Every year on April 22nd, the world gathers to advocate for more environmental policies and sustainability measures to protect our planet. While Earth Day can provide global visibility for environmental issues, we can also continue taking care of the planet by practicing some good habits.
Here are 10 ways to take care of the planet beyond Earth Day:
Did you know that glass can take up to a million years to decompose? Recycling uses less energy, uses fewer natural resources, prevents environmental damage, keeps waste from overwhelming landfills, and reduces pollution.
Replace Light Bulbs
You can use about 25% to 80% less energy by replacing incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs - this will not only save money on your energy bill, but it can prevent 400 pounds of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. In fact, if every house in the US replaced at least one light bulb, it would reduce pollution equivalent to removing one million cars from the road.
Use Reusable Water Bottles
In the US alone, 17 million barrels of oil are used every year to make disposable plastic bottles. An estimated 38 billion water bottles end up in a landfill instead of being recycled, and take as much as 1,000 years to decompose. This is why we strongly recommend switching to BPA-free and lead-free reusable water bottles.
Use Reusable Shopping Bags
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 2% of plastic bags in the US are recycled, which means a lot of them end up in landfills or get swept away into the environment, including our oceans. If you haven’t already, we recommend switching to reusable bags. Most reusable bags will cost you a dollar or two, but they are a good, inexpensive investment in the supporting the planet. Just one person using reusable bags over their lifetime would keep more than 22,000 plastic bags out of the environment.
Eat More Vegetarian Meals
A lot of resources go into producing meat. About 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into producing a single pound of beef. By opting for more vegetarian meals, we can reduce the amount of water wasted, lower the climate change impact, slow down the rate of deforestation, and lessen pollution.
Buy Local, Organic Produce
Transporting food over long distances emits hundreds of pounds of greenhouse gases. And according to the Earth Day Network, the majority of produce in grocery stores has often lost 45% of its nutritional value by the time you purchase it. By buying local, you’re supporting your community and consuming fresher produce.
Limit Water Usage
There are many ways to limit the amount of water you use. Turn off the tap when brushing teeth and opt for showers instead of baths, install water-saving showerheads, and take shorter showers. Reducing your shower time by as little as four minutes can save 20 to 40 gallons of water.
Buy Eco-Friendly Products
There are many eco-friendly products that have minimal environmental impact. Rechargeable batteries minimize the amount of toxic waste. Natural materials such as hemp and bamboo can be used to make a variety of sustainable products, ranging from shoes to flooring. There is even clothing made from recycled materials such as plastic bottles that are not only soft, but sustainable.
With the convenience of email, there is no longer a need to receive bills by mail. Allow technology to lessen the environmental impact of daily life.
Practice Good Laundry Habits
Only wash laundry with a full load and don’t overload your machines, which will reduce its effectiveness. And use warm or cold water when possible to save energy.
As consumers, we make choices every day that affect not only our health, but our environment as well. We can all do our part to make more environmentally-conscious decisions to help build a cleaner, healthier world for the generations to come.
If you want to do more to protect our planet, visit www.earthday.org to learn how to take action, make a donation, and/or find an event near you.