By Jessica Bonilla, Dietitian Assistant
We are only four days away from Earth day, which makes it a perfect time to think about our actions for the past years. According to the ASCE, Americans generate around 258 million tons of material solid waste every year, only about 35% of the waste is recycled and 53% goes into landfills. What have we done so far to solve the problem about pollution and solid waste? The best way to help is to start with ourselves by making more sustainable decisions.
This year, Earth Day is dedicated to raise awareness about plastics and how to reduce them. Here are four ways to reduce our overall carbon footprint and waste:
- Meatless Mondays
Meatless Mondays is a movement around the world that consists in cutting meat once a week. The purpose of this movement is to decrease the carbon and water footprint generated by the production in meat, which is generally larger than crop products. Actually, it’s estimated that one pound of meat requires more than 2,000 gallons of water for its production.
By making this shift and decreasing the amount of meat in our diet, we are not only helping the planet, but we may also reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.
- Eat local
Buying local is a great strategy to support sustainability. This is because we will be buying food that hasn’t traveled very far distances and therefore hasn’t emitted lots of greenhouse gases during the trip. Our food will be fresher, and we will be supporting local businesses and economy. In addition, we can also buy food cheaper because there is a high supply in the seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies out of season can have a higher price due to the distance and the number of people involved in the process.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle
The three R’s reduce, reuse and recycle are three actions that we all should include in our daily basis in order to decrease our overall waste and to conserve natural resources
The first R, reduce, has the purpose decrease the amount of waste that we produce in a day-to-day basis. Implement this action to your routine by avoiding disposable items, printing in both sides of paper, drinking from reusable water bottles instead of plastic bottles, switching to cloth napkins for paper napkins and by decreasing consumption of products with lots of wrapping.
The second R, reuse, consists in using again older things that we have or finding them other usages than what they are intended for originally. Some examples are: using old envelopes as note pads, using old jars to store kitchen stuff, using paper that is printed already on one side, donating books and old clothes.
The last but not least is recycle, which means collecting and transforming into new products materials that would otherwise be considered as trash. Some materials that can be recycle are plastic bottles, cardboard, metal (tin, aluminum, steel), and glass.
- Bike more and drive less.
Riding a bike is beneficial to the environment by the simple fact that no pollution is excreted. Riding a bike will also increase your strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness and can help as a stress reliever. In addition, you will save money because no oil is required. Skip traffic and try to use your bike to get from point A to point B. Luckily for us, Davis is a very bike friendly town!
Did you know that UC Davis is planning to meet the goal of zero waste by 2020? Help to reach the goal by making sustainable choices and reducing your waste!