all what difference is one paper towel going to make – but it adds up. In the U.S.A, 3,000 tons of paper towels are discarded DAILY! On top of that, paper towels that rot in landfills produce methane gas, which is at least 20 times more harmful than Carbon Dioxide. This is alarming news for our planet.
But wait! It’s not all bad news! If your family switches to cloth towels to wipe up spills, you will not only be saving trees, you will be saving money. Ask your parents to consider switching to cloth towels, or at least using less paper ones, and tell your friends to do the same. Just think of all the trees you’ll be saving! To save even more trees, try switching to cloth napkins at mealtimes.