Incorporating sustainability into your lifestyle means becoming aware of the environmental impact of your choices in food, products, and energy use. Focus on the small steps you can take at home, at work, and in your community.
Sustainable homes are not only better for the planet, but offer opportunities for great cost savings.
Pollutants released by vehicles greatly increase air pollution levels and have been linked to adverse health effects, including premature mortality, cardiac symptoms, exacerbation of asthma symptoms, and diminished lung function. To minimize the damaging impact of our current transportation choices, try adopting more sustainable methods of travel.
Production, processing, packaging, and transportation of food are highly dependent on the use of fossil fuels and chemical fertilizers. These can greatly harm our health and the health of the environment. As a consumer, you have the power to make a difference by considering the impact of your choices. Opting for local, healthy, environmentally responsible food helps promote both personal health and the overall health of the community.
There are many stages in a product’s life cycle, and each one can negatively affect the environment. Before making a purchase, consider the full impact of the product’s material, manufacturing method, and usage. To convert raw (or recycled) materials into a product, elements are processed, shaped, and manipulated. These steps consume energy and deplete nonrenewable natural resources. For example, plastic products are made from petroleum, a finite resource.
Transportation of products (including food) using fuel-burning vehicles releases carbon emissions and contributes to particle pollution. This lessens air quality and can impact personal health.
Additionally, many products affect the environment throughout their useful life. Using these items responsibly can reduce their environmental impact. Any equipment with a plug requires electricity to operate. To prevent wasting energy, turn equipment off when not in use.
At the end of a product’s useful life, consider what parts may be reused and how to dispose of the product or its components responsibly. Plastics, glass, paper, and other materials may be recycled. Many manufacturers will take products at the end of their lifecycle. Check with vendors in your area for specifics on disposal practices.
Electronics impact the environment and human health. Fabricating and shipping electronics use water and energy and often create industrial waste.
The disposal of electronics results in a massive amount of waste going into landfills. Toxins, commonly found in electronics, can leak into the soil or release into the air through burning.
To prevent toxic leakage from electronics, look for e-waste recycling programs in your community. Specialized centers can safely dispose of these products and may be able to recycle some of the material. Many manufacturers will also take old products to recycle their parts.
Only through management over the entire life cycle of electronics can we mitigate the negative effects on our soil, water, air, and health.
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