Americans comprise 5 percent of the Earth's population and produce 40 percent of its waste. That may seem irresponsible, but it can change.
Step 1: Keep a recycling bin Keep a bin handy in the house for recyclables to help the environment and stay green. Europeans on average reuse 60 percent of their trash; Americans recycle less than half of that.
Step 2: Reduce your water Reduce your water intake by reusing water supplies. Americans use 100 gallons a day, more than triple 50 years ago. Water-efficient fixtures alone would reduce electricity use from the water we waste, equivalent to taking 15,000 cars off the road.
Step 3: Recycle cans Recycle aluminum cans. Over 80 billion are used every year. Add to that siding, gutters, car parts, yard implements, storm door and window frames, and lawn furniture, and Americans throw away four times more aluminum than it would take to rebuild the American commercial air fleet.
TIP: Even shoes, clothing, hats, socks, gloves, and old glasses can be recycled.
Step 4: Reuse paper and save trees Save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, and 7,000 gallons of water by recycling 1 ton of paper. A billion trees are thrown out each year in paper waste.
Step 5: Avoid bottled water and Styrofoam Purify water with in-home systems and carry a travel mug for coffee to quit contributing to the daily waste of over 2 million plastic bottles. Americans also dump 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups, made from non-renewable petroleum, every year.
Step 6: Reuse steel Reuse steel products. Low though American recycling numbers are, enough steel is recycled in the U.S. each year to heat and light 18 million homes.
TIP: Recycled polyethylene is categorized as a #1 plastic and can be recycled in a multitude of ways.
Step 7: Eliminate plastic bags Eliminate polyethylene plastic bags by using cloth bags instead. Discarded plastic bags and other recyclable garbage from humans kill over 1 million sea creatures a day in our oceans and seas.
FACT: The highest point in Hamilton County, Ohio at over 1,000 feet above sea level is a mound of trash at the Rumpke landfill dubbed "Mount Rumpke."