How did you spend Earth Day? Perhaps you planted a tree, volunteered, reduced your energy use for the day, or all of the above and more. Mother Nature thanks you! But why stop saving the planet on April 23rd? In our eyes, every day should be Earth Day. Don’t let all that good energy from this past weekend fizzle out. Keep your green actions coming — make these simple, eco-friendly tweaks to your daily routine today!
It may seem inconvenient, but unplugging electronics when possible makes a huge difference in energy usage. Appliances plugged in are always using a little bit of power, even when you aren’t using them. It’s time to cut those electricity vampires off for good!
Paying bills has become quick and easy with the aid of computers, so why do we still have paper bills cluttering up our space? Thankfully, many companies use paperless billing. Instead of receiving useless paper in the mail, you can opt to receive email reminders to pay bills electronically.
Did you know that composting effectively reduces greenhouse gas emissions? When organic material — think banana peels, yard trimmings and coffee grounds — is thrown in the trash, it heads to a landfill where it is broken down by bacteria to make methane. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that absorbs 100 times more heat than carbon dioxide. By composting your food waste rather than throwing it away, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If you don’t have room for your own compost pile, look into your city’s municipal garbage programs for organic waste pickup.
At the Store
Those flimsy plastic bags that hold your groceries are not only impractical — they’re probably not the best option for the planet. Plastic bags are not biodegradable. They can take up to 1,000 years to break down and often spend that time sitting in landfills or polluting the ocean. The image of millions of plastic grocery bags dirtying up the environment is enough to make you veer away from the stuff. Start bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery store, or simply go without a bag if you have a light enough load.
When we head to buy produce in January, it doesn’t faze us when we see aisles bursting with tropical fruits and summer vegetables. Have you stopped to think about where this produce came from? If you live in an area with a fluctuating climate, you likely don’t have perfectly ripe local fruits and veggies year-round. The produce you see in the grocery store is often from all around the world, having traveled thousands of miles before reaching your plate. This idea is referred to as “food miles,” and fewer is better when it comes to the health of the environment and the enjoyment of your taste buds. Plan to eat with the seasons and fill your plate with more local food this year.
In the Bathroom
Shorten Your Shower
It’s easy to spend way too much time in the shower, especially first thing in the morning. But hot, leisurely showers are enlarging your carbon footprint — you’re wasting water and using energy to maintain the perfect temp. Consider reducing the amount of time you spend rinsing off to save water and energy. On average, Americans take eight-minute showers. We challenge you to shorten yours to five or less. Set a timer to see how you match up!
Turn Off the Tap
The next time you switch on the faucet to brush your pearly whites, think about the planet. Earth is 72 percent water, of which 3 percent is freshwater, of which 1 percent is available to humans. That’s not a lot. With a growing population in need of precious resources like water, conservation is essential. And it’s easy for you to help! Simply turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or cleansing your face.
There’s a wide variety of hygiene products out there — special shampoos, fragrant soaps, powerful toothpastes and more. Sadly, these products are often filled with harmful chemicals that can contaminate our bodies, drinking water and aquatic ecosystems when rinsed down the drain. To avoid this, stick to personal care products that are truly natural and organic. Use this guide on natural skincare products to go even greener.
On the Go
Switch to Reusable
Grabbing a coffee before work? Bring your own travel mug to fill up instead of using a paper cup that you’ll later toss in the trash. Many businesses even offer a discount if you use your own!
Driving gas-fueled, CO2-emitting vehicles dirties our air and is a major cause of poor human and environmental health across the globe. To better the environment, find alternative ways to get from point A to point B. Walk, bike or even roller-skate when you run errands or head to work. If driving is a must, take public transportation or carpool to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
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