How to Help the Environment


How to Help the Environment


As of November 2021, there were over 1.75 billion tons of waste dumped around the world. Even more shocking, that number continues to increase at a rapid rate and doesn’t show signs of stopping any time soon. 

There are multiple contributors to the global waste problem:

  • Air pollution: Burning landfills that release toxic substances into the air, along with traffic and other air pollution produced by humans; 

  • Groundwater pollution: Toxic waste pollutes around 280 billion tons of groundwater each year;

  • Ocean pollution: Over 13 million tons of plastic and other waste that ends up in the world’s oceans every year;

  • Soil pollution: Hazardous chemicals that have leaked into the soil and cycle into our food.

Unfortunately, pollution is just one of the many factors contributing to the current state of our planet. If we don’t take action now, the state of our planet will continue to plummet.  Throughout the rest of this article, you will find a few tips and tricks on what you can do to help the environment. 

1. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Often referred to as the 3 Rs, to reduce, reuse, and recycle means to:

  • Reduce the amount of trash you produce;

  • Reuse items as many times as you can before throwing them away;

  • Recycle items — either into a bin or turn something old into something new.

There are many benefits associated with abiding by the 3 Rs such as: 

  • Conserving natural resources;

  • Preventing pollution;

  • Reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills;

  • Saving energy. 

Reducing, reusing, and recycling are just three of many ways you can cut down on waste. You can also reduce waste by:

  • Buying reusable items rather than single-use items;

  • Buying in bulk;

  • Composting;

  • Donating unwanted items;

  • Growing your own vegetables;

  • Picking up trash whenever you see it, even if it isn’t yours;

  • Shopping at thrift/second-hand stores; 

  • Shopping local markets.

Whether you follow one or follow all, remembering the above tips can surely help you reduce the amount of waste you produce. 

2. Conserve Water

Practicing common water conservation tips in your household is a win-win situation for you and the environment. Not only can it save you money, but it can also reduce the amount of waste you contribute to the ecosystem. 

You can save water in your home by:

  • Checking for and repairing leaking faucets and plumbing features;

  • Cutting back on your shower time;

  • Turning off the water while brushing your teeth and shaving;

  • Only starting laundry and dish loads when they’re completely full;

  • Water your lawn during the cool parts of the day.

Even only doing a few of the above is still big enough to make a positive impact on your water bill and the environment. 

3. Use Energy-Efficient Fixtures and Appliances

Energy-efficient appliances and fixtures are appliances that use less energy. Appliances that have the “Energy Star” label are backed by the government as appliances that save you money and protect the environment. 

Examples of energy-efficient fixtures and appliances include:

  • Ceiling fans;

  • Dishwashers;

  • Dryers;

  • Refrigerators;

  • Thermostats;

  • Washing machines. 

Statistics show that ENERGY STAR-certified appliances use significantly less power than non-energy-saving appliances. For example, dryers use about 20% less power and refrigerators about 40% less. All told, ENERGY STAR-certified appliances are 10 to 50% more efficient than regular ones.

4. Dispose of Things Properly

If you litter, or rinse or flush items down the drain that aren’t meant for drainage systems, you’re contributing to water pollution. Ultimately, this contributes to toxic water runoff. Before disposing of a questionable item be sure to research how to properly dispose of it.

For instance, recycle items that are meant to be recycled and toss items that are safe to go to the landfill. Contact your local landfill to see what they do and do not accept. Other ways to ensure that you aren’t contributing to toxic runoff include:

  • Don’t wash animal feces into the streets or drains;

  • Refrain from putting oils, waxes, and chemicals of any kind down the drain;

  • Use a utility locator like the Leica Geosystems to locate and identify underground utility structures that may need repair, like an underground water leak.

Don’t hesitate to utilize the web to research which items are okay to be washed away. 

5. Collect Discarded Items

Whether you go alone, with loved ones, or your entire community, hosting a clean-up is a sure-fire way to make a positive impact on our planet. Even if you dedicate an hour of your time to walking around your town picking up trash along the way, you’re still making a large impact. 

However, one thing to consider, especially when picking up trash with unknown origins, is to be sure you have the proper tools. This includes packing rubber gloves, trash grabbers, and trash bags. You may also consider shopping for an industrial metal detector to search more in-depth in those low-visibility areas. 

6. Plant Native Greenery

Planting greenery like flowers, trees, shrubs, and grasses helps communities replenish the areas that were once green. However, not every type of greenery is universal — some plants are not suitable in certain climates. 

Before you choose to plant with the intent to improve the environment, you’ll want to be sure to plant greenery that is native to that area. For example, you wouldn’t plant a palm tree in the mountains for the sake of more greenery. 

Also, planting native greenery is crucial for the ecosystem. According to the U.S. Forest Service, “These important plant species provide nectar, pollen, and seeds that serve as food for native butterflies, insects, birds, and other animals.” Without native plants, the rest of the native ecosystem couldn’t survive. 

7. Drive Less

Driving less saves the environment, saves you money, increases your car’s life expectancy, and even reduces stress. Rather than driving you can:

  • Carpool;

  • Take local transportation;

  • Ride a bike;

  • Use rideshare services like Uber and Lyft;

  • Walk.

Driving less has multiple elements that are beneficial to both you and the environment. You may want to consider finding an alternative ride like the ones listed above the next time you leave the house. 

8. Educate Others

There’s a reason why businesses prefer word-of-mouth advertising — because news doesn’t spread faster than when it’s from the mouths of your peers. When you educate others on the impact their actions leave on the environment, it can help them see the changes they need to make. 

There’s power in numbers. The more people that know how to help the environment, the more of a positive impact we can make. 

9. Shop Mindfully

Believe it or not, the products you purchase play multiple roles in the negative impact on the environment. Important factors include the way the packaging is made, how/where the products are sourced, or even whether the materials are ethically made. 

That’s why the next time you go shopping you should consider choosing environmentally friendly products. These are products that promote being green and implementing eco-friendly manufacturing and shipping methods. 

When choosing eco-friendly products you will want to consider:

  • Reusability;

  • Durability;

  • Energy efficiency;

  • Material;

  • Recyclability;

  • Packaging;

  • Manufacturing process;

  • Where it’s made;

  • Shipping distance;

  • Brand size.

Some companies even participate in charitable services by donating a certain percentage of proceeds to various charities. 

10. Volunteer

Volunteering your time can be just as valuable as donating money. You can search for local volunteering opportunities or start your own event. Examples of good volunteer options related to sustainability that you can attend include:

  • Habitat restoration;

  • Planting native greenery;

  • Raking the town;

  • Trash cleanups.

Regardless of what you choose to do, just know that your actions are making a positive impact on the environment. Aside from improving our planet, following these tips will also impact you, your loved ones, and future generations to come.