Tips to celebrate Earth Day every day.
Happy Earth Day. If your community is hosting one of many Earth Day events this weekend, have fun – and we hope the weather is nice. But Earth Day is just one day, and there are many things you can do all year around to live a more conscious, eco-friendly life. Here are some actions you can take anytime.
Changes at Home
- Make sure your home is in good repair. Leaky faucets and loose window seals waste energy. Exchange outdated appliances for energy efficient models. Use fluorescent bulbs in lamps and dimmers to conserve electricity, and turn down the thermostat. Have your furnace checked out before winter to ensure it’s in good working condition.
- Small changes around the house can reduce energy consumption, waste and toxins. Unplug devices when they aren’t in use, even chargers left plugged in and devices on standby use power. Turn down your water heater by a few degrees. Wash only full loads in the washer and dishwasher. Instead of using paper towels, use cloth dish towels instead. Carry your beverages in refillable stainless steel containers. Make sure your home is properly ventilated to discourage mold growth and guard against hazardous conditions when using gas stoves, kerosene or burning wood.
- Cut down on clutter. Unsubscribe from databases to eliminate junk mail. Scan documents and store photos electronically. Pay your bills and file your taxes online. Read news online instead of receiving print magazines.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
- Recycle all materials you can. Call 1-800-RECYCLE or visit Earth911 to find recycling centers near your home.
- Donate electronic devices that are still in working order to schools and charities. Those that no longer work should be recycled correctly.
- Streamline your belongings. Donate everything that you don’t use frequently.
- Buy only when necessary. Check Craigslist and eBay for quality used items. Borrow things that you don’t need to use often instead of buying. When you do buy, purchase a few high quality items made with recycled content.
- Support local businesses and buy local products. It helps the economy and reduces distribution costs. Support green businesses and eco-friendly products. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers’ markets.
- Carry your own reusable bags to stores. Buy in bulk and reduce packaging. Use refillable containers.
- Buy eco-friendly products. Use green cleaning products (here is a good list), and buy personal hygiene and cosmetic products that have environmentally friendly ingredients and no added perfumes. Buy and wear as little as possible.
- Buy quality clothing. Aim for classic styles that can be worn for a long time. Avoid replacing your wardrobe frequently.
- Climate Counts ranks companies on their eco-friendiness. If you need to buy a product, it’s worth checking their score and there is an iPhone app available on iTunes.
- Use public transportation and carpool when possible. Choose the most fuel-efficient car that fits your needs. Here are some ways you can save at the pump.
- When eating out, choose restaurants that use local produce and meat.
- Leave no trace behind when camping or hiking. Report any environmental damage to authorities.
- Join environmental organizations and learn about current environmental issues. Communicate your point of view to local and state government, and encourage action. If you are involved in the education system, find a way to incorporate environmental studies into the curriculum.
- If your company hasn’t already started, suggest they develop a CSR strategy. Share what you’ve learned with friends and family. If more people make even a few small changes, it can all add up to a big difference.
Image: Sarah Ackerman