25 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day without Buying Anything

Make it a non-Consumer Earth Day

AND become a smart, eco-friendly consumer all year round

There are millions of new wonderful ‘green living’ gadgets, trinkets, and practical every-day items manufactured with a lighter carbon footprint that may leave less of a toxic trail in the landfills and oceans. But we still are a culture that consumes much more than we really need. Our landfills and oceans are quickly becoming overwhelmed with garbage — much of which will remain there for hundreds if not thousands of years (thank you plastic!).

I’ve been really trying to be less of a consumer. My husband and I are living with less new stuff, recycling, up cycling, fixing, sharing, swapping and just buying less one-time-use items. Partly because it just feels good — simplifying for us AND the environment, but I have to be honest, it also saves a TON of money!

A few things about garbage and what we throw away . . .

  • 54% of what we throw away goes into landfills (EPA)
  • The total volume of solid waste produced in the U.S. each year is equal to the weight of more than 5,600 Nimitz Class air craft carriers, 247,000 space shuttles, or 2.3 million Boeing 747 jumbo jets (R.W. Beck, Inc.)
  • The average American discards 4.43 pounds of garbage every day (EPA)
  • New York City produces four pounds of waste per person per day — more than any other city in the world. (GrowNYC)
  • Forty percent of New York City’s garbage consists of packaging materials. U.S. businesses buy an estimated 5 billion cubic feet of Polystyrene foam “peanuts” a year. That’s enough to fill the Empire State Building more than 135 times. (GrowNYC)
  • 30% of all the food produced in the world is tossed in storage, harvesting or transportation BEFORE it reaches you!

Don’t even get me going on food waste! That topic warrants a post of it’s own!

How to become a smarter, earth-friendly consumer . . . ask yourself these questions before buying anything!

  • Can I fix the one I have?
  • Can I buy or swap for a good used one?
  • Do I really need it?
  • Where is this made?
  • How is this made?
  • What raw materials does it use?
  • How sustainable are the resources used to make it?
  • How long will it last?
  • Can I recycle it?
  • Can I upcycle it?

So, this Earth Day (as most Earth Days for me), I won’t drive anywhere, I’ll do my food shopping (locally produced as much as possible) before, and generally try to focus on having a quiet healthy, mindful day with mama earth without buying anything new that could clog up the landfills and oceans any more than necessary!

We had a wonderful Green Divas Radio Show featuring some fun ideas for Earth Day – Please read the GD Earth Day post with all kinds of resources or listen to the GD Earth Day podcast and get even more! We came up with some great ideas for healthy earth day fun, but I thought I’d add to the list here.

25 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day
without Buying Anything

1. Unplug – minimize electronic activity

2. Go outside

3. Observe nature

4. Meditate in nature

5. Walk barefoot in some grass

6. Eat vegan or vegetarian (local, organic, non-GMO when possible)

7. Do a fun DIY upcycling craft project

8. Visit your local library – be amazed

9. Read a real book

10. Play with your kids or grand kids or any kids

11. Talk to kids about nature, the environment, and earth day

12. Listen to your favorite music

13. Dance to your favorite music

14. Make your own music

15. Make music with others

16. Organize a potluck dinner

17. Plant something – anything, a small pot of herbs maybe

18. Walk somewhere instead of driving

19. Bike somewhere instead of driving

20. Drink more water, less coffee or soda

21. Drink fair trade tea

22. Meet with friends

23. Talk to friends about what earth day means to you

24. Turn off lights in the evening – sit by candle light

25. Play a board game or cards with friends or family

We want to hear YOUR ideas for having a healthy, non-consumer Earth Day! Make a 10-second video showing off your ideas, and share it with us! Be part of our fun Green Divas and Dudes Earth Day video!

Listen to this special Earth Day segment, get some ideas and send your ideas, pictures and videos to the Green Divas Radio Show facebook page! C’mon it’ll be fun!


Alina Kanaski
Alina Kanaski3 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

Judith Emerson
Judith Emerson4 years ago

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Nicole L.
Nicole L4 years ago

Great, thanks.

Arlene Medder
Arlene Medder4 years ago

-Go to a swap meet, trade your unwanted for someone else's.
-Donate clothes/shoes suitable for job interviews to a homeless shelter or abused women's shelter
-Find out if there's a community garden in your area and volunteer your labor
-Cull your bookshelves and send books to a shelter, a hospital, or soldiers overseas
-Take a shelter dog for a walk

Brenda P.
Brenda P4 years ago

thanks for sharing

Kristin West
Kristin West4 years ago

Awesome suggestions! Love the Green Divas podcast... Thanks for posting! :)

Melania Padilla
Melania P4 years ago

Consumerism is killing the planet!!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra5 years ago

Thank you Green Diva Meg, for Sharing this!

Geoff Price
Past Member 5 years ago


Myriam G.
Myriam G5 years ago

My favorite way to celebrate Earth Day is having a plant "give away".

In the few days before Earth Day, I look at my house plants and separate the ones that have multiplied. There's usually lots of aloe that need new pots. Then, I place a small table on the side walk, with a couple of newly potted plants on it, and a sign that says "Plants to give away. Please help yourself and have a nice Earth Day!". It's a big hit, the plants stay there for a few minutes before people take them. I place new plants on the table throughout the day, until I run out. I did it again this year and it was a big success.