Sustainability Info: 21 Facts About Sustainable Living

hanging planters for sustainability

Our planet is under incredible pressure. We are destroying its natural resources at an alarming rate. The consequences will be devastating if we continue down this path. Climate change is already happening, and the impacts are becoming increasingly severe. To help us understand what is going on, here are some facts about the state of our planet.

Fun Facts About Living Sustainable

  • Sustainability is about living within our means and using resources wisely. We should not abuse nature, and we need to protect her.
  • There is enough water on earth to meet all our needs. But there is not enough fresh water to drink.

Recycling Based facts

  • Approximately 80% of items thrown out by Americans can be recycled. Currently, the U.S. recycling rate is at only 29%, meaning that approximately 1/3rd of what Americans throw out ends up in landfills.
  • Each year, Americans use around 700 billion pieces of paper. If all this paper were recycled, we could save an estimated 100 million tons of lumber per year.
  • Approximately 500,000 trees are felled each week to provide newsprint for the Sunday newspaper. If everyone recycled just one copy of the Sunday edition, we could save 75,000 acres of forest. And if we all did the same, we could save about 25 million acres of forest annually!
seedlings sprouting

Plastic Based Facts

  • Over 8.8 billion metric tons of plastic waste end up in landfills worldwide. That is about five times the weight of all the fish caught by commercial fishing vessels.
  • Each year, Americans throw out enough plastic bottles to circle the Earth 4 times.
  • Americans use over two million plastic bottles every 30 minutes. Most of these are just thrown away when they could be recycled.
  • It takes a 15-year-old tree to produce 700 grocery sacks. Plastic bags and styrofoam take up to thousands of lifetimes to decompose. When left in the environment, they cause thousands of deaths to marine species.
  • Plastic bags and Styrofoam containers take up 1/3 of the total plastic pollution in our oceans. Plastic bags can last up to 500 years before breaking down.
  • Plastic debris is one of the biggest threats to our oceans and marine life. Plastic pollution comes from all sources including packaging, fishing gear, and industrial activities like oil drilling, mining, and manufacturing.
  • Plastic waste is often mistaken for food by marine wildlife, causing them to mistake plastic debris for food. Marine organisms ingest plastic debris, then pass it along through their digestive tract and excrete it back out as feces. As the plastic breaks down, it releases toxic chemicals into the ocean. These toxins harm fish, birds, mammals, and other marine life.
balconies with sustainable greenery

Water-Based Facts

  • A typical American household uses an average of 250 gallons of water every day. That means that a family of four uses around 2,500 gallons of water each week.
  • If you’re brushing your teeth while you watch TV, you’re wasting about 50 gallons of water. And if you’ve got a long shower, you’re wasting another 50 gallons of water.
  • But what if you didn’t need to wash your hair? What if you were able to get clean hair without washing it? Well, then you’d be saving even more water, as it takes about 4.68 liters of water to rinse your hair. 
  • We waste 8 billion gallons of water in our homes each year. That’s enough to fill the Empire State Building 10 times over!
  • Each year, we throw away about 1.5 trillion disposable diapers. If everyone in America replaced just one diaper with an all-in-one reusable cloth diaper, we could reduce landfill space by 40% and eliminate the need for 2.6 billion plastic bags.
  • A single Tampax tampon contains enough material to line a swimming pool.
  • Every time you flush the toilet, you are wasting 7 gallons of water.
  • To keep up with the demand for bottled water, it takes approximately 5,000 barrels of oil to produce a single bottle. If you took all the bottles out of circulation today, it would be like taking 500,000 cars off the road.

Climate Change-Based Facts

Energy is the biggest contributor to climate change. It accounts for 60 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. To combat this, we must reduce our carbon footprint. Cycling 10 kilometers each way to work can help us achieve this goal. By reducing our individual carbon footprints, we can also help save the world 1,400 kg of greenhouse gases per year.

Why Is It Important To Be Sustainable?

Sustainability is an important topic because we need to protect our environment. We also need to preserve the future generations’ ability to enjoy their natural surroundings. Sustainability is about creating a better life for ourselves and others while protecting the resources we depend on.

bamboo toothbrushes for sustainable living

What Does It Mean To Be Sustainable?

Sustainability is a concept that covers all aspects of life. Sustainability is defined as meeting the current demands of the environment while ensuring that there is enough natural capital available to meet future demands. If we don’t act now, our planet will become uninhabitable. We must change the way we think about our relationship with nature.

How Can We Be More Sustainable?

When you’re choosing a product, think about its impact on the environment and the climate. If you need something urgently, consider buying a secondhand or even free-cycle. Avoid plastic packaging whenever possible. Buy local if you can, and buy fair trade when you can’t. Consider buying organic produce instead of conventionally grown. Support companies that care about the planet.

When Shopping – Think Twice

‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’ is a simple mantra that needs to be practiced every time we shop. We should always try our best to reduce the amount of garbage we produce. When we don’t have enough room in our trash cans, we should reuse items instead of throwing them away. And when we can’t recycle something, we should at least put it back into circulation. 

Be Wise About Water

Water conservation is critically important, especially as the population put increasing demands on the nation’s water supplies, and we are facing droughts. You can actually conserve water through simple actions like showering less, using low-flow style toilets and even choosing lower-volume appliances. 

You might think bottled water is just another product you buy at your local convenience store. But did you know that there are hundreds of millions of plastic bottles produced every year? And each bottle takes several hundred years to decompose. That means we’re creating mountains of waste that will take centuries to break down.

Reducing Your Hair Styling With Heat

It is easy to forget to switch off your curling or straightening iron when you leave the room, which wastes energy and causes fires. To avoid this situation, let your hair air dry and use foam rollers overnight instead.

 Although you will have to get used to this new style, the benefits of saving energy and your curls/straighteners from heat damage are well worth it.

Final Thoughts

Sustainable living doesn’t mean giving up modern conveniences. It simply means finding ways to live more sustainably within the limits of what the Earth has to offer us. The good news is that the choices we make today will affect generations to come. 

So let’s start thinking differently about how we use resources, and choose options that protect our health, preserve our environments, and promote our well-being.

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