Our View | Reducing carbon footprint starts with simple steps

The Environmental Awareness Team (E.A.T) has introduced a 30-day challenge for the month of November that includes simple ways individuals can improve the planet. There are easy and non-time demanding things one can do to improve the environment.

Things YOU can do:

1. Pick up trash you see on the ground anywhere you go. If you see a piece of trash on the floor at the high school, pick it up and discard it at the nearest trash can.

2. See a light on, a cord plugged in or a sink running that doesn’t need to be? Unplug/turn it off. Yes, it’s convenient for the cord to be plugged in for the next time one might use it, but it’s an easy way to save energy and resources by taking the extra step to completely stop the drip of the sink or unplug your phone charger.

3. Recycle at school. You may not be able to recycle at home, but students are given the opportunity to recycle at the school. There are boxes for paper, boxes for plastic water bottles and perhaps more ways to recycle coming soon. Take this opportunity and don’t waste it and through plastic water bottles in the trash when there is a recycling box nearby.

4. Watch your waste. It’s really convenient to buy a box of tissues or roll of paper towels and use them once and throw them away. There is no work behind it. Or, you can be conscious of your waste and instead use handkerchiefs and cloth napkins. These do require you to wash them, but think about how many trees you will be saving. Another easy way to reduce your waste is by switching from plastic bags for lunch to containers or start washing your bags. There are also mesh bags that one can use for fruit, crackers, sandwiches, etc. They are not as cheap as plastic bags, but in the long run do save money and the planet. If one uses about three plastic bags a day for 180 days a year, that amounts to 540 bags. That is almost five boxes of Ziploc bags used on one person for a school year. Let’s say one uses five boxes each school year. That’s 60 boxes throughout elementary, junior high and high school years.

5. Walk and bike more. Cedar Falls is a small town and there often places that are nearby that would be a 10 minute walk or five minute bike ride, yet we opt for the two minute drive. This does require a little bit more work, but if one makes the same two minute drive everyday, the gas waste adds up quickly.

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