This Earth Day, we are sharing ways you can celebrate the holiday (and keep on celebrating!) with 6 everyday tips for being more environmentally friendly. Since most campuses are closed down and college faculty and staff are working remotely, we provided you with tips that can be done from the comfort of your own home!
1. Make gradual improvements in your day-to-day routine
Rome wasn’t built in a day. That’s how the saying goes, right? The moral of the story is this: the journey to a more sustainable lifestyle is most effective when you take it step by step. That way, it feels like a gradual and more permanent process rather than something you do on a whim and never do again. The very first tip we’d like to give you to celebrate Earth Day every day is to evaluate your day-to-day routine and see where you can make small and lasting improvements.
For instance, if you make a cup of coffee with your Keurig machine every morning, give reusable Keurig pods a try. If you write in a notebook during your work day or for an online class, try taking notes on a Word or Google document instead. These little changes make being more environmentally conscious immediately achievable. Even little things go a long way!
2. Find reusable alternatives for household products
It goes without saying that not every household product is reusable…but some of them are, and there are a surprising amount of great alternatives out there that can lessen your environmental impact. One common switch is from paper towels to cloth towels for household cleaning (which you probably already have in your cupboards!). There are also reusable Ziploc bags with nifty designs, beeswax wrap as an alternative to plastic wrap for covering up leftovers, and, of course, reusable utensils and straws. We are by no means saying you need to go out and purchase each of these things right now—but it is good to research some eco-friendly alternatives for when you are ready to make the switch.
3. Be mindful of your energy usage
This tip goes for any time of year, but especially with so many of us being homebound currently, being mindful of your energy usage is a big step you can take towards a more sustainable lifestyle with just the flick of a switch (we couldn’t resist using that…). Some simple ways you can do this would be to make sure you turn off the lights when you leave a room or area, try to reduce your light use during the day and rely on sunlight from your windows instead, and open your windows instead of using AC if there is a cool breeze outside. Many energy companies also report on “peak” usage times—if you lessen your energy usage during these times, you’ll save money on your energy bill and contribute to helping the environment!
4. Grown your own food
Another great way to lessen your environmental impact and do good by Mother Earth is to grow your own food at home! This will lessen your carbon footprint, give you control over what goes into the production of those fruits and vegetables you love (goodbye, pesticides!), and also give you a fun way to stay active. Gardening should be a sport!
Along with planting a garden, an additional way to help the environment in terms of food is starting a personal compost. Composting helps food waste break down fully without creating any greenhouse gas, which is common when your food waste ends up in a landfill instead. It can also create great soil for future use.
5. Use an at-home filter for drinking water
Every year, our oceans and landfills continue to be saturated with plastic water bottles and other products. According to Healthy Human Life, it takes up to 1,000 years for a single water bottle to decompose. A way that we can cut down on some of this waste is investing in an at-home water filtration system. Not only does this small change contribute to keeping our planet clean, but it can save you hundreds of dollars at the grocery store.
6. Remember to recycle
Recycling doesn’t have to stop at your plastic water bottles. You can easily recycle glass, plastic, and paper—just to name a few. Recycling has numerous benefits, including conserving natural resources, preventing pollution, helping create jobs, saving energy, and in some states you can make some extra money off of the items you recycle! Learn more about the steps you can take toward recycling products at https://www.epa.gov/recycle/recycling-basics.