Your overall well-being is closely tied to the health of the environment. Below are some easy ways to help the environment (and yourself!).
Change a light bulb
Installing a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) is the quickest, easiest way to save energy—and money. Unlike incandescents, CFLs convert most of the energy they use into light rather than heat. They consume about 75 percent less electricity and last up to 10 times longer (10,000 hours as opposed to 1,500). Replace one 75-watt incandescent bulb with a 25-watt CFL and save up to $83 over the life of the bulb.
Each year, 19 billion catalogs are mailed to Americans, using 53 million trees and 56 billion gallons of wastewater to produce. Visit CatalogChoice.org to put a stop to any unwanted catalogs. Also, use the paperless option from any bills you pay. Statements are available online and won’t clog up your mailbox or trash can.
The importance of recycling cannot be stressed enough. The more plastic, glass, and paper that you recycle, the less that goes into landfills. Recycled glass can reduce related air pollution by 20 percent and water pollution by 50 percent. Also, if glass isn’t recycled it can take a million years to decompose. Take advantage of the single stream recycling available on campus.
Americans tossed out a whopping 5.5 billion pounds of electronics (TVs, stereos, cell phones, and computers) in 2005, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. This results in millions of pounds of chemicals and heavy metals in the ground. Recycle electronics at Healthy You Healthy Earth on Wednesday, November 13!
Support local farmers
Typical grocery store produce travels 1,500 miles—losing precious nutrients along the way. All of those miles burn fossil fuels and creates pollution. Buying local food means you get the freshest food possible while saving energy. Hit up the local farmer’s market or find a farmer using localharvest.org or sustainabletable.org.
Unplug things that glow
Anything that has an LED (light emitting diode) that glows even after you turn it off continues to draw power (that you pay for). Your TV, cell phone charger, and printer are likely culprits. Unplug the offenders from wall sockets and plug them into power strips instead. When you leave a room, flip the strip switch to cut the flow of electricity. Unplugging appliances and electronics that glow could save you $200 a year.
Use re-usable containers
Whenever possible, use a re-usable container. Get into the habit of taking your own re-usable mug to your favorite coffee shop and carry a re-usable water bottle with you at all times. Re-usable grocery bags not only help you carry more items at once, you’ll not have a cupboard overflowing with plastic sacks. These simple tweaks will keep a lot of plastic and paper out of landfills.
Challenge yourself to make YOU a priority! SEVEN is a free program from Health Promotion and Wellness for students, faculty, and staff that focuses on the importance of the seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environment, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, and vocational. SEVEN runs from September to the end of April, and you can join at any time. Log wellness activities to earn points toward monthly prize drawings. Participants also receive the SEVEN newsletter and information on campus wellness events. For more information, visit Seven.IllinoisState.edu.