Conserving energy by reducing, reusing and recycling
Energy conservation is the practice of decreasing the quantity of energy used.
It will not only help to reduce energy costs and the need for new power plants but it will also reduce the need for energy imports. The United States is currently the largest single consumer of energy in the world.
America has become a very wasteful society. We need to make it a habit to be more conscious of our resources and environment. Developing a habit takes time. By spending time considering our actions and doing things to save energy each day, our actions will become a habit.
They are many people that just don’t know or understand how they can help with energy conservation. One way to conserve energy is to reduce, reuse and recycle. Did you know that it can take up to 700 years for plastic to decompose in our landfills? It takes 80 to 100 years for aluminum cans to break down and disappear. With just a few small changes in our routines, we can help change the future of our environment and make a positive move toward energy conservation.
We can reduce the amount of garbage we throw away by making some of the following changes. We can use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones, use reusable plastic containers for food instead of plastic bags, and use washable dishes and utensils instead of paper plates and plastic utensils that you would tend to throw away. If we create less garbage, our communities can save landfill space.
By reusing items, we can save our precious landfill space and, equally important, we can save natural resources and materials it would take to make a new product. Some items we can reuse are boxes, bubble wrap, foil, coffee cans, and glass jars. Also, plastic bottles can be reused by filling them with water or juice and placing them in the freezer. Put one in your lunch box or reusable lunch bag (instead of the paper one) and it will double as an ice pack. At lunchtime, you’ll have an ice-cold beverage. Taking things that would be garbage and reusing them is a great way to help conserve resources. And one day soon, we will likely be making fuel from our garbage.
Recycling is also important. For instance, aluminum cans can be recycled into: pie plates, thumbtacks, foil, and many other items. It takes less than 5 percent of the energy to make an aluminum can from recycled materials than from new material. Recycling allows us to reuse materials instead of having to get more from the Earth all over again.
James L. Cummins is executive director of Wildlife Mississippi, a non-profit, conservation organization founded to conserve, restore, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plant resources throughout Mississippi. Their website is www.wildlifemiss.org.