It’s Easy Being Green
St. Patrick’s Day festivities are happening worldwide, and it seems everyone is thinking green. However, the mindset should be more than just putting on the leafy color to avoid a childish pinch on the arm; it’s about thinking green and being green. Since the recycling boom in the late 1980’s, the 3 R’s, reduce, reuse, recycle, have been on the forefront on consumer minds. As of 2012, 34.5 percent of the U.S. population recycles, up 20 percent from 1980.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2012
North Texas Growth
North Texas has a population of almost 7 million people, the fourth largest in the U.S., and we continue to grow, adding approximately one person to our population every five minutes. Growth estimates from the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University has the North Texas population just shy of 17 million by 2050. With a doubling population in our future, it’s essential to reduce waste and water-use and recycle papers and friendly plastics.
Facts about Being Green
Recycling creates 1.1 million U.S. jobs, $236 billion in gross annual sales and $37 billion in annual payrolls.
If each household reduced water-use by 15 percent, they would save nearly 9,000 gallons per household annually.
Twenty recycled cans can be made with the same amount of energy that is needed to produce one new aluminum can made from raw materials.
The amount of energy saved just from recycling cans in 2010 is equal to the energy equivalent of 17 million barrels of crude oil, or nearly two days of all U.S. oil imports.
Recycled paper accounts for more than 37 percent of the raw materials used to make new paper products in the U.S. Every ton of newsprint or mixed paper recycled is the equivalent of 12 trees. Every ton of office paper recycled is the equivalent of 24 trees.
Every bit of recycling makes a difference. For example, one year of recycling on just one college campus, Stanford University, saved the equivalent of 33,913 trees and the need for 636 tons of iron ore, coal, and limestone.
Being Green in North Texas
North Texas cities and local governments, higher education institutions and companies from big to small have all expressed a desire to building a greener North Texas. The University of North Texas and The University of Texas at Dallas were both recognized by the Princeton Review as Green Schools in 2014. The city of Dallas began enforcing the “Carryout Bag Ordinance” as of January 2015. The DFW International Airport has reduced annual energy cost year-over year since 2006 (see the airport’s 2014 sustainability report HERE.) More than 2,000 buildings in North Texas are registered with the U.S. Green Buildings Council for LEED certification. Fort Worth’s bike sharing program off-set 90,000 lbs of carbon in its first year after logging more than 25,000 trips and 100,000 miles.
Is your organization doing something green? Comment below and let us know how you’re making North Texas more livable and sustainable!