What You Can Do to Help the Environment Right Now

What You Can Do to Help the Environment Right Now

Each person plays an essential role in protecting and preserving the environment around them. By implementing just a few changes to your daily life, you can help conserve the planet from harmful e-waste, depleted resources and pollution. Learn more about how to save the planet and the ways ecoATM is making a difference.

Think about the number of items you consume each week, such as takeout containers, grocery bags, new gadgets, product packaging and plastic bottles.

1. Consume Less

In 2018, people in the United States generated 292.4 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) — including trash, furniture, boxes and other items typically associated with garbage. That's equivalent to nearly 5 pounds per person per day. Of that amount, only 69 million tons were recycled throughout the year.

Think about the number of items you consume each week, such as takeout containers, grocery bags, new gadgets, product packaging and plastic bottles. The more things we consume, the more energy companies use to produce and transport more of those items. Reducing consumption can minimize the impact of manufacturing and processing and help you cut costs to manage your budget, all while keeping waste out of landfills and processing centers.

These are some ways to save the earth and minimize your daily consumption:

2. Choose Reusable Solutions

Plastic is one of the largest forms of waste, and much of it ends up breaking down into microplastics, which expose people to toxic chemicals and enter rivers and oceans. Ten rivers carry 93% of the world's total discarded plastic, harming wildlife, ruining ecosystems and even contaminating seafood and drinking water. Experts anticipate the volume of plastic waste reaching 12 billion metric tons over the next 30 years.

Reusing items instead of throwing them away is one of the easiest ways to protect the environment. Examples include:

  • Take reusable tote and produce bags to the grocery store or reuse plastic grocery bags at home.
  • Buy an insulated reusable water bottle instead of disposable bottled water.
  • Invest in reusable, washable cutlery and dishes for you or your family's lunch boxes instead of disposable ones.
  • Bring your own mug or thermos to the coffee shop and ask about a BYOM discount.
  • Use reusable food storage containers instead of individual bags.
  • Use paper, silicone or metal straws instead of disposable ones.
  • Repurpose items whenever possible, like turning jars into vases or plastic containers into storage boxes.





Recycle Properly

Specific instructions vary, depending on the material you're recycling.

3. Recycle Properly

We know why it is important to recycle, and any attempt at reducing waste in landfills helps — but recycling materials the right way is crucial. In some cases, neglecting to follow your community's standards for recycling could result in unusable products that end up incinerated or later sent to a landfill.

Following these tips while recycling is important:

  • Never recycle hazardous or toxic items, like batteries, oil, cleaning agents or paint, unless you're taking it to an approved facility permitted to handle those things.
  • Contact your local recycling center before setting recycling on the curb to ensure you haven't included any prohibited items, like mirror glass, scrap wood or bubble wrap.
  • Keep recyclables clean and free of food and other debris.
  • Don't place items inside of a plastic bag — instead, leave them loose in the bin or package them in a recyclable container made from the same material.

Specific instructions vary, depending on the material you're recycling.


Paper accounts for 23% of MSW, which facilities break into five separate categories — old corrugated containers (OCC), old newspapers (ONP), high-graded inked paper, mixed paper and pulp substitutes. Once you recycle a paper product, it's taken to a mill where it's cleaned, stripped of any ink or additives, then turned into a pulp that gets dried and rolled before being made into something new.

When recycling paper, be careful not to include anything with plastic unless permitted by your recycling center. You should also practice caution with glossy wrapping paper and gift bags. Always remove any identifiable or sensitive information from the paper with a marker and never try to recycle wet paper of any kind.

The Casio G'zOne in 2005 paved the way for water-safe phones, passing submersion tests up to 1 meter deep. The Nokia 6680, the first official device to house 3G connectivity, was considered a premium phone in its time.


Less than 9% of plastics were recycled in 2018. At recycling centers, plastics are often shredded, washed and melted, then shipped elsewhere to be formed into new items like furniture, rope, insulation, containers, bottles and even modern lumber. Check your plastic bottles, jugs and packaging for a listed symbol or code to see if your local facility accepts it and what steps you must follow before processing, like rinsing it or removing adhesives.


Glass is highly reusable, which is why we should recycle it as often as we can. Processing centers clean, sort and crush discarded containers, bottles, and jars before sending them to the furnace, where they are turned into new glass to be used for new products. Never recycle ceramic, which resembles glass but isn't the same material, and avoid tossing any item with paint or filling. Some glass types, like window panes, can't be recycled at traditional processing centers — contact your recycling center to learn more.


Scrap metal is a highly valuable resource, making it perfect for selling and recycling. If an item is mostly made of metal, it should be recyclable as long as you separate it from other non-metal components as much as possible. Ask your recycling center about specific policies regarding ferrous and nonferrous metals.

Recycled metal gets transformed into metal sheets, where it's reused in everything from automotive parts and appliances to building materials and musical instruments.

4. Reuse and Recycle Electronics

The average household owns 24 electronics, and that number is likely to increase as technology continues to evolve and new products hit the shelves. E-waste, or electronic waste, is the fastest-growing MWS in the U.S. and generates about $55 billion in wasted materials each year. In 2019, Americans generated nearly 54 million metric tons of e-waste from sources like laptop computers, office equipment, heat styling tools, batteries, lighting, appliances, and other electronic equipment.

If you're looking for more ways to protect the environment and help the earth, the answer might even be in your pocket. Cell phones account for a large portion of e-waste and contain harmful toxins like mercury, chromium and lead, contaminating soil and water and putting human lives at risk in landfill processing centers. They also house tiny metal and glass components, which can be recycled and repurposed into new devices or components.

You cannot recycle electronics the same way you would paper or glass. They have to be taken to special e-waste processing centers, and each center has its own set of guidelines for items it will accept and steps you must take before it can safely process those items. If your electronic device still works, consider repairing it, donating it, or selling it at an ecoATM kiosk to give it a chance at a second life. Many places, like children's hospitals, senior centers and military charities, host ongoing used electronics drives to bring devices to underprivileged populations. Some vendors, like specific computer manufacturers, may have a buy-back program available for your unwanted product or guidance for safely disposing of it.

Travel Responsibly

Emitted gases get trapped in the atmosphere and raise the planet's temperature, while harmful exhaust threatens human and animal life in communities globally.

5. Travel Responsibly

Carpool, bike, walk or use public transportation whenever possible. These options are better for your health, reduce traffic congestion on the road and contribute to a safer travel environment for all. It also reduces how many pollutants we're putting into the air each year.

If you live in an area where giving up your commute isn't an option, take steps to make your drive more eco-conscious:

  • Choose a car with a good fuel economy and low emissions or invest in a hybrid or electric option.
  • Try renewable fuels, like corn or biodiesel.
  • Optimize all routes to be as short and gas-saving as possible.
  • Avoid traveling in high-traffic areas or during congested times of day to minimize idling.
  • Travel light and only load your car with additional weight when necessary.
  • Keep your vehicle, including the engine and tires, maintained and serviced regularly.
  • Don't skip the manufacturer-recommended oil and parts.
  • Drive more slowly and be mindful of your route and surroundings while you travel.
  • Avoid excessively using your brakes or gas pedal.

6. Conserve Water

Saving water is critical for our planet's wellbeing. The more water we preserve now, the better prepared our communities are for future droughts, and the more control we have over water quality and community needs for drinking water.

Take a look at how normal activities consume water:

  • Taking a shower: 8.8 gallons per capita
  • Taking a bath: 1.2 gallons per capita
  • Washing a load of clothes in a machine: 10 gallons per capita
  • Using and flushing a toilet: 8.2 gallons per capita
  • Running a load in the dishwasher: 0.7 gallons per capita
  • Using the faucet: 10.8 gallons per capita
  • Having a leaking faucet: 4 gallons per capita

Cut down on your water usage by installing water-efficient fixtures, like an aerator, flow reducer or low-flow attachment. Avoid running half-full loads in the dishwasher or washing machine, and only water your yard if necessary for preserving vegetation. Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, shaving and washing dishes to minimize water waste.

There are also some proactive steps you can take. For example, leaking faucets and toilets cause 900 billion gallons of water waste annually — repair leaks or contact a professional promptly to minimize usage and keep your home safe from moisture damage. You can also use a screen-covered barrel or bucket to collect rainwater outside and use it to water plants or clean around the house.

Part of proper water conservation is also being mindful of what you put into your local water supply and pour down your plumbing system. Avoid possible contamination with abrasive cleaning solutions, chemicals, paint or other toxic materials that could harm the environment.

7. Save Electricity

In 2020, the U.S. consumed 13 times more electricity than it did in 1950, and that figure is likely to continue growing. We rely on electricity for everything from household lighting, heating and cooling to heavy equipment operation and public transportation. Electricity generation often burns fuel, emitting greenhouse gases in the process. It also consumes various natural resources, like water for steam and trees when land is cleared and may impact human or wildlife health in the process.

Some ways to protect the environment and limit your electricity consumption are:

  • Only use appliances and electronics when you need them.
  • Use natural light and airflow instead of overhead lighting and air conditioning whenever possible.
  • Turn off lights when not using them.
  • Cover windows to block out the sun and heat and limit how often your air conditioner turns on.
  • Use a programmable or smart thermostat that automatically adjusts based on the temperature and your preset preferences and usage habits.
  • Opt for energy-efficient appliances.
  • Keep your HVAC system maintained and up-to-date with filters and parts.
  • Replace lightbulbs with LED bulbs as needed.
  • Insulate your home with the help of a professional.
  • Invest in renewable energy, like solar panels.

Let ecoATM Help You Protect the Environment

Smartphones have more than 40 toxic elements and pollutants inside, posing a significant and rising threat to the world around us.

Let ecoATM Help You Do Your Part

Smartphones have more than 40 toxic elements and pollutants inside, posing a significant and rising threat to the world around us. Thanks to eco-conscious people like you, ecoATM kiosks have collected more than 37 million used, broken, damaged and unwanted devices that we've given the opportunity for a second life to— that's almost the equivalent of 7 million pounds of e-waste!

Visit an ecoATM kiosk near you to sell or recycle your unwanted cell phone today! The process is safe, fast and could leave you with instant cash — all while decluttering your home and helping the earth. Learn more about the dangers of e-waste and get more tips for e-cycling. You can also tune in to our blog to stay up-to-date on ways to help the environment and the latest trends in smartphone tech.