Reduce, recycle and reuse to decrease climate change

More energy conservation could affect the occurence of major storms like Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy caused major damage and affected millions, including Michigan residents. As storms of this intensity become more and more frequent, climate change and variability simply cannot be ignored.

Climate change is any major change in measures of climate, which include temperature, precipitation, rainfall, snow and wind. These changes last for decades or longer. Many factors are causing climate change, including human activities through burning fossil fuels, cutting down trees, planting trees and building developments. Most scientists now agree that climate change is happening. Read more in a publication from the Michigan Department of Public Health.  

What can you do to help? Adopt more green practices like recycling in your home and workplace is one recommendation by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH). Each of us makes many decisions in our homes and communities about the products we buy and personal habits. Some decisions result in more air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. When added together, we all contribute to climate change. We all can make a difference by reducing consumption.

We can help protect our natural resources and reduce the amount of waste produced by following the three R’s: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” according to a MDCH factsheet.  

  • Reduce the amount of products you use
  • Reuse products instead of throwing them away
  • Recycle waste products

Thinking about your current habits and making a few minor changes can make a big difference! Consider some of these changes:

  • Buy the amount of a product needed rather than the “economy” size.
  • Save energy by using compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of standard light bulbs.
  • Look for good, used items online, at garage sales and other local sources.
  • Reuse and recycling products like plastic grocery bags.
  • Recycle items like batteries, electronics, plastic and paper.

You can find the amount of energy that you’ll save using a tool from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Recycling is easy and takes a small amount of time. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has a lot of information for you about recycling and its benefits. Learn what all of those recycling symbols mean too. Find the list of hazardous household waste and recycling centers in Michigan or visit the Earth 911 website.

Consider your existing household activities and decide how a few personal efforts to reduce, recycle and reuse could respond to specific challenges of climate change.

In the article “Save money and reduce climate change,” learn how to save money as you make changes to conserve energy.

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