how to make the most of earth day
It's not every day that we come together to recognize and celebrate our planet. We may not get the day off of work, but Earth Day has it's purpose, and we can do our part by showing how much we care for the natural resources that fuel our busy lives. Here are a few ways to make the most of April 22nd.
1. Start a campaign
Community is key to widespread action. Make some healthy noise by encouraging others to be more environmentally-friendly. You don't have to slap on a bumper sticker to have people care. Sites like Be A Doer allow you to start campaigns of any size, and automatically donates to a charity of your choice. BONUS: They hook you up with a corporate sponsor who will match any money you make. Need inspiration? Check out CNN's "Young Wonder" Ryan Hickman, whose recycling challenge is up to 97,000 bottles and cans in less than one month.
2. Bring your own cup
Did you know that it takes 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce a year's supply of water bottles? That's equivalent to fueling 100,000 cars for a year.Pass on the plastic and invest in your own travel mug or glass. Not only do they create less waste, but glass is free of bisphenol A. (BPA), an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 60's. Some studies have shown BPA contamination in food and beverages can lead to negative effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of unborn babies and children.
3. Be a picky shopper
Spend a little more time at the grocery store and practice reading labels. Not only is it important to know what ingredients you're putting into your body, but to investigate what kind of packaging your food is coming in. Creating a demand for eco-friendly containers encourages companies to make impactful decisions. If you're not into cooking, try ready-made Veestro meals, which come in compostable and recyclable trays.
4. Make room for a bin
You'd be surprised how many people don't recycle simply because they don't own a recycling bin. To date, 9.1 billion tons of virgin (non-recycled) plastic has been produced, but only 9% has been used and recycled. The remaining 5.5 billion tons is sitting in landfills and the natural environment. Avoid the temptation to be lazy and throw recyclables in the regular trash can. Most cities have an environmental program that offers recycling bins for free. Check your local listings to see where you can pick one up. If you don't know what's safe to recycle, stick this recycling chart to the side of your bin for easy reference.
5. Get crafty
Instead of waiting for the city to recycle your products, why not skip the middleman and repurpose your trash yourself? For instance, paper plates can be shredded and placed under your mulch as a base for plants, where they decompose to retain moisture and add nutrients to the soil. If you're a frequent online shopper, Amazon will help you get rid of your cardboard pile by giving you a free shipping label to send your old clothes, accessories, and household goods to charity.