Each day, you waste on average 4.5 lbs of municipal solid waste (MSW). That amounts to approximately 245 million tons of waste each year in the United States that citizens like you contribute to. Soon we’ll be swimming in our own waste. How does that make you feel? Yum. MSW is made up of the aluminum, plastic and paper packaging that surrounds purchased items, as well as any excess food you toss out.
The days of glass milk jars and loading our groceries into cars without an army of plastic bags in tow is not something we typically see today. Excess packaging is ultimately a result of increasingly busy schedules that we Americans seem to hold as highest priority. This has driven the food industry to find ways to make life easier by increasing plastic and packaging materials for convenience and time efficacy.
According to Jonathan Bloom’s article An Easy Way To Aid The Environment, he states “The average family of four, conservatively, throws out an estimated $1,350 annually,” which can add up to about 700 meals that could be given out in soup kitchens. Reducing our carbon footprint today will help future generations have less damaging effects on the environment, as well as saving us a few extra dollars.
It only takes a few adjustments in our lives to make some sort of difference. Take Starbucks for example: Over the years they’ve tried to come up with an eco-friendly cup. Unfortunately their 100% recyclable cup could not withstand hot beverages for long. Now days, they use 10% post-consumer recycled paper in their cups. Although that’s seems slim, that small percentage saves about 11,000 tons of wood and 47 million gallons of wastewater, annually. Now imagine a reusable cup in place of the partially recycled cup. Can you imagine how many trees we’d be saving for our children’s children?
So take one eco-friendly challenge for a whole month. I dare you. Whether that be to bring your own cup into the coffee shop or Tupperware into a restaurant, bringing your own bags to the grocery store, or buying fresh items more often. The solution to environment issues start with you doing something to make a difference.