45 Essential Earth Day Tips on What You Can Do To Celebrate This Important Day
A plastic supermarket bag has an average life of 12 minutes and yet takes 500 years to decompose in the soil. And this soil is much more than just dirt. It’s practically a living “superorganism," critical to soaking greenhouse gases, retaining nutrients, and growing healthy plants.
So how do you take care of this "superorganism?"
You can observe Earth Day every April 22. It’s a day of Earth Day network events, volunteering efforts, and lectures on sustainability.
Celebrating Earth Day also involves making a difference like picking up trash and planting flowers... but you can also learn much more permanent ways to help our planet.
Here are some Earth Day tips you can tell your friends about.
45 Earth Day Tips
1. Avoid Disposable Plastic
Those 500 years from the intro are nothing in comparison with how long it takes for tougher plastics to decompose. When you go to the gym or the beach, think of Mother Earth and fill up a permanent water bottle. Bring your own canvas bag when shopping for groceries.
2. Eat Local
Eating local not only supports local farmers and venues, but your food travels less from farm to table. Less “food miles” means fewer carbon emissions from transports, storage, and refrigerating. Celebrate Earth Day by making a feast on which you'll serve only locally grown food.
3. Take Shorter Showers
Do you think about Earth Day and climate change in the shower? Our planet may appear blue from space, but we can only use about 1% of all this water for cooking and washing. So, don’t be lazy and turn off the shower while scrubbing or brushing your teeth.
4. Consider Going Meat-Free
Health claims aside, a vegetarian or vegan diet is far better for our environment than those including meat. Meat farming requires way more resources than growing fruit and vegetables. A small 8 oz chicken breast takes more than 524 liters of water to produce. Notice how Earth Day tips and health tips often go hand in hand?
5. Plant a Garden of Edibles
Use Earth Day to teach your kids gardening by starting a small patch in your backyard. Include native varieties that attract pollinators and you'll have plenty of fresh veggies all summer long. No backyard? Plant a herb garden on your window sill.
6. Ditch Paper Towels
Buy pre-made reusable cloths or make your own cleaning rags from old T-shirts or socks. If you have small children, switch from disposable baby diapers to reusable ones made of cotton. Disposable diapers and wet wipes can’t be recycled, not even on Earth Day.
7. Recycle Electronics
Old cell phones, batteries, broken gadgets — don’t let them sit around. Take them to the nearest electronics recycling depot before someone throws them out with the trash. This way you prevent plastics and heavy metals from polluting soil and water.
8. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Curb greenhouse gas emissions by riding your bicycle to work more often, ridesharing, or using public transport whenever you can. Not only does this cut CO2 emissions in your community on Earth Day also but it also supports public transport development.
9. Fix Dripping Faucets
An average American home leaks more than 10,000 gallons of water through inefficient plumbing. Don’t let that money go down the drain. Call your local plumber and have them fix the dripping faucet or running toilet in your home. Or fix it yourself.
10. Go Easy on the Pedal
There are ways you can help the planet from your car. A full-electric car might be out of your range, but going easy on the gas pedal helps the environment too. Speeding and unnecessary acceleration reduce mileage by 33 percent, not to mention the air pollution caused by tire particles as a result of excessive braking.
11. Say No to VOCs
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals used in paints, varnishes, cosmetics, cleaning products, and hobby supplies. Besides being harmful to the environment, increased concentration of VOCs in the air can cause headaches, nausea, and irritation of the nose and eyes.
12. Go for Online Billing
Utility providers, cable, companies, and banks let you choose to receive online statements or printed ones. Help our planet recover from trash by opting for online statements. Not all localities have developed recycling networks, so this also reduces the amount of paper that goes to landfills.
13. Reuse Paint Thinner
After you clean oil-based paint from your brushes and tools, let the dirty solvent sit overnight. In the morning, the sludge will settle to the bottom, with a clean layer of paint thinner on the top. Carefully pour off the clean liquid and use it in your next Earth Day project.
14. Start Composting
Composting is among the simplest ways to dispose of organic waste. Food waste and tree clippings in community landfills generate methane and other gases that impact Mother Earth. You can safely compost all food scraps including paper, except meat.
15. Collect Rainwater
Remember the 1% of usable water from the beginning of this list? Don’t let the rainwater run off your roof into a storm drain. Rainwater is perfect for watering your garden and lawn. Cuts down your water bill, too.
16. Put a Seal Around Doors and Windows
Gaps around your door and window frames are letting air escape, which makes your AC or furnace work harder. Save both some money and a lot of energy by adding some weather stripping around those gaps. The planet will know the difference.
17. Use LED Bulbs
Traditional incandescent light bulbs are already banned in some parts of the world, and people have switched to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). LED bulbs are much more environmentally friendly than either type. They last up to 10 times longer than regular bulbs and use 80% less energy.
18. Look for Sustainable Clothes
Not all Earth Day tips are about reducing energy consumption. Clothes made from organic cotton, hemp, wood pulp, or pineapple fibers are a bit more expensive from polyester, but feel different in quality. Celebrate Earth Day by wearing Earth-friendly clothing.
19. Volunteer to Clean Up
On Earth Day, community groups often organize clean-up actions in parks, beaches, or alongside the roads. All you need is a trash bag, pair of work gloves, and a pokey stick or grabber and you’re good to go.
20. Plant Trees
The best thing about planting a tree is that you don’t have to wait for Earth Day — you have 364 perfectly good days to buy a sapling, dig a hole, and prepare some mulch. Want to grow a backyard forest? Check out what this guy does to trap carbon dioxide.
Always turn off household electronics when no one’s using them. But that’s not enough. These devices consume power even when turned off. It’s not much but adds up over the months. It’s the energy that goes to waste, you’re paying for it.
22. Wash Laundry in Cold Water
Your washing machine uses 90% of the energy to heat the water. Make drastic changes in your carbon footprint by washing your laundry in the cold water setting at least once a week.
23. Buy Green Products
Instead of single-use, disposable items, look for eco-friendly products that are reusable, second-hand, sustainably sourced, or made of recycled materials. For example, a bar of sustainable soap in the paper wrap is way better for the environment than bottled shower gel with microplastic particles.
24. Take the Stairs
Some Earth Day tips are just about changing your routines. Not only will you cut down on energy use and help Mother Earth, but you’ll free up the elevator for someone else's mother who needs it more than you do. After all, walking upstairs every day is a free calorie-burning exercise.
25. Boycott Plastic Straws
Nearly 500 million plastic straws are used — and thrown away — in America every day. Stop the pollution by switching to reusable ones made from stainless steel, silicone, or bamboo. The sea turtles will be grateful.
26. Start Fixing Things
Even if you’re not a born handyman, there’s no reason to trash something that stopped working. YouTube tutorials and apps like TaskRabbit can show you how to fix different household products. The less waste goes to the dump the better.
27. Try eBooks
Yes, yes, we all love the smell of paperbacks. But not at the expense of our planet’s trees. A single eBook reader can store thousands of titles for your kids to take everywhere they go.
28. Clean Out the Mailbox
If you get a lot of unwanted catalogs and brochures, at least make sure that paper ends up in the recycling bin. Also, cancel all unnecessary subscriptions. Use the PaperKarma app to help you with that.
29. Look for the EnergyStar Label
The average American home can produce twice as much carbon emissions as the average family car. EnergyStar-rated products and lighting need less energy to run, which also means lower bills on your side.
30. Invest in a Smart Thermostat
A programmable thermostat can regulate your home's temperature even when you forget to turn off the AC or heating. Lower the temperature at bedtime and when there's no one at home. Even small changes like this help our planet a lot.
31. Help Spread the Good Word
People need to know why climate action is important and how to do their part. Share inspiring green news on social media, so people can understand why we should make every day Earth Day.
32. Use Eco-Friendly Insulation for Your Home
Hemp wool and sheep's wool are considered the greenest home insulation options, but if they're not available where you live, Icynene and RetroFoam are also great options - hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and eco-friendly.
33. Take Your Shoes Off
Celebrate Earth Day every day by leaving your shoes at the door. This is something every family can adopt. You'll avoid getting stains on your floors and carpets, but more importantly, you'll reduce the number of pollutants and toxins you bring inside.
34. Get a Green Job
Looking for a new job? Did you know that sustainability and renewable energy are among the fastest-growing industries in the country? Check out the best green employers in your area.
35. Collect Gray Water
Many sustainable homes have dual plumbing that collects gray water. You don't need such expensive remodels. Put a plastic bucket in the shower to catch gray water and use it to flush your toilet. Every little bit helps.
36. Plant Some Shade
Plant a couple of leafy trees on the south and west side of your home to shield your house from the scorching summer heat. In a few years, you won't have to run the AC near as much. In winter, the tree will shed its leaves, allowing plenty of sunshine and natural heat.
37. Shop Clothes Responsibly
Clothes made of organic and sustainable materials can be expensive, and kids grow fast. Choose quality items from thrift stores and look for outfitters like Patagonia that have something called a "buy-back" policy for worn items.
38. Try a Foodprint Calculator
A foodprint calculator is an app that tells you how your food choices impact the environment. For example, the Meat Calculator app shows you how much water and CO2 you save by reducing meat in your diet.
39. Teach Your About Kids Recycling
Make recycling a family habit. Set up a family recycling corner in the backyard and show your kids the first steps in recycling. Let them draw recycling symbols for the bins for plastic, paper, and glass. If you already have a compost pile going, they'll love this, too. Check out the tips on composting in this list.
40. Consider Ceiling Fans
Reducing your home's carbon footprint is among the most direct and helpful actions on this Earth Day tips list. Yes, you can help Earth recover with a few ceiling fans. It's simple - fans help circulate the air more effectively so your AC unit doesn't have to work that hard.
41. Make Art From Junk
Celebrate Earth Day by throwing a little exhibition of things you and your kids made from junk. Show them different ways to make a birdhouse from a milk carton or whirligigs from plastic bottles. Who says Earth Day tips can't be both fun and educational.
42. Seek out Sustainable Services
There are people who make a living by recycling, restoring, and repurposing items we often throw away. Whether it's batteries, glass, or hazardous waste, get into the habit of looking for the nearest drop-off location.
43. Feed the Animals
Leaving food for hungry visitors in your backyard or feeding fishes at a local pond is a great way to show kids that they are part of the ecosystem. Make a DIY bird feeder or leave seeds for rabbits and squirrels.
44. Become a Citizen Scientist
Through the Global Earth Challenge, you can be a citizen scientist. Using a mobile app, this initiative helps monitor and mitigate threats to Earth and health. Get it from the app store and start collecting environmental data in your area.
45. Go Outside
And finally what better way to celebrate Earth Day than by being outside. Do some yard work, go for a walk, join one of the cleanup actions, or take part in a local Earth Day celebration. Reflect on the beautiful world around you and think how you can help keep it that way.
In 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson came up with the idea of a nationwide environmental teach-in, what is to become Earth Day.
35 years later, on April 22, 2005, GreenCitizen was founded to reverse the environmental damage done to the Earth by developing a sustainable metropolitan circular economy.
Since the first Earth Day marches and rallies, people have been celebrating Earth Day as a reminder of the importance of saving the Earth, fighting climate change, and finding new ways to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.
Now it's our turn to teach our children to be green citizens and make every day Earth Day, one green activity at a time.
Nikola uses his background in electrical engineering to break down complex sustainability topics for GreenCitizen’s readers. He is a firm believer in environmental conservation, which he practices daily through recycling and home-grown food. He enjoys hiking, engaging in white-water sports, and collecting pocket knives.