Earth day is a day that was created with the intention of inspiring awareness and appreciation for our planet. On earth day everyone is encouraged to turn off their lights (candle light dinner, anyone?) and conserve as many resources as possible. If we could close our eyes and make one giant wish for our amazing planet, it would be for all of us to find a way to help honor our planet on a daily basis (and not just on Earth day). Here are some simple habits you can adopt to help “be the change” that our Earth so desperately needs:
1. Recycle: It is estimated that over 75% of trash is recyclable. Can you guess what percentage currently gets recycled? A mere 30%, which leaves us with a lot of opportunity to recycle more!
2. Re-use: When we think of this concept, the first thing that comes to our minds is “grocery bags”. The average American goes through 6 grocery bags per week and there are roughly 300 million of us, so that equates to BILLIONS of bags per week (Yes, per week. Eeek!). Plastic bags take roughly 15 to 1000 years to decompose and in a compressed landfill, biodegradable paper bags can come close to that. We can do our part by not contributing any more grocery bags to landfills by simply using reusable grocery bags. Wanna expand this concept beyond your grocery bags? Try reusable sandwich bags, produce bags and glass Tupperware, which can easily last you a lifetime.
3. Compost Your Food Scraps: Americans generate approximately 21.5 MILLION tons of food waste every year. If we composted that food instead of tossing it, it would reduce the same amount of greenhouse gas as taking 2 million cars off the road. Wowza!
4. Buy in Bulk Buying in bulk prevents a significant amount of packaging from filling up our landfills each year. And that’s not all- The manufacture of paper and cardboard used for packaging takes trees away rom our forests, contaminates our streams and uses insane amounts of energy, resulting in huge amounts of CO2 emissions in our atmosphere.
5. Drive Less: Consider carpooling, walking or biking to work. These options are much more eco-friendly than driving. For example, if 100 people carpooled every day, upwards of 1320 pounds of carbon monoxide and 2,376,000 pounds of carbon dioxide could be removed from the air. And that’s not all! In addition to that, tons of greenhouse gases could be prevented from being pumped into the air!
6. Limit Your Lighting: Turning off lights that aren’t being used is a simple and effective way to save energy. By doing this, you can save 10-20% off of your monthly electric bill, which means that you could save some Benjamins while saving the Earth. Sounds like a win-win to us!
7. Offset Your Emissions: The average American’s total carbon footprint is an astounding 50,000 pounds per year! This includes emissions from cars, homes, air travel- basically everything used. In addition to conserving energy, the best way to offset your own carbon footprint is through reforestation (aka. plating trees). There are a number of organizations that you can donate to who dedicate their funding to planting trees to offset carbon dioxide emissions and protect our earth from the threat of climate change. The average cost per person to offset emissions for a whole year is roughly $250.
Happy Earth Day!