Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! All month long, from April 1 through today, Earth Day, we have been sharing a variety of ideas, swaps, and tips to help us all celebrate #EarthDayEveryDay over on Instagram. We have rounded them all up below.
Celebrating Earth Month has been a lot different this year since we are all staying at home as much as we can. However, there are still plenty of ways each one of us can contribute to a better, healthier planet. We hope that by sharing these many individual acts that lead to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle we can all make a difference. Use your new-found time at home to live more sustainably. Join us in protecting our environment today, and every day, with these upcoming earth-friendly acts and sustainable choices.
(but still wash your hands for 20 seconds!)
From taking shorter showers to fixing leaky faucets, there are many ways to cut back on our water usage.
Don’t let your faucet water run unnecessarily when you wash or rinse dishes, wash your hands or face, brush your teeth or shave.
Only run full loads of your dishwasher and washing machine.
Install a water-saving, low flow showerhead. Add an aerator to your faucets.
Reduce the grass in your yard and plant drought-resistant plants instead.
What are your suggestions for conserving water?
Adust the thermostat.
Did you know that moving your heater thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in the summer can reduce your carbon footprint by 2,000 pounds? A simple adjustment to make for a big impact. We can always throw on an extra layer or wear take one off to adjust to the temperature, right?
Also, consider turning your thermostat down at night, or when you are away from home – when we get that chance again!
Switch to LED lightbulbs.
By replacing inefficient incandescent light bulbs with efficient LEDs you can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 450 pounds a year. And save money on your energy bill because LEDs require less energy (they use at least 80% less energy than incandescent lighting) and last a lot longer!
And don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave a space. With all this extra time at home, it’s likely we all have more lights on all day.
You’re already doing it! With so many stay at home orders in place, all of us are driving less and emitting less pollutants in the air. Take this time to understand the impact of your driving habits and what you can save by using your bike or walking by visiting Mapmyemmissions.com. You can check your emissions based on your mode of transport.
We are quickly learning that there are many avoidable and unnecessary trips by car that we normally take in our daily lives that we could go without. Let’s keep it up! Commit to cutting back on non-essential car travel even when we can move about more freely.
Learn something new.
With all this extra time indoors, make the most of it and learn something new. Read books about nature, the environment or zero waste living. Watch an environmental documentary. Browse the web for environmental topics you’re interested in learning more about. And be sure to share what you’ve learned with others, including us. Tell us in the comments what you’re hoping to learn more about!
Eat more plant-based.
Eating a more plant-based diet is good for you and the environment. Plant-based includes fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans.
Reducing your meat consumption can cut carbon emissions from the livestock industry, reduces water and land use, lowers pollution, and slows deforestation and desertification. Did you know that more than half of the water used in the United States is for animal agriculture? Adopting more plant-based diets could reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the food system by more than half, according to a Nature study.
Commit to eating at least one vegetarian meal a week, aka #MeatlessMonday. By choosing to eat more plant-based foods you can drastically cut your environmental footprint.
Reduce food waste
Did you know that 30-40% of food is wasted in the United States? And much of this happens within our homes. Approximately 94% of the food we throw away ends up in landfills. According to the UN Environment Programme, “The resources needed to produce the food that becomes lost or wasted has a carbon footprint of about 3.3 billion tons of CO2.”
Commit to reducing your food waste. Cooking more at home can help! Plan your meals and be sure to incorporate what is already in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. Buy only what you need. And eat your leftovers! Learn how to store your food properly so it doesn’t go bad too quickly. Learn the difference between “sell-by,” “use-by,” “best-by,” and expiration dates.
The global pandemic will only make matters worse as farmers are dealing with piles of potential food waste and the food supply chains have been drastically impacted. Whatever we can do at home to reduce our own food waste can only help.
Composting can drastically reduce the amount of trash you throw away each week!
It is estimated that more food reaches landfills than any other single material in our every day trash. 60% of our landfills are full of food and other organic matter and it does not break down because landfills aren’t aerated. Without the needed oxygen to aid in decay, landfills release greenhouse gases like methane that contribute to climate change.
By composting, we are also turning our waste into a useful product that can be used for gardening, landscaping, or house plants. So not only is composting great for reducing waste and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions it also improves the soil and promotes healthy plant growth.
For more about composting, check out this blog post: https://www.plaineproducts.com/5-reasons-try-composting/
Make Beeswax Food Wraps
Beeswax food wraps are a great way to ditch plastic wrap for your food storage. You can even make your own! Reusable food storage like wax wraps and resealable containers are also a great way to reduce food waste.
Wax food wraps are sustainable, reusable, and compostable. They can be made from cotton cloth with either bee’s wax, vegan plant-based candelilla wax, or non-GMO Soy wax. They can be used over and over. If you are feeling particularly crafty you can make them at home. We have a great tutorial here.
Ditch the plastic wrap and cover it with a beeswax wrap instead.
Cook and bake more
With the extra time at home, why not try out some new cooking skills or bake a loaf of bread? (If you can find any yeast!) Not only will you save money from not ordering takeout you’ll also avoid single-use plastics and wasteful takeout containers. Learn how to make your own yogurt, pickle vegetables, make pasta from scratch. There are so many ways you can experiment in the kitchen! And don’t forget, avoid trips to the grocery store and use what you have. Check out @cookbycolor for #fridgeforage inspiration!
Grow Your Own Food
Start a veggie garden. Whether you have space for raised beds or containers on your deck, you can grow your own veggies and herbs. You can even use your organic waste to grow your favorite veggies by planting your scraps!
Growing your own food reduces your carbon footprint and benefits the planet. By growing your own food, you will reduce your dependence on food that travels a long distance to get to store shelves and reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers that are used to grow conventional crops.
Having your own vegetable garden is also healthier for you by providing exercise through gardening and a healthier diet by eating what you grow. Wins all around!
Donate or Volunteer
Volunteer for a local environmental group by lending your time and skills to give back to a great cause.
Make a donation to your favorite environmental charity to help protect our environment.
Donate gently used items instead of throwing them out and keep them out of the landfill.
Share your favorite environmental charity with us! Here are a few we support.
Stop Junk Mail
Trees are essential to a healthy planet and more than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail. Not only that, most junk mail does not get recycled and 5.6 million TONS of catalogs and direct mail end up in US landfills annually. Now is the time to get unwanted junk mail out of your mailbox.
Purchase Online Gift Cards
Paper-free, plastic-free goodness, and a good way to support local businesses during these difficult times. If you have a local refill shop or eco-friendly store, help keep them in business! Many of your favorite eco friendly and sustainable companies offer online gift cards, including us!
Switch to Green Power
With a quick phone call or internet search you can easily switch your energy provider and reduce your carbon footprint. Many of us get our energy at home from fossil fuels like natural gas or coal which emit greenhouse gases. Swap these out with clean energy sources like wind and solar and make a positive impact on the planet.
Simply start by contacting your local utility company and seeing if switching to green power is an option for you. Utility companies get their energy from a variety of providers including fossil fuels and clean energy providers and by working with them you can make the switch so that all the energy you use is supplied by clean energy sources.
Ditch Paper Towels
With paper towels being harder to find these days, now is the time to change your habits and ditch the paper towels!
Americans excessive use of paper towels leads to up to 13 billion pounds of paper towels being thrown into landfill each year. If every American household used just one less 70-sheet roll of virgin fiber paper towels, that would save 544,000 trees each year!
Use kitchen towels, swedish dish cloths or cloth napkins instead. You can also go for reusable towels made from bamboo or cotton flannel.
Plus, you’ll also be ditching the plastic packaging that your paper towel rolls come wrapped in. Double win!
Get a Bidet
A bidet can be easy to install on your toilet and can greatly reduce your need for toilet paper. And we all know how hard it can be right now to get our hands on some toilet paper!
Considering that making a roll of toilet paper uses 1.5 pounds of wood, 37 gallons of water and 1.3 KWh of electricity, a bidet is a great choice for the environment. It only uses 1/8 of a gallon of water!
And you will be saving some of the 384 trees that are cut down to make a single person’s lifetime toilet-paper supply. Americans use 8 million tons of toilet paper a year.
Save the forests and get a bidet today. You may have an easier time finding a bidet then a roll of toilet paper these days!
Eliminate Single-Use Plastics
Plaine Products is dedicated to the elimination of single-use plastics. We offer shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, hand wash and a facial line. All of our products are #vegan, #nonGMO, #crueltyfree, #biodegradable, #colorsafe and #parabenfree, #sulfatefree and #toxinfree. Good for the body and the planet.
Plaine Products come in aluminum bottles that can be sent back and refilled time after time. We are proud to be reducing waste and helping stop the spread of single-use plastics.
- STEP 1: Order one of our awesome products. It will arrive at your door in a refillable bottle. Replace lid with pump. Rejoice! You can recycle the shipping box and the extra lid.
- STEP 2: When you are getting low order a refill bottle. Or subscribe and we’ll send a bottle in a timeframe that works for you.
- STEP 3: When your current bottle is empty rinse it out and switch the pump to the refill bottle.
- STEP 4: Put the refill’s lid on your empty bottle and place it in the refill box. If you have more than one bottle, make sure the box is full before sending it back. Stick the enclosed return label over the existing shipping label (make sure it’s completely covered), and set it out for your postal carrier to pick up just like any other letter. Best part: we cover the cost of shipping to send it back!
Vote for the Earth.
Voting matters. Local, state and federal elections can make a huge difference in our lives and the environment. Be sure you’re registered, get politically engaged and make your voice heard!
Vote at the ballot. Vote with your wallet. Vote for environmental progress.
Plant a Tree
Trees absorb rising CO2 levels and filter the air we breathe. They can reverse the impacts of land degradation. Their root systems can keep pollutants from reaching the water supply and filter our drinking water. Forests provide habitat to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.
Planting a tree is a great way to celebrate #EarthDayEveryDay!
If you can’t plant a tree directly, consider one of the many organizations that will plant a tree on your behalf around the world!
You finally have time to get out the hammer or needle and thread! Instead of throwing away or buying a replacement give your broken electronics or appliances a new life. Sew a button back onto a shirt or repair your bicycle so you can get around without driving. There are many wonderful YouTube videos for repairing and fixing just about anything. Your community may have a great repair shop where you can get things fixed instead of sending it to the landfill.
Happy 50th Earth Day!
Take a moment to celebrate this wonderful Earth and all the beauty and resources it provides for us.
And then commit to taking action. Take meaningful actions, big and small, to make this world a better place for the people and the planet.
Join Earth Day Network as they take Earth Day digital and flood the digital landscape with global conversations, calls to action, performances, video teach-ins and more. Visit www.earthday.org for more!