Earth Day is an international holiday celebrated on or around April 22nd each year to highlight and preserve Earth’s extraordinary natural resources! But we don’t need to wait for one day a year to take action; we can be more sustainable by making small changes every day! Living more sustainable is important for our lives today, but more so crucial for the lives of our children and grandchildren in the future.
Here are 20 easy ‘life hacks’ to be more earth-friendly (and maybe save you some money!):
- Be smart about your thermostat! The more energy your heat and air conditioning use, the more carbon dioxide they produce into the air. Excess Co2 in the air can impact climate change, ocean acidity and atmosphere quality. We don’t have this luxury in the summer but we can definitely practice this in the Winter/Spring.
- Be ‘Green’ about your laundry habits. Use cold water and air dry when you can. On average, about 5% of monthly electric bills are from dryers.
- Eat plant-forward. Choose more plant-based proteins and aim for 3/4 of your plate to be from plants, with 1/4 being from animal sources. This includes reducing meat and dairy with an increase on vegetables, fruits, beans and legumes. The energy and resources needed to raise and produce animal sources increase Co2 and overall carbon footprint. Eating more plant-based can also be nutritionally beneficial for you and the whole family!
- Reduce plastic. This trend initially gained popularity in 2017 when a documentary released after seeing how much plastic was in the ocean and included a turtle with a straw stuck in his nose (so sad!) But it really was a call to action- we can all make simple changes to reduce the plastic we dispose into landfill:
- Buy bulk over individual/smaller packages ex: 1 Gallon water bottles vs individual 16 oz bottles; bulk shampoo bottle vs smaller ones.
- Use reusable water bottles.
- Use reusable containers versus Ziploc/single-use.
- Reusable straws/cutlery vs take out plastic straws and silverware- there are some fun, affordable ones on Amazon.
- When using plastic –> Recycle!
- Side tip: whenever you recycle, make sure there aren’t any leftover food/liquids in the container, otherwise it cannot be recycled and it ends up being filtered back into landfill anyway.
- Unplug appliances whenever you’re not using them, examples include toaster ovens, Instapots, Crockpots, office printers, computers, etc.
- Use LED or CFL bulbs vs. incandescent lighting: they last longer and use less energy.
- Utilize natural sunlight vs room lighting: which is easy for us living in sunny AZ!
- Limit water usage:
- consider a water saving shower head
- turn off the water while you wash your face/brush your teeth
- Take the stairs vs elevator: this also promotes daily physical activity=health benefit to you and your family!
- Organize car pools when possible for all those after school programs/weekend sports games and competitions.
- Use local farmers for your produce to reduce food transport- we have some amazing farmer’s markets in the valley.
- Support ethical brands! Don’t be afraid to do a quick google/research to see how their products are made, where and how they are sourced, and their packaging.
- Paperless. Use electronic receipts, coupons, smartphone to take notes, etc.
- Reduce food waste. Aim for smaller portions on your plate and get more if you need it. I know this can be harder with little ones and that’s okay!
- Reuse gift bags and boxes when possible.. aka whenever your kids don’t tear them apart amidst their excitement of receiving the gift 🙂
- Donate old clothes or re-use them as rags.
- Utilize our local libraries for books.
- Use the dishwasher vs. hand wash when possible, and make sure the dishwasher is full before starting it.
- Plant seeds/grow live plants to improve air quality, this would be a fun activity with your little ones!
- Compost in your home (this may be a bit of a stretch as it’d take some pre-planning).
Remember: you don’t need to adopt all of these things to make an impact! Every little bit helps and we’re teaching our kids how to preserve our planet, too! Happy Earth Day!
Are there other things have you implemented to help the Earth?! Feel free to share below.