Exercise, increased time with loved ones and overall personal well-being are often at the top of New Year’s resolution lists, but rarely do people account for the environment in their pledges. This year, we’re urging everyone to be part of the green movement and reduce your carbon footprint, which is an estimate of how much carbon each person emits annually. But, did you know the environment also has a direct effect on you? Light pollution can weaken your overall vision, while air and water pollution affects your bodily health in both direct and indirect ways.
Start 2016 off right by developing good habits that reduce your carbon footprint. We’ve outlined some basic steps that you can take to accomplish this, using the basic Reduce-Reuse-Recycle ideas that we were taught in school. These are sure to help save you money, too.
Reuse: There are many ways you can reuse common household items instead of heading to the store. Get creative with your kids and teach them to use recycled materials, such as cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls, scrap paper, soda bottles, tin cans, and old tissue paper or packing peanuts for a variety of different in place of common items. Buy eco-friendly products, such as a hard plastic water bottle (see the best-rated brands) instead of individual bottles of Poland Spring or Aquafina. Though these companies do encourage their customers to recycle, the bottles use a non-durable plastic that ultimately cannot be reused and thus requires the creation of a new plastic bottle after each use.
Reduce: Let go of incandescent bulbs, and opt instead for CFLs, or better yet, LEDs, which exhaust just 1/5 and 1/10 of the wattage of incandescent, respectively. This will greatly decrease the impact we have on the power grid. What’s more, you’ll reap the savings both on your energy bill and through lightbulb purchases as 30 incandescent bulbs cost an average family more than $300 annually, whereas LEDs will cost only $30 in the same timespan. If you like a bright household, look for bulbs with high Lumens (not Watts), as these emit brighter light.
Recycle: Of course you’re familiar with traditional paper, plastic and metal recycling, but there are many ways to recycle. You could send your washing machine wastewater into the garden, purchase a low-flow toilet, give your used motor oil to a garage, mulch your Christmas tree, recycle burned out holiday lights to your local home improvement store and compost your food scraps. Try to purchase only recycled materials to support companies that promote recycling and to do a small part in decreasing your personal carbon impact.
In keeping with its philosophy of “Conserving the Future by Recycling the Past,” Gershow Recycling purchases scrap metal that would otherwise have wound up in local landfills and turns them into high-quality scrap products for recycling. For more information, call (631) 289-6188.