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30 Tips to Make Earth Day Every Day

30 Tips to Make Earth Day Every Day

Happy Earth Day! Last year, Care2 writer Judy Molland helped us celebrate the holiday with the “Top 10 Ways to Make Every Day Earth Day.” The idea was to encourage habits that we could continue all the time to make environmentalism more than an annual activity.

The response was massive! Thousands of you committed or perhaps recommitted to making green lifestyle changes, with many commenters chiming in with their own suggestions for making environmentally smart decisions. This year, we’re upping the challenge to thirty. Can you incorporate these 30 reasonably simple practices into your everyday lives?


Let’s start by recapping Judy’s ten ideas:

1.  Awaken Your Senses to nature all around you, even in the city. Just step outside, and nature is right there. Is it windy? What do the clouds look like? Is it sunny? What is the first bird that you hear?

2.  Use Less Water: turning off the tap while you brush your teeth will save four gallons a minute.  In the shower, turning off the water while you shampoo and condition your hair can save more than 50 gallons a week.

3. Attack The Energy Monster: always turn off the lights when you leave a room, and replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). They are more expensive but will last much longer. Use the minimum amount of outdoor security lights by setting them on a timer or motion sensor so they turn off during the day.

4.  Commute Without Polluting: take mass transit or at least carpool if you can. Best of all, ride a bike! There are huge physical and fiscal benefits to biking. The obesity rate for adults is at almost 36 percent in the U.S., while countries like the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany, which promote biking as transportation, have the lowest incidence of obesity.

5.  Know The Top 10. According to the National Recycling Coalition, these are the top 10 most important items to recycle: aluminum, PET plastic bottles, newspaper, corrugated cardboard, steel cans, HDPE plastic bottles, glass containers, magazines, mixed paper and computers.

6.  Just Say No to paper and plastic bags. The average consumer makes 1.9 trips to the grocery store every week. If you take home two bags each trip, that’s about 200 bags a year. Even if you recycle your bags, it’s better not to use them in the first place, due to the energy used to produce those bags. Instead, carry your stuff home from the store in a reusable tote bag.

7.  Put A Cap on bottled water: roughly 50 billion plastic water bottles end up in U.S. landfills each year, which is 140 million every day. And according to the National Resources Defense Council, 40 percent of bottled water is nothing more than tap water anyway. You’ve paid taxes for your tap water, so drink it! Head out to buy some refillable water bottles.

8.  Buy Locally Produced Food. When you do, you are helping reduce the pollution and depletion of resources associated with the transportation and packaging of food. On average, domestically grown produce sold in conventional supermarkets has traveled some 1,500 miles from farm to table. Not to mention, it’s probably been treated with fungicides so that it can be stored.

9.  Weigh Your Waste. I’ve done this and it’s scary to see how much my family accumulates each week. Weigh on a bathroom scale every bag of garbage you create before you take it out. Do this for a week, and multiply by 52 to get a rough estimate of how much waste you produce in a year. Then figure out how you can cut your waste production!

10. Avoid The “Print” Button. It’s an obvious one – but really, think twice before printing from the computer. You can read most documents and magazines online, and you can pay many bills via the web these days. When you do print, use both sides of your paper as much as possible.


Then throw in some great suggestions from the Care2 commenters:

11. Buy items secondhand whenever possible. Used goods don’t require additional resources or energy to produce them and reduces the demand (Suggested by Maureen S.)

12. Go vegan, or at least vegetarian. Not only does it spare animal lives, but far more resources go into getting meat onto your plate compared to other foods. (Suggested by Yogesh K. and Sofia L.)

13. Turn down the water pressure on your sinks in order to cut down on your waster use. (Suggested by Lydia S.)

14. Start composting. It’s surprisingly easy to decompose your food waste into usable soil. (Suggested by Sara T. and Kate R.)

15. Unplug your appliances and power strips when you aren’t using them. Even if electronics are “off,” you waste electricity when they are connected to a socket. (Suggested by Leigh H.)

16. Take unwanted electronics to a proper e-waste recycling center. Putting them in the normal trashcan means that they’ll squander and pollute in a landfill rather than being repurposed safely. (Suggested by Andrea J.)

17. Stop reproducing, or at least limit the number of children you have. The earth cannot sustain the current rate of population growth, so do your part not to add to the problem. (Suggested by Suba G. and Judith S.)

18. That said, still live collectively. By cohabitating with multiple people, you’ll share resources more efficiently and effectively. (Suggested by Rebecca L.)

19. Clean litter as you pass by. When you go for a walk, bring a bag and gloves with you to take care of the trash you encounter. (Suggested by Alexandra D.P.)

20. Save and reuse junk mail to print or write on the other side of the paper. (Suggested by Pam W.)

21. Don’t fly! One cross-country flight adds more carbon into the atmosphere than one person produces in a year. (Suggested by Joellen G.)

22. On a sunny day, hang your wet clothes outside to dry rather than machine drying them to save energy (Suggested by Rebecca L.)


And finally I’ll throw in 8 more that I’ve learned in my own pursuit of living a green lifestyle:

23. Trade items! There’s no denying the thrill of owning something new, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a consumer. Swap things with your friends and neighbors for the excitement of change without depleting additional resources.

24. Convince your office to have work-from-home days. By getting you and your coworkers to eliminate their typical commute even just once a week, that’s a significant reduction in carbon emissions.

25. Enroll in paperless billing programs. It’s a waste to have bills and statements mailed to you each month when you can even more easily receive the same information in the form of an email.

26. Check your insulation regularly. You could be wasting a lot of energy (and money) on heat that is escaping your house that a quick repair could improve greatly.

27. Only run the dishwasher when it’s completely full to conserve water. Avoid selecting the pre-rinse cycle as it doesn’t actually help your dishes get any cleaner.

28. Stop using aerosol cans. Although they don’t exactly “deplete the ozone” in the way they were rumored to in the past, they do still emit gasses that contribute to global warming.

29. Research plant species that are native to your area to decide what to grow in your yard. When you choose plants that are regional, they require less water, fertilizers and pesticides to grow and care for.

30. Go without. If you don’t absolutely need something, why buy it? That helps to cut down on production costs, shipping costs and packaging.

Happy Earth Day!

Do you have any additional tips that we can add? Heck, maybe we can hit 100 next by next Earth Day!

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+ add your own
6:41AM PDT on May 24, 2014

thanks for sharing

6:39AM PDT on May 24, 2014

maintain a diary, plan your travel and route according to your work or plan your work according to your your travel. this will save you from lot of unnecessary commuting and precious time.

5:51AM PDT on Apr 30, 2014

Christine s.,
Agreed. Unless someone lives in a community where clean water is unavailable, bottled water is a waste. What id wrong with tap water? What pisses me off even more, is when places prevent you from bringing your own container of water, so you are forced to buy their bottled water.

7:32PM PDT on Apr 29, 2014

Great ideas. Thanks for this valuable post.

5:34PM PDT on Apr 27, 2014

If we don't stop the toxic spraying of geoengineered chemtrails, the earth, sky and water will all be poisoned. Make every day earth day by downloading the smartphone app from that will let you take photos of chemtrails and send them to your elected representative, along with a petition voicing your opposition. The planes spray aluminum, barium, sulphur and other toxins that increase the incidence of autism, Alzheimers and breathing difficulties. We must all take action now. Monsanto is creating aluminum resistant seeds, and these may be the only plants that grow if we can't stop the spraying.

3:35PM PDT on Apr 27, 2014

Yeah, bottled water pisses me off! Even if you recycle the bottle, it is still stupid. I have a Britta filter on my faucet- water tastes great- put it in your own re-useable bottle!

1:00PM PDT on Apr 27, 2014

Thank you for all the tips.

3:42AM PDT on Apr 26, 2014

Install a rain water tank and re-use your grey water ; )

7:25AM PDT on Apr 25, 2014

Thanks for all the great tips.

7:14PM PDT on Apr 24, 2014

I grew up with my Mom stressing the importance of every day being earth day. Ler's all try to make this happen!

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