You think you're doing the eco-friendly thing by reusing your plastic water bottle, but you've heard rumors that it can actually be bad for your health. While it's true that bacteria can grow in unwashed bottles, reports of toxic chemicals leaching into the water from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles after multiple refillings have been proved false. This means you don't have to choose between your health, ...
In 1976 Americans drank an average of 1.6 gallons of bottled water every year. Roughly 30 years later consumption increased to 30 gallons per person, according to the Earth Policy Institute --- despite the fact that bottled water can cost anywhere from 240 to 10,000 times more than tap water, which is brought right to your home for pennies a gallon. Bottled water also creates its own share of pollution --- the ...
Many consumers reuse disposable plastic water bottles for convenience' sake and to keep the bottles out of landfills. Based upon recent findings, including a four-year Natural Resources Defense Council study, you should reconsider reusing plastic water bottles (see References 1). Disposable plastic water bottles are made for one-time use -- for the product that came in it -- not continual reuse (see References 3).
The lack of funds for needed supplies often hampers school art programs and children's church activities. When planning for multiple projects, requesting donations of recycled materials can keep expenses to a minimum. Reusing plastic water bottles for kids' crafts will give children a hands-on lesson in recycling. Water bottles provide the shape and material for a variety of crafts.
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Reusing wash water for landscape irrigation can be a simple eco-friendly project. Many municipalities have regulations that govern residents' use of grey water, but if you reside outside city limits you may have the freedom to design your own system. One abundant source of grey water — that is, non-toilet water used for washing — is your washing machine, which processes an average of 41 gallons of water per load (see References 1). Divert that water into the outdoor environment instead of into the septic system for truly green living.
Questions about the safety of reusing plastic water bottles arose after a 2002 "Canadian Journal of Public Health" study found fecal bacterial contamination in almost 9 percent of elementary students' water bottles (see References 1, page 1). On the heels of that study, mass-forwarded emails began claiming that freezing or heating plastic water bottles could cause cancer-causing chemicals to leach out of the plastic and into the water (see References 2). If you are an eco-friendly consumer who reuses rather than disposes of those plastic bottles, you may justifiably wonder if the risks outweigh the benefits.
Plastic bottles are hugely popular these days for their convenience and perceived purity, as portrayed by effective marketing strategies. But according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, consumers should not assume that bottled water is any more pure or safe than tap water (see References 1). Reusing plastic drink bottles is not recommended, as it increases the likelihood of impurities due to the introduction of bacteria and the potential leaching of plastic compounds into the water (see References 4).
Many Americans view bottled water as a necessity -- although the product was virtually nonexistent just a few decades ago. Consumers who reuse plastic water bottles are typically unaware of potential health risks associated with the high bacteria levels found on the bottles and the leaching of plastic compounds into the beverage. While the water and the packaging combine to create a consumer offering without significant benefits over what people can generally get for free, reuse of a plastic water bottle could have costs that go beyond the financial.
Disinfectants made from everyday kitchen ingredients provide nontoxic and inexpensive alternatives to harsh chemical products. Many commercial disinfectants include formaldehyde and other toxic chemical ingredients that release gases called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds can cause short- and long-term health problems. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, VOCs can cause nose, throat, skin and eye irritation, headaches, nausea, loss of coordination, cancer and damage to the kidneys, liver and central nervous system(see References 1). To kill germs without using chemical products, disinfect with vinegar and hot water vapor in a steam cleaner. (See References 2, 3 and 4)
You may be surprised to learn that the first recognition of the need for wastewater treatment occurred in 1854, with the link between improper waste treatment and a cholera epidemic was recognized. The 1972 Clean Water Act was the first official federal regulation that set specific standards for the treatment of water waste in the United States (see References 1, page 2). Wastewater facilities are under scrutiny, as governments seek to use the treated wastewater for irrigation and the treatment process to generate energy and heat.
Graywater is water that is not safe for drinking but is not completely polluted or contaminated with sewage. Generally coming from sinks and showers and only containing soaps or other cleaning products, graywater is essentially harmless depending on the cleaning materials you use, making it suitable for irrigation purposes. First you need to contact a plumber to reroute plumbing pipes to direct graywater outside of the home and not into the sewage system.
Plastic bottles are convenient for grabbing water or soft drinks on the go. Although plastic bottles are among the most accepted recyclables, most enter the municipal solid waste stream instead of being recycled. Recycling plastic bottles helps the planet by reducing the amount of gas and oil used in creating plastic and making it into bottles, and in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, ground and water pollution and the volume of municipal waste. (See References 1 and 2)
The definition of gray water varies from country to country (see Reference 1, page 10). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines it as wastewater from washing machines, bathtubs, showers and bathroom sinks (see Reference 2). Thus, it accounts for roughly half of the average U.S. household's daily wastewater generation (see Reference 1, page 10). Using gray water for applications that don't require high-quality drinking water conserves water and energy and can reduce wastewater flow into sewers and septic tanks (see Reference 3, page 7). Higher levels of organic waste and bacteria make black water from toilets, kitchen sinks and dishwashers unsuitable for reuse (see Reference 1, page 10).
Americans flush more than 4.8 billion gallons of water down the toilet every day, and toilet use accounts for about 40 percent of all indoor household water consumption, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. (See Reference 1) Low-flush, or low-flow, toilets can greatly reduce that usage. Low-flow toilets use many of the same parts found in a traditional toilet, such as fill valves, but require less water to use.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 11.5 million tons of waste were produced by Americans throwing away glass in 2010, and only 27 percent of that amount was recovered and recycled (See Reference 1). Likewise, an additional 31 million tons of waste came from discarded plastics (See Reference 2). You can do your part to reduce solid waste from glass and plastic by repurposing your bottles. If it's not possible to recycle them at a recycling center, there are other creative and practical purposes to give your empty glass bottles new life.
An eco-friendly baby gift shows that you are thinking of the future of the planet along with the future of the new arrival, and that you want the world to be a healthy place as baby grows older. Green gifts are also typically safer for newborns, as they lack the chemicals that can be present in conventional items.
Rainwater that drains under your house can flood your basement or lowest housing level and cause mold to grow. The damp conditions can even bring termites into the house, causing further damage to its structure. Fortunately, stopping rainwater from draining under your house is a fairly simple process. It may even lower your water bill by allowing you to use captured or diverted rainwater to irrigate the lawn, flowers and other ornamental plants in your yard.
Sustainable landscaping requires a focus on wise water use. Rainwater harvesting and irrigation system efficiency are common methods for conserving water in the landscape, but grey water systems are also viable options. Utilizing wastewater from bathroom washbasins, the washing machine or showers can create a lush landscape where water might otherwise be unavailable.
Coral is a miniscule animal called a polyp. It demonstrates the power of one and of many to benefit the environment. Both stony coral -- the kind with a calcium exoskeleton that washes to shore in small, hard bits -- and soft coral form colonies that improve life in the ocean and on land. Stony corals, in particular, create huge reefs that provide habitat for diverse marine life and protect against coastline erosion.
In many parts of the United States, droughts and depleted supplies of groundwater have brought widespread attention to issues of water management. Many municipalities and regions now publish materials encouraging water conservation and the capture and use of rainwater for many purposes. Understanding how tap water and rainwater differ enables you to use them according to their respective strengths and weaknesses.
If you regularly buy bottled water, you are not alone. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that more than 2.6 million tons of plastic bottles with resin code PET were generated in 2010. (See Reference 1, Page 8) Some may view bottled water as a healthier alternative to other beverages, such as carbonated soft drinks, but plastic water bottles present something of a conundrum. On the one hand, you may find them useful, especially for refilling and reusing them again; reuse helps reduce landfill waste. On the other hand, a concern exists that plastic bottles may release harmful ingredients when exposed to the sun.
Uncontaminated wastewater can be recycled to source nonpotable water needs, reducing strain on the drinking water supply. Gray water specifically is defined as the reusable wastewater that comes from bathroom sink, shower and clothes washer drains (See Reference 1). In the United States, the average gray water produced per person is 40 gallons a day (See Reference 3, page 1), with 1.5 to 5 gallons of that produced by each toilet flush (See Reference 2). These figures make a convincing resource conservation argument for flushing with grey water where local regulations permit.
Grey water is simply water that has been used in the home. However, this does not mean that it must all go down the drain into sewage. There are several ways to dispose of grey water that can provide an additional use. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that a family of four uses about 400 gallons of water each day. By repurposing your grey water, you can reduce the amount of water your household uses and save money on utility bills (References 1).
When it's time to select a water heater, high-efficiency tankless systems offer some obvious advantages: an endless stream of hot water, energy efficient operation and equipment that outlasts conventional units by many years. Before you can decide which make or model fits your budget, it's important to first assess how your household uses hot water, and then determine how the different types of tankless systems might best meet your family's needs.
The United States generates over seven million tons of beer and soft drink glass bottles in 2007 compared to the nearly two million tons of plastic bottles. Plastic water bottles offer many advantages to both the manufacturer and the consumer. It is lightweight, which lowers transportation costs. It does not shatter, making it a safer option. However, in some cases, glass bottles offer the better choice, especially for certain types of beverages and storage circumstances. The difference lies with the permeability of each material (See References 1, page 43 and 51, References 2).
Florida's Blackwater River State Park is one of the most beautiful destinations for backpackers in the U.S. The 600-acre park offers two nature trails that are ideal for backpackers seeking exposure to Florida's unique flora and fauna. Its location adjacent to the Blackwater River State Forest helps to further isolate the park from civilization, yet it offers a wide array of visitor services to help even novice backpackers enjoy their visit.
The idea behind solar showers is rather simple. You can use the sun to raise the temperature of water enough to make showering outdoors -- at a campsite or next to your backyard swimming pool -- comfortable and convenient. While that's a relatively easy task during summer months, winter weather can put a chill on the notion of getting wet outdoors.
If you operate a concession trailer, your grey water holding tank contains sudsy water that was used for cooking and cleaning. In many communities, there are laws that regulate disposing of grey water in an environmentally conscious way, and violating those rules can lead to some significant penalties. Modern trailers are designed to make grey water disposal an easy process, but you'll want to pay close attention to the recommended steps the first few times for safety's sake.
You may do a double take the first time you see a hallway bench that has been repurposed from its previous life as an ordinary chair. Architects and furniture designers of the Bauhaus School would recognize the bench as a "Constructivist" design because it makes the viewer more conscious of its structure -- serving much the same purpose as allowing heating ducts and electrical conduits to remain exposed in a building's ceilings. The bench would still show signs of its original life as a chair, yet the mere act of elongating its seating area will make every element of its structure less ordinary and more visually apparent.