In my opinion, it isn’t what we do with our plastic or paper when we are done with it that matters, really. The real problem is why we produce so many products that cannot be used again and again, or using resources that pollute our world. Now these sort of issues will not be resolved in the near future… so what we can do is use our knowledge and imagination to think outside of the box in order to reuse and reduce what we have and what we are going to use. Sites like this: http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/20-more-ways-to-reuse-old-plastic-paper-bags-10000001088458/index.html are great tools to use in order to manageably reduce our footprints in the long run. Creativity is our best tools as ever learning and adapting people.
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I’m sure all of us have thrown away scraps of paper recently, whether it has been notebook paper, index cards, or copy paper. You may or may not know this, but you can actually make your own paper out of those scraps! I recently found a website that shows you a procedure to make your own paper. That’s pretty cool! I can take about 20,000 trees to make a Saturday edition of a big city newspaper, which is equivalent to more than a million trees a year! You can use the recycled paper to make things such as greeting cards or letters to write to your family. So before you go and spend money and waste trees on new paper, try to make your own!
While many of us know about the common things we can recycle (paper, plastic, glass), there are so many other things that we can recycle to reduce our carbon footprint.
Technology is a majorly controversial topic when looking at carbon emissions. Here on Einzstein, there is even a discussion group about whether technology is a want or a need. Many students have expressed that they believe upgrading to the newest technology is not a need based purchase and should be avoided. However, if you do upgrade your phone or device, you can still attempt to reduce your carbon footprint while doing so. Technology can be recycled, and in more ways than one! Many companies accept used devices, including Goodwill and Verizon (http://www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/splash/electronicdevicerecycling.jsp), so that when someone needs a new device, rather than purchasing a new one, they can have your used one. Technology that cannot be reused can also be recycled. These devices are either refurbished to be able to be used again, or recycled for their steel.
Recycling your clothes can help reduce your carbon footprint too. You can not only hand your clothes down to a sibling or even refurbish them for yourself, but donate them to places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, charities, or local thrift shops. According to the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textile Assn, 45% of recycled clothes are sold to other countries, 30% are turned into cleaning rags, and 25% are turned into fibers for stuffing or insulation. Many clothing companies (including Levi, Gap, and Patagonia) use recycled clothes as well. Patagonia spokeswoman Jen Rapp says that recycling clothes, rather than making them from raw material, saves 72% in energy costs and 76% in CO2 emissions. Clothing recycling really can make a huge difference because the plastic that is used in textiles saves 57% of the energy used to make them from virgin materials, or about 1 ton of CO2 emissions for every ton that is recycled (according to the Natural Resources Defense Council). See the link attached to this post for more information on the opportunities and effects of recycling clothes.
So if buying less technology and clothes to reduce your carbon footprint is “off the table” for you, you can still help to reduce carbon emission even globally by recycling your old devices and apparel.
For more information on things you didn’t know you could recycle, see the link below.
After I had heard about up-cycling and reusing old products, I remembered that I had a friend that used to make “capri-sun purses” and donate them to less fortunate girls. She basically took her empty juice pouches and taped them together; then she added a handle on top and she had a purse that was ready to donate!
I think this is a great way of reusing an old item, especially since the juice pouches would just go to a landfill if they weren’t reused. If everyone started doing this, or at least started up cycling and reusing old items, many people’s carbon footprints would decrease.
Here’s a link on how to make a capri sun purse:
What are your thoughts on this crafty way to re-use an otherwise useless item?
After seeing a few posts about upcycling, I decided to check it out and do some research on it for myself. It’s really interesting that you can don’t even to put that old glass bottle in the recycling bin. You can just re-purpose it by using it as a hanging light pendant! You can even turn all those old CD spindles into bagel holders. Who knew there were so many interesting uses for everyday things.
Hi, my name is Ryan Poon and I live in Oakland, CA.
I have found that the use of plastic water bottles are a central part to the degradation of the environment and to the topic of reuse and recycling. At my high school, I have fortunately had access to water fountains installed around campus. I daily bring a metal water bottle that I can refill throughout the course of the day so I don’t have to bring and waste plastic bottles after they are drunk. Every class, I drink about half a liter of water and then refill my bottle between classes. Whenever I do, I often take note of a small screen at the top of the fountain that states how many plastic water bottles we have saved from consumption. The numbers stun me; the students at my school have drunk over 100,000 plastic bottles worth of water at each fountain, without the plastic waste. This is a quintessential example of how much difference using one’s own water bottle can make. Using this system as an example, I think the best way to promote recycling is not by promoting a certain waste bin, but by promoting other sustainable alternatives. Though it may be expensive, installing water fountains in areas where many people gather or pass by would support the use of reusable water bottles or the fountain itself instead of a plastic water bottle. That way, we won’t have to worry about the waste if there isn’t any waste in the first place (except in the production, but the of use the reusable bottle over and over again probably cancels out the production waste).
Despite this, recycling bins should be kept for the other miscellaneous objects, such as sheets of paper, because the paper cannot be cleaned and reused. It must be recycled into material that can be used for more paper. However, can you think of any alternatives to other objects, such as plates, utensils, or soda cans? What if school cafeterias used plastic plates instead of paper ones? Though this may require a small staff for washing dishes, it may be better than toss hundreds of paper plates that simply serve as a surface to eat food off of. What about the drinks in a vending machine? Any ideas?
Who says you have to just throw away items? Why not re-purpose and recycle products yourself? Many people have taken items they don’t use anymore and make it into other things that are more useful to your life. This would be better for the environment because you aren’t throwing them away. Examples are making a soap jar out of an old mason jar, making old button up shirts into pillow cases, or if you have any old postcards you could make a wallet out of them. Crafting is a hobby that is super fun and easy. The following site has ideas and instructions on how to make something new out of something old.
Children are too often driven to school
I think that children are driven to school too often and this damages on the environment.
Children today is much more lazy than they were 10 years ago, for about 10 years ago every one was going or cycling to school, now children are more spoiled and gets what they want.
I think that the only solution to get the children to walk or cycle to school is really just to get them to do as before. Children are much more alert and ready for school when they got some fresh air in the morning, they are not getting the fresh air when they are driven to school.
It also helps a lot to the environment that we try to walk or ride a bike or take the bus more often and this is the simple solutions that everyone can take the benefit of.
Recycling is so important because it is an easy, free way to improve your community and reduce your carbon footprint. But not everyone has access to recycling, in fact, some people don’t even have recycling bins! According to a town that upgraded to 96 gallon recycling bins (http://monroe.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/a-big-blue-96gallon-recycle-cart-in-every-driveway), there has been a 30% increase in people recycling! If every town did this, then the rate at which carbon is being emitted would greatly decrease.
Here is a link to a video of what happens to the materials that you recycle: