Much of the toxic waste
that is injected into the ground is the result of processing fossil
fuels and manufacturing plastics, cosmetics and other products made
When we conserve and decrease
the use of these products, the demand for making them goes down. The
choices you make in the energy you use and what you purchase and throw
away can make a big difference starting today:
1) Sign up for cleaner
Producing electricity is the leading cause of industrial air pollution
in the United States. Purchasing 100 percent wind power for a year
will offset over 17,000 lbs of CO2, as much as taking a single car
off the road for one year.
2) Make smart transportation
decisions. Plan your travel each day to minimize the number
of trips you make and miles you drive. Take public transportation when
possible. Consider a hybrid gas/electric car when you are ready to
buy a new one. The most energy-efficient models get 57-60 miles per
gallon in the city. Better fuel economy means lower Co2 production – a
five miles per gallon difference is equal to about 2,800 pounds of
CO2 a year (www.epa.gov/greenvehicles).
3) Find ways to use
less plastic. Take your own reusable cloth or paper bag to the store to
carry out your purchases. Use glass instead of plastic for storing
water and foods. Carry a small bag with a reusable dish, cup and flatware
to potlucks to reduce use of Styrofoam and plastic. Keep a reusable
take out container in your care to bring home leftovers when you eat
4) Reduce, Reuse,
Recycle, and Rebuy. According to Keep Texas Beautiful, Texans throw away enough
trash to fill the Astrodome in less than 10 days. Each ton of recycled
paper saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space; 7,000 gallons of water;
17 trees and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity (www.texasrecyclesday.org)
5) Contact your elected
officials. Call or write a letter to your elected officials and let them know
you are concerned about underground toxic waste. To find out how to
get in touch with your representatives go to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml.
Food and drink containers are forever
By Vicki Wolf
Food and drink containers
may be out of site when you throw them in the trash, but they don’t
go away. The chemical by-products from making plastic and other disposable
containers adds to the billions of gallons of hazardous waste that
gets injected into the ground each year.
made from plastic, glass, Styrofoam, aluminum and tin used every day to contain
food, water and other drinks stay in the landfill or somewhere for a long time. Styrofoam
used in cups, plates and to-go containers never decomposes. Plastic soda bottles
take 450 years to decompose.
materials to contain food and water is more a matter of convenience than necessity.
To limit use of plastics, glass, Styrofoam and metals, begin to be more aware
of what you buy and how it is packaged.
- Get a good water filter for your home rather than using bottled
water. Have one bottle that you carry with you, and refill it as
- Take reusable bags to the store when you buy groceries, and by
fresh foods and foods in bulk rather than packaged foods
- Use cloth rather than paper napkin and towels
- Take your own plate or bowl, flatware and cup to potlucks instead
of using paper or Styrofoam
- When you can’t
use a container that can be re-used, use containers that can be
recycled, and be sure to recycle them Just remember, when you throw
something away, it has to go somewhere.
For more information, check out www.cleanhouston.org,
the website for CLEAN, Citizens League for Environmental Action Now.
Adapted from EarthCare Radio, courtesy of CLEAN (Citizens League
for Environmental Action Now