Every day we make choices that impact the planet – from the food on our plates to the clothes on our backs to how we travel to work.
If you’re wondering what you can do to invest in a more sustainable planet, we’ve put together a list of actions you can take on Earth Day and every day. You don’t have to do everything. You can start small – but start somewhere.
Here are some Earth Day activities you can do today:
Become a citizen scientist. Help scientists track bee populations or protect monarch butterflies through the Global Earth Challenge app.
Wear the change you want to see and make your closet more environmentally friendly. Consider buying gently used items instead of new and invest in only clothes you need. Shop local to save emissions. Research and support sustainable fashion brands that incorporate sustainable practices into their manufacturing. Try using sustainable fashion apps such as Good on You, SYW Sustainable Wardrobe and Depop to help you make the most of your wardrobe.
Shrink your foodprint. Use a food carbon emissions calculator to understand how much your food choices impact the planet. Then, make your next meal plant-based. Plan your meals, and reuse ingredients across multiple meals. Freeze fruits and vegetables on the brink of going bad to use later in soups and smoothies. Rather than throwing away food scraps, consider composting and feed the soil.
Up your recycling game. Learn what you can and can’t recycle locally. For items that don’t go into curbside recycling bins, look for store drop-off programs. Many grocery stores, home centers and department stores now offer containers for recycling plastic shopping bags. Additionally, a wide variety of plastic films, wraps and other bags can go in these retail store bins. These include bags and films made from HDPE (commonly known as #2) and LDPE and LLDPE (commonly known as #4), and in the United States, items with the “How2Recycle” Store Drop-Off label. Packaging with the “How2Recycle” Store Drop-Off label can be recycled at any of these sites.
Tune up your car use. Consider biking, rideshares or taking public transportation when possible. Combine errands to make fewer trips. Maintain a steady speed; according to the U.S. Department of Energy, aggressive driving can lower your gas mileage by about 15-30% at highway speeds and 10-40% in stop-and-go traffic. Keep your car tuned up and tires inflated to increase fuel efficiency.
Save energy around home. Take steps to conserve energy at home by installing a programmable thermostat, filling gaps around windows and pipes, and insulating hot water pipes and heating ducts in unheated areas. Ask your utility company about an energy audit. Then check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Checklist for more energy-saving tips.