We all do our best to recycle, reduce and reuse year-round, but Earth Day (coming up on April 22) is a good reminder to think up additional ways to lessen our ecological footprints. (Take the Earth Day Network’s Ecological Footprint Quiz here to find out what impact your lifestyle has on the planet.)
Many small changes by individuals can amount to a big impact across the entire population. Keep reading for easy suggestions on how to reduce waste, save water, conserve energy and cut back on pollution.
- Bring a reusable shopping bag when you shop, and keep a few in the car so you always have one on hand.
- Look for products packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic or recycled paper.
- Clean out your closet and donate some clothes.
- Save paper by creating your shopping list online and accessing it from your smartphone.
- Use a sponge or dishtowel in lieu of paper towels in the kitchen.
- Fill up a reusable aluminum or stainless steel water bottle instead of grabbing a plastic bottle.
- Use rechargeable batteries.
- Shorten the length of your shower, and try turning off the water while you shampoo.
- Replace your showerhead with a low-flow one.
- Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth.
- Check all your faucets for any leaks.
- Opt for locally made and locally grown products, as these require less energy to transport.
- Plant a small garden – nothing is more local than your own backyard!
- Replace traditional incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent ones (CFLs).
- Unplug appliances and lights when you’re not using them.
- Turn down the thermostat a few degrees during the winter, and turn it up a few degrees during the summer.
- Wash clothes in cold water to save the energy it takes to heat the water.
- Dry laundry on a clothesline rather than the dryer.
Cut Back on Pollution
- Walk, bike or take public transit when possible.
- Keep car tires properly inflated and aligned to maximize fuel efficiency.
- Opt for organic produce that keeps synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides out of the environment.
- Plant a tree to absorb carbon dioxide.
- Maintain woodstoves and fireplaces.
- Call your local utility to see what renewable energy sources (such as wind, water, solar) may be available to you.
What changes would fit well with your lifestyle?