Going Green

Tips

  • Recycling an aluminum can saves enough electricity to power a television for three hours.
  • If one ton of paper gets recycled, it saves 4,100 kilowatts of energy, 17 trees and 60 pounds of air pollution.
  • If a ton of glass gets recycled, it can save nine gallons of oil.
  • In the U.S. alone, if one-fourth of the households replace one incandescent bulb with a CFL, it saves as much carbon dioxide as planting more than 200, 000 acres of forest.
  • Almost half of the greenhouse gases emitted from the average home come from driving family vehicles. One very easy way to lessen the impact is not to walk to locations within easy walking distance.
  • Don't let your vehicle idle. If you are stopped for more than 10 seconds, except in traffic, turn off your engine. Idling your vehicle for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than it would take to restart your engine. On cold mornings, excessive idling is not necessary as a vehicle engine requires only 20 seconds of running time in order to circulate the engine oil. So remember, turning off your engine saves gas AND the environment!

Facts

  • Americans use over 80,000,000,000 aluminum pop cans every year.
  • If all the newspaper in the United States was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year!
  • American throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam coffee cups every year.
  • Every year enough trash is carried down the Los Angeles River to fill the Rose Bowl.
  • An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now!
  • Paper from approximately 1 billion trees is thrown away every year in the United States.
  • Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour! Most of them are thrown away!
  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year!
  • The amount of wood and paper (Americans throw away each year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years. To produce each week's Sunday newspapers, 500,000 trees must be cut down.
  • Every year, Americans drink more than 100 billion cups of coffee. Of those, 14.4 billion are served in disposable paper cups, enough to wrap the earth 55 times if placed end-to-end! Those paper cups contain a plastic lining made from a petrochemical that would produce enough energy to heat 8,300 homes.
  • According to the US Energy Department (2006), Americans consume 140 billion gallons of gasoline a year.
  • Without any changes to the existing energy policy, Americans are expected to use 161 billion gallons of gasoline by the year 2017.
  • Americans could reduce vehicle emissions by 90 percent by using ethanol from plant cellulose - the material in cornstalks, grass and trees.
  • If the United States altered its energy policies by producing 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels a year, the growth of greenhouses gases from vehicles could be stopped by the year 2017.
  • In order to produce 35 billion gallons of alternative fuel, the United States would have to increase its amount of corn based ethanol seven (7) times its production level of 2006.
  • The 14 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1980. (1998 was the warmest year ever measured globally).
  • Average Americans throws away 10 times their own weight in garbage every year.
  • Americans throw away enough writing and office paper annually to build a wall 12 feet high, stretching from New York City to Los Angeles.
  • Only 1 percent of China’s 560 million city residents breathe air that is considered safe by the European Union.
  • Every day in the U.S., we produce enough trash to equal the weight of the Empire State Building.
  • Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour of every day and produce enough Styrofoam cups annually to circle the earth 436 times.
  • Americans throw away 570 disposable diapers each second.
  • Americans toss out enough aluminum cans to rebuild our commercial air fleet every three months.
  • Each year Americans fill enough garbage trucks to stretch from Earth halfway to the moon.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a swirling vortex of waste and debris in the Pacific Ocean, covers an area twice the size of the continental U.S. and is believed to hold almost 100 million tons of garbage.
  • The crew of 60 Minutes recently followed a container of e-waste, supposedly headed for recycling, that was instead illegally dumped in China. Toxic chemicals like cadmium, lead, mercury, chromium and polyvinyl chlorides from these discarded electronics contaminate poor Hong Kong communities like Guiyu, which has been found to have the highest levels of cancer-causing dioxins in the world. And, the problem is getting worse by the day: electronic waste is the fastest-growing waste stream worldwide. Americans throw out about 130,000 computers every day and over 100 million cell phones annually.
  • Increasing steel recycling by 50 percent would save the energy equivalent to seven nuclear power plants.
  • At least 50 million acres of rainforest are lost every year, totaling an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland combined. More than 50 percent of all living creatures on the earth reside in tropical rainforests, so with rainforest destruction they’re disappearing at a rate of 100 species per day. Experts believe that 5 to 10 percent of tropical rainforest species will become extinct during the next half-century. They’re also projecting that half of the remaining Amazon rainforest may be destroyed by the year 2030. The World Wildlife Fund concluded that 55 percent of the world’s largest rainforest stands to be severely damaged from agriculture, drought, fire, logging and livestock ranching over the next 22 years.
  • Average temperatures will increase by as much as 12 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the 21st century if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at the current pace. Even a temperature rise of just 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit would create a catastrophic domino effect, wiping out hundreds of species, causing extreme food and water shortages and generating floods that would displace hundreds of millions of people. A rise in temperature of 7.2 degrees in this century would see the world warm as much in 100 years as it did during the last 15,000 years since the end of the last ice age.
  • If the entire world lived like the average American, we’d need five planets to provide enough resources. Even if you’re the most dedicated environmentalist out there, if you’re American, your carbon footprint is still double the per-capita average of most of the world. Though America would have to reduce its carbon-emitting habits by 83 percent in order to be sustainable, that’s not quite as insurmountable as it sounds. A shift toward renewable energy, conservation, more efficient waste management and greater concentrations of people living in dense urban communities will go far toward decreasing our carbon footprint as a nation.