Published in The Daily Citizen on Wednesday, April 8, 2015.
During this month we have the opportunity to renew our commitment to caring for the planet. While Earth Day is celebrated nationwide on April 22, more and more the month of April is being recognized as Earth Month. Every day is a good day to be mindful of what we use and dispose of. Being environmentally conscious usually translates into saving money, electricity, water, reducing waste, and improving our health. Here are 22 tips for celebrating Earth Day every day.
1. Don’t Drive: Take a walk or ride your bicycle to work, the store, church, or a friend’s house. You’ll conserve gas and reduce the amount of air pollution you create.
2. Plant Something: Whether it’s a flower or tree, planting plants help clean the air, provide shade, and provides food and shelter for many animals. Plants also beautify our environment, which is a win-win for everyone.
3. Change Your Bulbs: Switch from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescents (CFLs) or light emitting diode (LED) bulbs to save energy. You’ll reduce your electric bill and save money in the long run.
4. Recycle Electronics: Don’t throw away your old cellphones and laptops. They can be recycled along with other electronic devices at the Old Dixie Hwy. Landfill and Convenience Center’s electronics drop off box.
5. Choose Local Foods: Buying locally grown food reduces your environmental impact because the food has traveled a shorter distance compared to food delivered by a tractor-trailer to the grocery store.
6. Clean Greener: Use fewer chemicals in your home and improve air quality when you mix your own green cleaners at home. Basic ingredients include distilled white vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils.
7. Share Something: Have extra tools and lawn care equipment that is not used often? Share them with neighbors and friends so they don’t have to purchase the same items. You’ll reduce waste and save money, especially if you all go in together to purchase something.
8. Go Solar: You don’t have to install huge solar panels on your home to reap the benefits of solar power. Smaller solar harvesting devices are available to charge cellphones and laptops.
9. Get Outside: Enjoy the outdoors and spend some time in nature this month by going on a hike, visiting a national park, or going on a picnic in your backyard.
10. Upcycle: Transform something you were about to throw away into something useful. The possibilities are endless! Make a birdfeeder out of a milk carton, or a stamp from a wine cork.
11. Clean it Up: Pick up litter (trash in the wrong place) anytime you’re outside. Whether it’s your trash or not, picking up and taking it to the right bin will help keep our environment clean and safe.
12. Reduce Clutter: Get rid of the things you no longer use and keep only what is useful and beautiful in your home and office.
13. Volunteer: We can all accomplish a lot and improve our community if we work together. Look for volunteer opportunities in our area this month. Many of them are focused on planting.
14. Watch a Film: There are several environmentally themed documentaries available on services like Netflix. Plastic Paradise is a recent film that focuses on plastic pollution.
15. Go Vegan: Join in on Meatless Monday and prepare one meal a week with no meat. Raising beef requires more water than vegetables and grains, and contributes to greenhouse gases.
16. Energy Efficient: Improve one area of your home to make it more energy efficient. You can look into changing your appliances, cooling, heating, and lighting.
17. Go Small: Reduce the amount of space you need to live in by choosing a smaller home or apartment. If you’re adventurous research tiny homes.
18. Buy Nothing: For at least one day this month commit to buying nothing. You’ll save money and gain insight into the items you believe are necessities but are really rather wasteful.
19. Go Reusable: From reusable shopping bags and sandwich bags, there are many reusable products available today to replace single-use disposables. Make the switch to at least one this month.
20. Recycle: Give your garbage another life by recycling when you can. Locally you can recycle plastic bottles and jugs, glass bottles and jars, paper, aluminum cans, and bi-metal cans.
21. Skip the Bath: Did you know that a 10-minute shower can consume up to 50 gallons of water, and a bath can take up to 70 gallons? Skip the long shower or bath for a day and help conserve water.
22. Pay Online: Instead of mailing in a paper check for a bill, pay online. Many banks offer an online bill pay service and can even email you statements. You’ll reduce the amount of paper you use and save money on postage.
Liz Swafford is the Recycling and Education Program Coordinator for the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority. Have a recycling question? Contact her at 706-278-5001, or e-mail email@example.com.