Though only one day in April, that won’t stop us from celebrating Earth Day all year long. In order to properly celebrate our favorite planet - sorry, Pluto, we have curated a list of 10 simple ways to be Earth-friendly this year.
1. Stop Single Use Plastic
Single-use plastic is the most wasteful and destructive use of resources. Taking anywhere from hundreds to thousands of years to decompose, every single piece of plastic that has ever been used still exists. That’s terrifying to think about. Switch to bamboo toothbrushes, invest in reusable containers, bring your water bottle everywhere, and simply say NO to single-use plastic. For more tips to go plastic-free, click here: https://www.treehugger.com/green-home/beginners-guide-plastic-free-living.html
2. Stop Buying Fast Fashion
Fast fashion is the secret evil that most middle-class Americans indulge in unconsciously. Americans actually dispose of 12.8 million tons of clothing annually. Try to invest in sustainable pieces, buy second hand, and for specific items you can usually find them unworn or gently used on apps like Poshmark and Threadup.
3. Ride Your Bike
Not only is it a great workout and a way to spend time outdoors, but biking is also a great way to cut down on your carbon emissions (and put less mileage on your car!)
4. Go Meatless
Pick at least one day a week to make an entirely meatless meal with your family. For an extra health kick, pick one day a week where you’re meatless the whole day - or even Vegan! For recipe ideas, minimalistbaker.com is a great place to start, with easy recipes with foods you’ll most likely already have on hand.
5. Don’t Package Your Produce
Did you know you don’t actually need all the plastic we use for produce at the grocery store? Buy reusable bags, shop at the farmers market, and when you’re grabbing 3 apples at the grocery store, just put them in your cart. No plastic required.
For an extra fun step, check your area for local U-Pick farms to show your kids where their food actually comes from.
6. Use Less Electricity
Using less is the easiest way to help the environment in every facet of consumption. With electricity, use less by only turning on the A/C or Heat when you actually need it. Invest in energy-friendly appliances (that will save you money in the long run.) Teach your children to unplug from their electronics and get outside, turn off the lights and fans when they leave a room, and don’t let the water run while they brush their teeth!
7. Try Composting
Food waste is a huge issue in contemporary culture. Creating a compost bin can help your garden, and give you a real idea of how much you throw into landfills.
8. Insulate Your Home
Save money on utilities by properly insulating your home, sealing cracks around the windows and doors, and keeping your roof maintained. Better insulation = lower energy consumption. Win-win!
9. Fix It
Have you ever heard of a tailor? Or god forbid, a sewing machine? Instead of throwing away your clothes when you have a small hole or missing button, take the time to repair it! Clothing takes up so much space in landfills, buying sustainable timeless pieces and taking care of them well is an easy and fun way to be green.
Taking the time to cook, (no take out containers), grow your own herbs (no shipping/packaging waste), and make your own home decor are some fun ways to help the Earth, your wallet, and grow as a human.
Hopefully, these challenges inspire you to practice sustainability, and not just for one month. There is no Planet B! If everyone takes one small step, the Earth would be a much cleaner, healthier, happier place.