Aries Clean Energy
June 12, 2018
There’s lot of talk about what it means to be green. This month and next, Dillon Fuller takes a look at what individuals or businesses can do if they want to become better stewards of the environment.
By Dillon Fuller, Aries Clean Energy Staff
Going green is not about having green skin like the Incredible Hulk, but rather by consciously making environmental decisions to reduce harmful activities in everyday life. Every year the world disposes of about 2.12 billion tons of waste that end up in landfills or out on the streets, oceans, so forth. Every country has a different percentage of garbage that it recycles a year, but in the United States, that percentage is only about 35%. The EPA suggests that at least 75% of our waste is recyclable. 32% of the worlds energy production consists of crude oil, 27% is coal, 21% is gas, and 20% is left to clean and renewable energy (Yearbook). Let’s look at simple tasks that can allow an individual to be green.
Any individual can help reduce the gases in our atmosphere that are warming up the planet by trapping the suns heat; this is called the greenhouse effect. There are many steps someone can take to become greener. The most comfortable change is a habit that everyone can learn to break; throwing recyclables in a trash can rather than a recycle bin. When I was in college, we had many recycling bins across campus that would see no one use. Instead, students would toss their recyclables in standard trash cans. Ashley May from USA Today wrote that if everyone recycled one aluminum can, it would be equivalent to take over 6,500 cars off the road (USAToday).
These recyclables go farther than bottles and cans. Electronics, batteries, clothing, glass, paper, and much more can be recycled to reduce the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. There is a statistic, by World Counts.com, which says that one of the main reasons we collect so much trash is due to throwing items away within six months of use. Instead of throwing away these items, we could recycle them. Many government agencies have posted ways for their citizens to recycle all the items just mentioned. The United States creates 25% of the world’s waste, and if 75% of that can be reused then only 6.25% would be put into landfills. Imagine when your computer breaks you take it to be recycled rather than throwing it into the garbage. Also, imagine if landfills were taking longer to fill up and not causing a day to day issue.
In the United Kingdom almost half, 45.2% (Waste Management World), of the country recycles, and 55% of the nation will require its citizens to recycle more than 60% by 2030. Singapore produces 3073 pounds of waste per person and recycles 61% of that waste. A policy was put in place that the country wanted to focus on; Reuse, Recycle and Reduce. There are numerous things individuals around the world can do to lessen the amount of waste going into landfills and out into the environment.
Household Energy Saving
In the United States, 65% of energy is utilized while the remaining 35% is wasted (Visualcapitalist). Great ways to become greener is by taking products and plugging them into a power strip and then turning the power strip off. These power strips will not allow standby products such as smart TV’s or gaming consoles to draw power continuously. Another great way to reduce energy usage is by having motion sensing lightbulbs or by getting in the habit of turning lights off when you leave a room or when you’re not using them.
Not wasting water is another form of not consuming energy and becoming greener. When people brush their teeth, they do not need to keep the water running. A quick dab of water on the toothpaste will do. Along with not taking 40-minute showers will help reduce wasting water. One-third of the world does not have fresh water to consume or use in everyday life. Americans use around 148 trillion gallons of water a year. If the country could use 20% less water a year, then there would be 29.6 trillion gallons of water to spare. The water crisis’s around the world would end just with the United States cutting back on its water usage.
Lessening the Use of Fossil Fuels
The last simple thing people can do to become green is to decrease their use of fossil fuels. In 2010 a study was done on the number of vehicles on the road, and it equaled to about 1.2 billion, and by 2035 there is a projection of 2 billion cars. With this many vehicles, there could be a reduction just by finding alternatives. Individuals can carpool to work with friends or family rather than drive separate vehicles. Taking an Uber or Lyft reduces the number of vehicles, but they are not everywhere yet. If people can walk, ride a bike, a bus, or a train then 2 billion cars may not come until much later than 2035. The other option is owning an electric car. With the introduction of many new electric vehicles, people can lower their use of fossil fuels. Nations around the world are implementing laws that will only allow the sale of electric cars.
If someone reuses an item or recycles materials, this can be a way for that person to save on fossil fuels as well. It may not be a direct way of saving like the use of oil and gasoline, but it helps indirectly from manufacturing the new products you just bought to the disposal of the item.
So, what does it mean to be green as an individual? Recycling, household energy saving, office energy saving, and decreasing the use of direct fossil fuels are all ways to be green. Throwing one bottle in a recycle can is, but it needs to be constant and become more of a habit. When the world switched from horse and buggy to gas-powered vehicles, everyone had to relearn transportation by making it a practice of using those items. It is the same concept for becoming green. By becoming more environmentally friendly, we are building a life for the generations ahead of us. We are sustaining the life we have, for them. One day I believe the world will have a 100% renewable clean energy source along with greener individuals to maintain that way of life.
At Aries Clean Energy, we are doing this and helping others. The residents of Lebanon, Tennessee, can see the landfill diversion and green energy production made available with its downdraft gasification plant. Eighty-eight percent of Americans believe something should be done about reducing his or her environmental impact and this can also be seen in Lebanon (SheltonGrp). Lebanon is converting city-owned vehicles to natural gas. The city has also installed solar fields at their water and wastewater treatment plants to offset the current power bill.
Next month: What does “being green” mean to the business sector.