The importance of recycling and other efforts of environmental conservation can sometimes be difficult to visualize. After all, we live in a world where so much can be accomplished with the push of a button, and many of the processes that provide us with necessary services and dispose of our waste takes place out of sight. For this reason, it can be difficult to recognize the impact our actions have on the environment, for better or worse. However, the statistics can’t lie: there are a number of benefits of going green at home and at work for both you and the world at large.
Pollution is considered one of the world’s biggest killers, affecting over 100 million people. This applies to both water and land pollution: for example, polluted coastal waters cost the global economy an estimated $12.8 billion US due to death and disease each year. This problem is severe even in first-world countries in the United States, where an estimated 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage water, storm water, and untreated waste are dumped into the nation’s waters annually. Moreover, commonly disposed items, such as plastic water bottles, are becoming a serious problem in the Pacific Ocean, as they are hazardous to fish and sea mammals. But the biggest problem by far is our access to clean, safe water: only 2.5% of the world’s entire water supply is fresh water, and the various types of water pollution put this supply at risk.
Each year, the United States creates 11 billion tons of solid waste, an estimated 30% of all waste worldwide. This problem is especially egregious because research shows that over 80% of items thrown in landfills in the U.S. could be recycled. In fact, the average office employee throws over 360 pounds of paper that could be recycled each year. The environmental issues caused by these habits threaten not only the world and our home country, but also our individual access to clean water, air, and more. Make a change: discover the benefits of going green today.