April 22 is Earth Day. Try some of these easy ideas to change your routine and make it gentler on our world’s resources.
Make it greener: Whether it’s a flowering bush, veggies, herbs or a tree, adding flora to your yard is good for both the air and the soil. Bonus: Strategically placed shrubs, trees and vines can also help you reduce your heating and cooling costs.
Get back on the saddle: Think of a few car trips you can replace with a bike ride. To make getting around a bit easier, invest in a rack and a set of saddle bags.
Do a home energy audit: Examine your home from top to bottom to discover and seal off air leaks. Save even more by finding energy vampires in your house, and then cut off the power when these are not in use with a power strip.
Install better lighting: Prepare for the next light-bulb burnout and purchase a set of LED bulbs suited for various fixtures in your home.
Reduce the waste stream: Shopping bags, water bottles and commuter mugs are classic cutbacks on disposables, but don’t stop there. Look for other opportunities. Bring a set of dishes to work for carry-in days, and try cleaning with washable and reusable cloth rags.
Honor the roots: The original Earth Day festivities saw 20 million people across the U.S. turn out for local and campus events. Keep the tradition and find out what’s happening in your town this April 22. Whether you take in an hour-long seminar on renewable energy or give your time to park cleanup, using the time to learn and get involved are very much in the spirit of the day!
Enjoy the outdoors: Head over to a natural area, soak in the spring sunshine and enjoy the sights and sounds your corner of the planet has to offer. Even better, find a place that’s new to you, whether it’s an amble down the river or a hike in a state park.
Stop “wish-cycling”: If you have single-stream recycling at your home, take a few minutes to review your carrier’s policy. Recycling centers spend lots of time removing (and tossing) old drinking glasses, plastic toys, garden hoses and other items that people wish were recyclable, but aren’t.
Know your numbers: With the warmer weather comes spring cleaning. Many locales have restrictions on hazardous waste dumping, which means those half-empty paint cans, waste oil, dead batteries and broken electronics shouldn’t be stuffed in your trash receptacle (or poured down the drain). Today’s a good day to hop online and learn about your local hazardous waste facility. Bookmark the site for future reference.
Check out a sunroof: Explore the possibilities of solar panels. With federal tax incentives scheduled to sunset, now’s the time to give this project some serious thought. A great place to start is a relatively new online tool called Project Sunroof. Simply enter your address, and you’ll get tons of information, starting with your annual savings estimate (or costs) with solar panels.
Calculate your carbon footprint: Hop online and answer some questions that cover your home energy usage, transportation methods and how you handle your home waste. Along with the instant readout on how much carbon your family produces every year, you’ll get plenty of strategies on how to trim it back.
Share freely: Whatever it is you do to mark Earth Day, be sure and share your Earth-friendly deeds on social media. You just might strike a chord in some of your friends and family members and inspire them to also take steps to make our world a better place!