This April, Eartheasy.com shared thirty days of tips on social media to help our readers eliminate waste from everyday living and tread more lightly on the planet. Together we celebrated the world’s largest environmental movement (Earth Day) and pledged to build a healthy, sustainable environment. We also worked to address climate change and protect the Earth for future generations. Here are those tips, gathered together in one place so you can keep using them all year long.
1. Ditch plastic grocery bags: Almost every grocery store offers reusable shopping bags for a small fee. You can also buy long-lasting, reusable bags that are hardwearing and easy to stow in your purse or car—so they’ll be there when you need them. Over its lifetime, a reusable shopping bag can save more than 1,000 plastic shopping bags from ending up in the landfill. Now that’s a lot of unnecessary plastic!
2. Stop using plastic straws: There are so many sipping options out there now, who needs plastic? Instead, trying using glass, metal, paper, or bamboo. You can even buy straw-cleaning bristle brushes to help you with quick clean-ups for your reusable straws.
3. Dispose of your disposable paper towel habit: Rags work just as well as disposable paper towels, and you can wash and reuse them. You can also try products like Skoy cloths, which are absorbent and easy to use. One Skoy cloth outlasts 15 rolls of paper towels—effective and inexpensive.
4. Grow your own food: You don’t need a huge yard or greenhouse to grow your own food. In fact, cultivating edibles can be as simple as growing a few herbs on your windowsill or joining a local community garden. Every item that you can grow at home reduces waste and decreases the amount of fossil fuels required to put food on your table. It also increases the nutrients in your diet, since your home-grown vegetables and herbs will be super fresh and packed with vitamins. Plus, if you have a patio, rooftop, or balcony, consider your options for gardening on concrete.
6. Reconsider plastic produce bags: Take the simple step of replacing disposable produce bags with reusable ones. Not only will you save money, you’ll reduce the amount of plastic in your home and on the planet.
7. Visit your local farmer’s market: If you have one available, stop by your local farmer’s market and see what you’ve been missing in the way of fresh food. There are many benefits to shopping at farmer’s markets, including eliminating food packaging, reducing food miles, and supporting your local community and small businesses. Stop by one this weekend and see what a difference local makes.
8. Rethink plastic water bottles: Did you know that Americans used an estimated 50 billion plastic water bottles last year? About 38 billion of those water bottles were trashed and not recycled. That is a huge waste of resources and money. Switching to a reusable water bottle will save hundreds of plastic water bottles from reaching the landfill every year. Or consider a LifeStraw Go bottle. That way you’ll never have to worry about finding great tasting, safe water—wherever you go.
9. Eat less meat: Cutting back on meat is not only good for your health, it’s good for the planet. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than the combined exhaust from all transportation! Try incorporating one meatless day a week to reduce your carbon footprint. You’ll be surprised how easy this is.
10. Opt for recyclable toothbrushes: How many toothbrushes do you use each year? What about every five years? Or over your entire lifetime? Unfortunately, all those plastic and electric toothbrushes often get tossed into trash bins or end up in landfills and oceans. To remedy this, replace your regular plastic toothbrush with a compostable one, like those made by the San Franciso-based company, Mable. Mable toothbrushes are bamboo with nylon, BPA-free bristles. Not only that, the packaging is 100% plastic free, so it’s not just the toothbrush that makes a positive impact.
11. Compost your food scraps: Unfortunately, one-third of all landfill waste is made up of compostable material. Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage! But what if you don’t have a yard or garden? Don’t worry: you don’t need either…