New Year’s Eve has always been about looking forward to the upcoming year and the changes that we would like to make in our lives. Many of our resolutions involve some type of self improvement such as exercising or eating healthier. Why not make a resolution this year to do something for the earth? The Summit Recycling Advisory Committee would like to discuss a few simple life-style changes that can make a big difference.
· Consider buying a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water. Americans buy 29 billion bottles of water yearly and to make those bottles, manufacturers use 17 million barrels of crude oil. That’s a lot of oil! And unfortunately only 1 in 6 bottles get recycled so if you do buy bottled water, make sure to recycle it since it takes hundreds of years for it to break down in the landfill.
· Buy in bulk or buy larger packages and put the amount you need for school or snacks in reusable containers. Buying in bulk is usually cheaper than buying individually wrapped servings, and requires less packaging.
· Make sure to recycle your aluminum cans! It takes 95% less energy to make a can from recycled aluminum than from new materials. Plus it takes over 500 years for it to break down in a landfill.
· Remember to bring your reusable shopping bags with you to the grocery store. Less than 5% of the plastic bags used get recycled; the remainder end up in landfills where they can take hundreds of years to break down.
These few simple steps can go a long way to creating a more sustainable future.
Jackie Kondel is a member of the Summit Recycling Advisory Committee and Director of Children's Education at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum.