Happy Earth Day! This holiday was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, and has served as a reminder every year since about the beautiful fragility of our planet – and how our actions can impact it in the years to come.
So as you can imagine, this holiday holds a special place in our hearts… and what better way is there to celebrate this beautiful planet than by honoring it every single day? Here are 8 everyday habits that will help you decrease your carbon footprint, increase your sustainability, and celebrate the principles of Earth Day ‘round the clock.
- Buy in bulk.
Yes, reducing your consumption is one of the key ways that you can minimize your impact on the planet. But when it comes to certain goods, more actually is better!
If you find yourself constantly repurchasing nonperishable household items (laundry detergent, cleaning supplies) and shelf-stable foods (nuts, seeds, rice, cereal, flour) every time you hit the store, consider buying them in bulk instead – and bringing your own reusable containers to store them in. This can drastically cut down on the amount of packaging from the smaller portions you would typically find at the grocery store. It can also save you a ton of gas and money if you aren’t having to drive back and forth to the store every time you run out of your essentials. Just make sure that you’re only buying bulk quantities of items that you know you’re going to use. If you aren’t sure where to buy in bulk, Litterless.com has an excellent guide to finding zero-waste grocery stores near you.
- Shop online (strategically).
We’re probably all at least a little guilty of falling victim to online shopping, especially in the past couple of years. The good news here is that online shopping can actually be a more sustainable way to shop since it can consolidate multiple deliveries in one vehicle, rather than having multiple cars drive down to the nearest mall or grocery store. But on the downside, choosing the next-day shipping options can negate this benefit, as can ordering a ton of separate online orders. To minimize emissions from your shopping spree, consolidate as many items as you need in one order and settle for slower shipping speeds.
- Eat local.
On a similar note, another way to reduce carbon emissions during shopping is to source your foods a little closer to home. Getting your produce and grocery essentials from local farms can save a ton of greenhouse gases when compared to the necessity of shipping your foods from states (or even countries) away. Do some research on local farms and figure out what’s currently in season in your area. Exploring your local farmer’s market is a great way to do both!
- Eat green.
Sticking to plant-based diets is another major way that you can reduce your carbon emissions. After all, it takes a ton of energy and natural resources to feed and raise livestock! Because of this, plant-based diets have skyrocketed in popularity as a way to eat more sustainably. If you aren’t quite ready to give up meat and dairy completely, you can greatly reduce your impact simply by consuming less meat. Try experimenting with Meatless Mondays or limiting your meat consumption to one meal a day to make a change that adds up over time.
- Avoid disposable plastic.
Plastic waste takes forever to degrade, making it one of the biggest waste issues contributing to the pollution of our beautiful earth. It’s such a major issue that we’re dealing with a massive floating island of plastic in the Pacific Ocean and microplastics in our water supply!
Unfortunately, recycling on its own doesn’t always solve the issue, which means that we need to be more proactive about our plastic consumption from the get-go. Start by minimizing your use of single-use plastic whenever possible … and plastic water bottles, disposable cutlery, and food packaging are all major culprits. Instead, invest in reusable options (like a LARQ Water Bottle which self-cleans so you’ll actually use it regularly!) and pass up on the disposable cutlery to save the planet one drink and meal at a time.
- Change your lightbulbs.
This one’s an easy one, but it can have a lasting effect for months! Old, inefficient incandescent lightbulbs can drain your energy bill and massively increase your energy consumption. A simple solution? Switch them out with LED bulbs! An LED bulb uses up to 90% less energy than older bulbs and can outlast them by 25 times to boot.
- Say no to fast fashion.
Fast fashion companies produce cheap, trendy clothes that aren’t meant to hold up, either in quality or style, which means that those clothes eventually end up clogging landfills. Many are made with synthetic textiles and rubber, using up valuable resources that eventually end up being tossed out with the next trend cycle. More recently, there have been reports that these cheaply made clothes might harbor dangerous compounds like lead, a toxic metal that can cause serious health damage, especially in young children.
Instead, foster a long-term relationship with your clothes by investing in high-quality timeless basics and shopping with more sustainable manufacturers. A good rule of thumb: if you can’t see yourself wearing that super-trendy micro-trending piece in five years, pass on it!
- Go outside (responsibly).
Spending some time in the great outdoors is one of the best ways to celebrate Earth Day! Not only do you get to enjoy the natural beauty and wonders of our green spaces (and unplug from those electricity-draining electronics in the process), but it also serves as a stark reminder of what we stand to lose.
So part of enjoying nature responsibly is to protect it from human harm. Practice the “Leave No Trace” principle by cleaning up after yourself and leaving everything exactly as you found it, observing wildlife and beautiful flora without interfering, and minimizing your gas emissions to and from the area.
We are more aware now than ever before about how our actions can either hurt or help this planet that we call home. Making small sustainable changes and being a little more thoughtful in your daily routine can add up in a big way!