2017-04-19 / Editorial

Reduce, reuse and recycle to make a difference

Earth Day is Saturday (April 22). It marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement that began in 1970. It’s an annual event created to celebrate the planet’s environment and raise public awareness about pollution.

Locally, Earth Day will be commemorated by outdoors activities by area students and service projects.

Started as a grassroots movement, Earth Day created public support for the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and contributed to the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Act, the Endangered Species Act and several other environmental laws. The idea for Earth Day was proposed by then-Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, who died in 2005.

Although Earth Day has become mainstream, surveys show that environmentalism may be stumbling. According to recent Gallup polls, many Americans believe that the dangers of climate change are exaggerated, and less than half say that protection of the environment should be given priority over energy production.

Be that as it may, we believe the message of Earth Day is important and this Sunday in our Insight section The County Press will spotlight ongoing programs in our community that enhance and protect the environment.

Many area residents actively recycle paper and other household consumer products, making a difference to reduce the solid waste stream bound for landfills. Lapeer County Drop-off Recycling, spearheaded by Jim Davis, takes place the first and third Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, located at 1633 N. Lapeer Rd. in Mayfield Township.

The recycling program has been a huge success, and demonstrates the interest by area residents to make life choices to help the environment. For many residents, being environmentally friendly starts at the grocery store where consumers may elect to purchase paper products made with recycled paper or else to purchase household cleaning products that won’t harm the groundwater.

Many individuals and households live by the three Rs — reduce, reuse and recycle, yet despite progress in recycling Americans are still generating too much waste. Every day on average, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, each person throws away more than four pounds of material.

The best approach to our solid waste challenge is to cut the creation of waste in the first place. For consumers, buy only what you need, buy reusable or refillable products, buy in bulk and economy sizes and avoid single serving sizes. We can reduce the solid waste stream by purchasing products with less packaging.

Lapeer County residents have other opportunities to make a difference with each shopping trip. Take a reusable cloth bag to the grocery store. Take your own mug to the coffee shop instead of getting a disposable cup there, and at work use a mug rather than Styrofoam cups.

Donate old clothes and miscellaneous items to a shelter or charity instead of throwing them away. Have a garage sale. At the same time repair, refurnish and sell or donate used furniture.

We’re also pleased to report in this newspaper that the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is doing its part to find a way to get rid of mountains of discarded car and truck tires. The DEQ has awarded several grants to Lapeer County municipalities including the Lapeer County Road Commission as well as the cities of Imlay City and Lapeer to incorporate discarded scrap tires into new asphalt to repave local roads.

In the next several weeks, for instance, a project to rebuild a section of DeMille Road in Lapeer will get underway. When complete the new roadway will include the asphalt-scrap tire mix.

Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22, but together there’s so much we can do every day to make a difference to enhance our local environment in Lapeer County.

Reduce, reuse and recycle.

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