Water :: Blog Action Day 2010

Today is blog action day, a day when bloggers from around the world write about the same subject. This year’s topic is water.

There are a lot of different angles to write about with water. Clean drinking water. Efforts to keep rivers and lakes free of trash and debris. Your water footprint.

I’m gong to stick with something I know. Plastic water bottles.

I’m not going to preach about how plastic bottles are bad, because there are some instances when I still use them. But over the past several years, our family has reduced the number of one-time use plastic water bottles. We make an effort to use reusable, recyclable water bottles.

I use aluminum water bottles like this for sports drinks:

And these reusable bottles for lunch boxes:

It’s not a lot, but it’s something. And every bit counts.

According to Earth911.org, American use 28 billion plastic water bottles per year. Another statistics states the average US person drinks 200 bottles per year, 86% which are not recycled.

Some cities are taking action by reducing their spending on bottled water. A city in Maryland even banned the sale of bottled water.

It’s unrealistic to pledge to eliminate plastic water bottles altogether. But by making a conscious effort to use reusable bottles when is appropriate and convenient, and recycling all others, you really can make a difference.

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America Recycles Day

America Recycles DayDid you know glass can be recycled an infinite number of times? Or that every three months, U.S  landfills have enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet? And that Americans throw away enough office paper to build a 12 foot high wall of paper from Seattle to NY?
~ National Recycling Coalition

The National Recycling Coalition has designated tomorrow, November 15, as America Recycles Day, a day to encourage Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. The purpose is to continue to promote the social, environmental and economic value of recycling. The website has lots of great information, ideas and tools.

Check out the cool Conversionator, a nifty tool to determine how much your efforts are helping the planet (it’s fun for kids too). Based on my estimations, our household recycling:

  • saves eight trees per year
  • generates enough electricity to watch TV for 30 hours
  • lights one energy-saving light bulb for three days

And those estimates are conservative.

Here’s another way to look at it. Our local trash service partners with RecycleBank and awards points to those who recycle, based on weight. In six months, our recycling weighs as much as a Vespa 2008 Granturismo motorcycle.

The website also lists recycling events around the United States in conjunction with America Recycles Day. There are six Kansas events, one each in Great Bend, Lawrence, Kansas City, Overland Park, Topeka and Wichita. These communities are leading the way, promoting eco-friendly ways we can all be green, and demonstrating their commitment to our planet.

Need some inspiration? The website lists great ideas for companies, schools, organizations and governments:

  • Business: Buy reusable mugs or cups for employees to use instead of disposable cups.
  • Schools: Integrate information that is related to recycling into all subjects, such as math, chemistry, biology, and speech. (Example: Calculate the number of sheets of paper that equals one ton.)
  • Associations/civic organizations: When possible, fold and staple your mail, instead of using envelopes.
  • Governments: Have a paperless office day by encouraging staff to use e-mail and edit documents on-line.

If you already recycle, thank you for doing your part. But I bet you can do more! Replace just one product with a recyclable product. Or use cheap wash cloths instead of a paper towel (better yet, cut up old towels and use the scraps). Shop at a resale store. Use both sides of your printer paper. The options are endless…and the payoff? Huge.

My family knows the value of recycling, and we actively participate every day. Do you?

One Kansas Girl related posts:
October 27, 2009: Blog Action Day :: Climate Change
August 9, 2008: Clean and Green

Climate Change :: Blog Action Day 2009

Today is Blog Action Day, a day when all bloggers write a post about the same subject. This year, the topic is climate change.

You’ve probably heard about climate change. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), leading scientists believe that the warming of the earth (global warming) has something to do with the greenhouse gases that we produce when we do everyday things like turn on the lights and drive our car. Even the trash we send to landfills produce greenhouse gases and contribute to the warmer climate change.

So, what do we do about it?

More than a year ago, I wrote this post about ways I help the environment, which in turn, can help slow the changing climate. I also indicated a few more steps I would try to incorporate in the next year. One was to plant a garden, which I did last spring.

One other thing has changed since this post was written. Our trash service has increased the number and variety of recyclable items they accept. They also uses a service called RecycleBank to award points to people who recycle. The more points you receive, the more rewards you can purchase. It’s a good incentive, although my thought is that you should be recycling anyway, not just because you’re going to get a coupon for a free box Kraft macaroni and cheese. One neat thing about RecycleBank is that you can convert your points into a dollar amount and donate it to a participating local non-profit. Now that’s something worth doing.

How does recycling help slow the changing climate? When we recycle, we are reducing the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills, in turn reducing the amount of methane in the air. It also takes less energy to recycle an item, than to manufacture it from raw materials.

My kids are aware of our effort to help reduce our impact on the environment. They recycle their school papers, and try and remember to turn off the lights when they leave a room. They see us bring our own canvas bags to the grocery store and know the “curly” light bulbs use less energy. We drink water from reusable water bottles and try to use reusable food containers instead of ziplock bags.

So, what are you doing to help our planet? Even little step can add up to big changes.