By Cecilia Cervantes
Nowadays, most people know about things they can do to be more environmentally friendly; however, not many people do anything with that information. It is one thing to be informed about the environment and it’s another to apply your knowledge to everyday life, specifically in college. There are many things that the students of the University of Nevada can do to live an environmentally friendly life; the only problem is we’re too lazy to take action.
I know for a fact many of us (guilty) buy coffee at least once a day, but not a lot of us bring our own reusable cups. The impact of this is incredible. According to an article by Capitol Cups, Every year, Americans drink about 100 billion cups of coffee. Of these, 14.4 billion are served in disposable paper cups, enough to wrap the Earth 55 times end-to-end! If you brought your own mug to Starbucks or any other coffee shop, you’d be helping the planet and possibly even helping your wallet (Starbucks gives you 10 cents off any beverage when you bring in a personal cup). ten cents every day adds up, just like every coffee cup you waste contributes to landfills. Yes, it might be a hassle to carry around a coffee cup all day but at what cost? I’d rather carry around a cup knowing I’m helping the environment than not carry a cup and increase waste.
Don’t even get me started on parties. It is college, and students are going to drink. If the waste from alcoholic containers at every party were reused and recycled, we could start a revolution. I’m not promoting drinking by any means—I’m just saying that recycling the containers if you choose to drink would have a tremendous positive impact on our planet.
According to Statistic Brain Research Institute, every year, 67 billion beer cans are consumed. Recycling one of these 67 billion cans saves enough electricity to power a TV for three hours, or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline. Creating a new aluminum can from scratch takes 95 percent more energy than making a can from recycled aluminum. Think about that next time you’re about to throw away a can. Additionally, nearly 4 billion bottles of wine are being tossed each year. There are many ways you can reuse wine bottles such as making them into decorative lamps, but I won’t get all Pinterest on you.
As a final point, there’s something we use every day that’s continuously being thrown away: paper. Time and time again I’ve seen people throw away their papers when there’s a recycling bin literally feet away. Trust me, it doesn’t take much to walk over to a recycling bin, and there’s at least one recycling bin on every building on campus. A Recycling Revolution states, “approximately 1 billion trees’ worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S. Each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 kilowatts of energy, and 7000 gallons of water.”
Doing all of these things combined would save water, help prevent pollution, and make the planet a better place for future generations. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my future children to be walking around a dump.
Let’s stop being lazy and start saving the planet. I challenge you, reader, to bring your own mug to coffee shops. I challenge you to recycle aluminum cans, bottles and paper. I challenge you to minimize your carbon footprint and make a positive impact on our wonderful planet. Remember, it is one thing to know statistics about this and it’s another thing to take action and make a change.
Cecilia Cervantes studies psychology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @cecythepro.