What can I do to help the environment?

Lots of things! There are many things you can do each and everyday to help make a difference and help the environment.

Recycle! Many things can be recycled - aluminum and steel cans, newspaper, white paper, magazines, glass bottles, plastic bottles, etc. It's as simple as throwing them in the recycling bin instead of the trash! Click below for more information on how to reduce our resource use through:

 


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Why should we care about recycling? Consider these facts:
  • Each individual in the United States creates about 4 pounds of garbage per day.
  • Americans produce enough trash to fill 63,000 garbage trucks each day.
  • Each year, people in the United States produce 154 million tons of garbage. That's enough trash to fill the New Orleans Superdome from top to bottom, twice a day, every day. And as much as 50% of the trash is recyclable!
  • It's estimated that half the present 6,000 landfills in the U.S. will be filled to capacity by the year 2000.


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Recycle newspapers, office paper, junk mail

Did you know that the average person in the U.S. uses about 580 pounds of paper annually. Every week more than 500,000 trees are used just to make Sunday newspapers yet, unfortunately, 80% of the newspapers are never recycled. In the office Americans throw away enough office and writing paper to build a wall 12 feet high, stretching from Los Angeles to New York City." (50 Simple Things... pg. 70)

Conservation "Can-dos"

  • Stop Junk Mail Write to: Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, 11 West 42nd St., PO Box 3861, New York, NY 10163-3861. They can stop your name from being sold to most large mailing lists.
  • Pay Attention to Packing Choose products that use minimal packaging and/or use recycled materials.
  • Buy Recycled When selecting recycled materials, look for items with a high percentage of "post-consumer" materials.
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Reduce the use of and recycle plastics.

While plastics equal only about 7% of our garbage by weight, they make up 25-30% of our garbage volume. Certain types of plastic will not decompose and will still be around 500 years from now. Many plastic bottles - liter pop bottles, milk jugs, shampoo bottles, contact lens cleaning products, etc. - can be recycled. Look on the bottom of bottles for the recycling symbol surrounding a number code.

Conservation "Can-dos"
  • Paper or plastic? Try cloth. Take a reusable canvas bag with you when you shop. It takes one 15-20 year old tree to make only 700 paper grocery bags. Plastic bags are not degradable (even those that claim to be "biodegradable" never completely disappear).
  • Reuse "In the U.S., more than 25 billion styrofoam cups are thrown away each year. If all of these cups were placed in a line, the line would be long enough to circle the earth 436 times!" (Schwartz pg. 15). Try a washable, reusable coffee mug.
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Compost yard waste

Every year valuable landfill space is occupied by the more than 24 million tons of grass clippings, leaves, and other yard wastes that are thrown away in the United States. Most of this can be composted. Composting yard waste recycles nutrients back into the soil.

Conservation "Can-dos"

  • Coming soon


Recycle aluminum

Aluminum is made from bauxite, a mineral often mined from the soil beneath rain forests. Rain forests are home to countless numbers of species. These animals and plants have a better chance of surviving if their natural habitat is left undisturbed. The more aluminum we recycle, the less bauxite we'll need to make new aluminum not to mention the other natural resources used to make cans "from scratch".

Conservation "Can-dos"

Smash and Cash!
Join Rolling Hill Zoo in collecting aluminum cans. Bring your rinsed crushed aluminum cans to the Zoo for our keepers to recycle. Monies collected will be used to purchase enrichment items for our animals and orangutan conservation. Find out more.

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Recycle glass

Recycling glass saves energy, natural resources and landfill space. By recycling one glass jar you conserve enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours.

Conservation "Can-dos"

  • Coming soon



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Water Conservation

Conservation "Can-dos"

  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save about 2 1/2 gallons of water each time. After you wet your toothbrush and toothpaste, shut the water off. Brush. Then turn the water back on for rinsing.
  • Don't leave the water running while you wash your hands. Turn the water on and wet your hands. Turn the water off. Lather up with soap. Then turn the water back on to rinse. You'll use about 2 1/2 gallons of water less than if you had left the water running the whole time.
  • Stop those leaks Check your indoor water using appliances for leaks. Many silent leaks allow water and your money to go down the drain.
  • Replace worn out appliances and devices Replace your old toilet, the largest water user in your home, with a water efficient 1.6 gallon per flush toilet. Installing water-saving showerheads and faucets can save even more water.
  • Go Native Consider planting native plants or types of grasses and shrubs that do not require as much water.
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Household Energy-Saving Tips

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy estimates that if each person would increase the energy efficiency of our major appliances by 10-30%, we would reduce the demand for electricity by the equivalent of 25 large power plants.

"People in industrialized countries make up only a quarter of Earth's population - but they use three-quarters of its resources! People in the United States make up only 5 percent of Earth's population but generate at least a third of the planet's pollution. The average American's energy use is roughly equivalent to that of 2 Japanese, 6 Mexicans, 12 Chinese, 33 Indians, 147 Bangladeshis, 281 Tanzanians, or 422 Ethiopians." (Braus pg. 38)

Conservation "Can-dos"

  • Check the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer. The temperature of the refrigerator should be between 38 - 42° F; the freezer between 0 - 5° F. Refrigerators or freezers running at temperatures 10 degrees colder than necessary can increase household energy consumption by 25%.
  • Wash a full load of clothes, rather than just a partial load and save a lot of water. Washers use 32-59 gallons of water for each cycle. Up to 90% of the energy used for washing clothes is used to heat the water. A warm water wash and a cold rinse will work just as well as a hot water wash and a warm rinse on nearly all clothes. (The temperature of the rinse doesn't affect cleaning.)
  • Turn off lights, TVs, etc., when they are not in use. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs for traditional (incandescent) light bulbs. Compact fluorescents may initially be more expensive to purchase, but you will need 13 incandescents to last for the same 10,000 hours. Over its lifetime, a compact fluorescent will use about 1/4 the amount of energy that an incandescent will use.
  • Dispose of alkaline batteries properly or use rechargeable batteries
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Automotive

Take to the streets...on foot! Yea, most of us have to drive to get around but you can get around by taking public transportation, and carpooling. Leave a little early and walk or bike to your destination. You will be saving the environment and enjoying the outdoors plus it is great exercise!

Conservation "Can-dos"

  • Fuel efficient cars help conserve resources and save money at the gas pump. Car pooling, walking, or biking when possible also helps conserve energy.
  • Keep your vehicle in good running condition to maximize fuel efficiency. Properly inflated tires will also maximize gasoline usage.
  • If you change your own oil, dispose of the used oil at a waste oil disposal facility.
  • Take your used batteries in for recycling when you purchase a new battery. Most retailers will charge extra if you do not present an old battery for recycling when you go to purchase a new one.
  • Recycle used tires.

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