I have always been into recycling, but this book opened by eyes to the waste that surrounds us, and how recycling is only a teeeeeeeensy piece of a solution.
Here are some of the things I learned from Pulitzer Prize Winner Edward Humes:
- One out of every 6 large trucks in America is a garbage truck
- America has 5% of the population, but gives off 25% of the world’s waste
- Across our lifetime, Americans produce 102 TONS of trash
- Ancient Greeks were the first to have a dump, as opposed to just throwing the trash out their windows onto the streets
- There’s a national trash Olympics (but that was nowhere to be found once I googled it)
- While companies say that switching from glass bottles to plastic bottles is cheaper, they’re not being honest. It IS cheaper – for them! Not for the consumer, who ultimately is the person who pays the higher price
- The fish that are a major part of the food market are eating toxic plastic at 24,000 tons per year (just in the North Pacific). Gross. Jason Mraz (who I LOVE) posted this on his website that is worth checking out and is really easy to understand: Oceans of Garbage: Why People are Eating Their Own Trash
- The UN estimates that 7 million tons of trash ends up in the oceans, 80% of that being plastic
- Trash Track – We know how we get our products, but what happens once they are trashed? Trash Track actually follows trash to its destinations, some traveling many, many miles just to be recycled, therefore outweighing the value of that recycling
- The Army, during WWII, analyzed their trash, found out what soliders ate and threw away, and saved 2.5 million pounds of food per day when they revamped their menus
- The ChicoBag from birth to present – Shocked by the amount of plastic bags fluttering around a landfill, Andy Keller created this reusable bag that folds up teensy! I have a brown one I keep in my purse!
- Plastic bag fact: Tying them into knots helps them from blowing all around on a landfill, garbage truck, etc, and into the oceans, streets, playgrounds. . .
The Zero Waste Home tells Bea Johnson’s story (described in Garbology) as a woman who helped turn her entire family’s trash into something that fits inside a mason jar. While she does go to extremes, her tips helped me do a little revamping of my own!
My new goals to reduce my carbon footprint? (Linked to my Amazon purchases)
- Use mesh produce bags in addition to the cloth bags I use for groceries.
- Cut out paper towels by using cloth napkins and cloth dishrags
- My husband and I are going to try to use a shave bar instead of regular shaving cream, since it’s supposed to last much longer – I’ll follow up later on to let you know how this goes!
- Say no to free gifts – no taking pens, pencils, magnets, etc. from advertisers
- Use every free piece of paper front and back before recycling
- Think about my purchases and my trash in order to make myself more aware of what I’m doing
- Follow Bea’s website to see if I can glean more tips from her that I can easily incorporate into my lifestyle
Those are in addition to the things I already do, like recycle, try to waste less, turn on the fans instead of lowering the AC, doing laundry and the dishwasher loads only when full, and so on. I’m not going to stop doing the things I enjoy or buying items, but I can do some little things to just reduce the amount of waste I put into this world.
Jason Mraz is trying to lessen his carbon footprint with his organization, Tree is a Four Letter Word (a wordplay on his cd, Love is a Four Letter Word).
What is something you do, or will start to do, to help lessen your carbon footprint?
Addition: I started my own green blog to follow my journey and make me be more conscious of my waste!