Earth Day is one of those holidays that you may have celebrated and learned about in school when you were young, but now as an adult you kind of forget about and it passes each year without much fanfare.
Being the nature nerd that I am, I wanted to take a moment and remind you of the holiday and of how the simple choices you can now make as an adult can make a difference (even a small difference is better than nothing!).
Every year, Earth Day raises public awareness and helps promote understanding of important environmental issues so that more people have knowledge of the critical actions we need to take to protect our environment. Harnessing that attention and making it a more sustained action to protect the Earth is something that we should all strive for.
See below for some ideas on small changes you can make in your day-to-day life that are better for our planet!
Reduce Single-Use Plastics
Get a Reusable Water Bottle: Getting (and consistently using) a reusable water bottle is one of the quickest ways to reduce single-use plastics in your home. From the production of single-use plastic water bottles to where they inevitably end up (hello, landfill/ocean), there’s not much going for them. Investing in a reusable water bottle helps the environment in all the ways plastic water bottles harm it. Choose one that’s durable and a style you like and simply add it to your mental checklist of things to remember when you leave the house (wallet, keys, phone, water bottle). They come in so many color and design options, and you can even have them personalized. Why would you carry around a flimsy plastic single-use bottle when you can have something much cuter that’s also better for the environment?
Become a Better Grocery Shopper: Try to buy fresh foods that you can carry in reusable containers. Fresh fruits and vegetables don’t come prepackaged, and you can always just get the amount that you need instead of buying pre-packaged foods that you won’t completely finish. Also, nuts, lentils, coffee beans and many other dry goods can generally be purchased from bulk containers. By using reusable containers, you’re further reducing the amount of plastic in the world. It’s also worth making an effort to try to buy local, ethical and environmentally sustainable products. If you can't go local, go ethical and sustainable.
Use Reusable Shopping Bags: Most stores these days offer a canvas bag alternative to their wasteful plastic and paper bags. Although a canvas bag might cost a small amount to acquire, in the long run they are useful for much more than just getting groceries. A canvas bag is sturdier than a traditional plastic or paper bag and can hold more goods. It can also be used to store items or to haul your kiddo’s things around. Even if you don’t use canvas bags, reusing plastic bags is a great way to live more eco-friendly. You can use your plastic bags in small garbage cans throughout your home, or recycle your used grocery bag.
Get Boxed Laundry Detergent: My mom always used to use powdered laundry detergent and I don’t know why as an adult I kind of forgot about it. Most laundry brands have the powdered form of their liquid detergents and it comes in a recyclable box instead of a giant plastic jug. It’s often cheaper than the liquid and works just the same. I have also seen detergent ‘sheets’ coming onto the scene, and I can’t wait to give those a try!
Use Shampoo/Conditioner Bars: Most women take their haircare almost as seriously as their skincare (trust me, I get it!) so the thought of ditching their normal bottled shampoo/conditioner is a hard no, but it’s really not bad! I recently made the switch to shampoo and conditioner bars and I was quite surprised/impressed about how much I didn’t hate it. I even got my husband into it! It also makes me feel better to know that I’m not adding yet another giant plastic bottle to the landfill.
Start a Compost Bin: Compost bins have become a huge trend throughout America in the last few years – and for good reason! Composting biodegradable food and materials is a great way to feed soil, organisms in the soil and plant life while reducing waste. All you have to do is create a compost pile or bin in your backyard or, if you live in an apartment, store all your vegetable, fruit, and other natural food waste in a paper bag in your freezer (helps reduce smell!) and when it gets full simply dump it at a local compost collecting facility.
Grow Your Own Food: when the pandemic hit, it seemed like a great time to start our own garden. We grew all the tings we would normally get at the store like cucumbers, peppers, strawberries, tomatoes and lettuce. It was incredibly easy and actually a lot of fun. Our neighbors also grew a garden and had a few different things, so we even swapped produce with them a few times to add variety. You can also use the compost from the bin that you start to fertilize your soil!
Make Your Home More Energy Efficient: This can be as simple as changing out your lightbulbs! Now I’m not saying you need to run out right now and replace all of your light bulbs even though the old ones are still working just fine, but the next time one of your lights burns out, replace it with a compact fluorescent light. CFL bulbs can last more than five times longer and use much less electricity than regular incandescent light bulbs, and come in many different brightness and shade variations so you can customize it to your preferences.
Borrow Instead of Buy: Why waste money on something that you can easily borrow? Borrow a formal one-time-wear outfit from a sibling or friend. Rent movies and books from your local library. Living green doesn’t mean you have to settle for less, many items that you find in a used-goods store are just as good as new at a very discounted price! By purchasing and using pre-owned items, you reduce those items that eventually end up in a landfill and save yourself money.
Let every Earth Day serve as a reminder to take greater care of our home planet.
The Earth is a truly spectacular place that provides all of us with life. As humans, we can surely do a better job taking care of it.