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It's Earth Day!

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Joan Lunden

Joan's Blog / / April 22, 2015

Earth day nail

Today is Earth Day! On April 22nd, 1990 Earth day was declared an international day of importance. Each year, 192 countries around the world help raise awareness about our planet and educate others on the strain we as humans put on our environment. 

Everyone has heard the saying "Go Green" but have you thought about the small changes that you can make in your day to day life that could help this national movement? 

Communities around the United States have been making changes to help transition people into become more environmentally green. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and markets are replacing plastic bags with brown recycled bags, as well as strongly advising customers to purchase a reusable grocery bag, made from recycled material to bring and reuse every time they shop. Also, after making a purchase, retailers and ATMs have now added an email receipt option to your list of choices when completing a transaction. Not only is this saving trees, but you won’t have to worry about losing your receipts anymore! If everyone started to make these changes to their daily routine, we could start to see a drastic improvement in cutting down waste and lessening environmental pollution. Here are some interesting facts that opened my eyes to "Going Green": 

  • 84 percent of all household waste can be recycled. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to watch 3 hours of TV. It takes less energy (90% less) to recycle aluminum cans than to manufacture new ones.
  • Only 27% of newspapers in the U.S. are recycled. If they were all recycled it would save one quarter of a billion trees EVERY YEAR. 
  • Every year there are 14,000,000,000 pounds of garbage thrown into the oceans and The plastic garbage kills at least 1 million creatures in the ocean each year! 
  • Each person throws away approximately four pounds of garbage every day, that garbage will stay in a landfill for about 30 years and approximately only 10 percent of every landfill can be cleaned up.
    • Here is an example of how long it takes some things take to break down:
      • plastics take 500 years,
      • aluminum cans take 500 years,
      • organic materials, take 6 months,
      • cotton, rags, paper take 6 months.
         

One of the biggest and newest problems that has emerged over the past two decades is the rapid growth in technology and how to dispose of it. According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Americans now own approximately 24 electronic products per household. With new and upgraded cell phones and other electronic devices coming out every year, electronic wastes or E-waste as they call it is becoming a new issue that needs to be resolved. People don't realize that discarded electronics such as cell phones, batteries, TVs and computers, contain hazardous materials that can pollute our atmosphere. E-Waste accounts for 40 percent of the lead and 75 percent of the heavy metals found in landfills around the country. If a landfill's liner fails, the groundwater supply may become contaminated with these harmful substances like lead and other acidic conditions that would then become hazardous to our health. Here is how to "eCycle" your electronics:

  • Return to buyer. Many battery, computer, TV, and cell phone manufacturers, as well as electronics retailers offer some kind of take back program or sponsor recycling events. 
  • Call2recycle: Donate used electronics for reuse. Recycling electronics prevents valuable materials from going into the waste stream. Learn more at call2recycle.org or call 877-646-4025.

Other than the problem of recycling electronics, technology has actually had a great impact in helping our environment change for the better. Technology now allows us to pay our bills online, eliminating hundreds of paper filled envelopes that arrive by snail mail every day. With so many companies offering E-Bills we barely ever have to open our mailbox anymore! With the introduction of E-bills, every household can save 6 pounds of paper, 23 pounds of wood, and avoid producing 29 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions every year. Here are some more ways technology is saving the earth and saving us money:

  • Using compact fluorescent light bulbs saves energy and is more affordable.These earth friendly bulbs last 10 times longer than regular bulbs, use ¼ the energy, and produce 90% less heat. To top it off, they produce more light per watt compared to yesterday’s traditional bulbs.
  • Big LCD screen TVs can use as much energy as a refrigerator! Now they have LCD TVs that are LED lit and save a ton of energy. ConEdison even recommends them to help you lower your energy bill
  • Solar powered products are on the rise, and not only are they better for the earth they look pretty cool too. There are solar laptop bags that charge your laptop, and solar iphone cases that charge your phone.

Small day to day lifestyle changes will have a BIG impact on the future of our planet, so lets do everything in our power to help protect it!  

Categories: Joan's Blog
About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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