The 52nd anniversary of Earth Day is April 22, 2022, but every day should have you aware of being eco-friendly and green your lifestyle with a few easy new habits. You might even save money in the bargain.
These ideas are from Volkswagen, whose factory in Chattanooga is the world’s first LEED certified “green” auto manufacturing plant, and some additional eco-tips from ecoXplorer Eveyn Kanter
Take Earth Day Indoors
Many common ingredients in your pantry, like baking soda and vinegar, double as effective and affordable cleaning products.
- ecoXplorer tip: make a cheap and effective sanitizer with a few tablespoons of chlorine bleach, like Clorox, and a cup of water, mixed in a spray bottle. It also cleans the sponge or cloth you are using.
Add plants to your home
Indoor plants can make your space feel fresher and homier. Especially now, in spring, when flowering potted plants like hyacinth, add color and fragrance.
Plant a tree
Plant a tree in the yard or community and encourage others to plant a tree in honor of the special day.
Instead of throwing away food scraps like banana peels, create your own compost bin. Whether you live in a house or a small apartment, even a small composting vessel can be useful.
While going through your old clothes or household items, determine the best way to give the items a new life (e.g., make face masks using old T-shirts) to eliminate waste and clutter.
- ecoXplorer tip: see our article on what to throw out, re-purpose or donate
Recycle everyday objects properly
Learn what types of items are recyclable by visiting your local municipality’s website.
Reduce meat consumption
Dedicate one or two days per week to eating meatless meals and use these days as opportunities to try new recipes while spending time at home.
Spice up your cooking by incorporating plant-based items like lentils, beans or tofu as the main protein source.
Wash your clothes in cold water, then hang-dry them
Around 90% of the energy used to wash clothes comes from heating water, so switch the machine to cold when possible.
Air drying clothes is free and energy-friendly, so use a drying rack or clothesline for a zero-emission alternative to a dryer.
Minimize single-use items
Purchase storage containers and beeswax wrap instead of using plastic baggies or plastic wrap.
Use a refillable water bottle instead of single-use bottles.
Invest in brands that are taking action
Vote with your wallet.
Research your favorite brands to understand how their practices impact the planet, as well as looking into other companies to see if any are supporting causes that you care about.
Only turn on lights when you need to; otherwise, enjoy the natural sunlight.
Set up your working space near a window for extra light and pleasant views.
- ecoXplorer tip: unplug electric chargers for your gadgets when not in use, since they are pulling what’s called “vampire” power.
Watch a nature show or documentary
Cozy up with the family, throw on a program and educate yourself about some of the planet’s most pressing environmental issues.
Consider going electric in your yard
Much like electric cars, electric lawnmowers and other implements do not produce direct emissions, in contrast to traditional gas-powered models.
If it’s not in your budget, mow a bit less and mulch your clippings – the extra growth can make your yard healthier.
Tend to your home garden
If you need supplies, many garden centers, nurseries and small growers are open for business and rapidly adapting to meet customer concerns and safety restrictions.
Many garden centers now have curbside pick-up.
Pick up your neighborhood
Get your essential exercise by bringing a trash bag and some gloves on your next walk outside.
If you’re with your family, make a game out of it, to see who can pick up the most trash.
Choose one thing
Choose one thing to change this year that will benefit the planet.
This can be anything from reducing driving or recycling more to opting for Meatless Mondays to purchasing more second-hand items over new ones.
Donate to a local community garden or environmentally focused non-profit.
Local organizations help connect neighbors, promote nutrition and empower people who often feel like they don’t have power over their food choices.
Donate money to help these urban oases flourish and continue to support your local community.
Speak up for the planet online
The Earth Day Network is asking activists to share climate- and earth-related news on their social channels with the hashtags #EarthDay2022 and #EarthRise.
This article was published in 2020, for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and has been updated and republished for Earth Day 2022.