Earth Day is celebrated every April 22, the start of the spring season. This annual celebration originated with the goal of educating Americans about environmental conservation, but today it’s celebrated around the world. Earth Day honors the various achievements of the environmental movement and raises awareness about growing and changing environmental concerns. Having a day devoted to environmental awareness is important, but it’s what’s done on a daily basis that really makes a difference. If you want to do your part to protect the environment, start with these 10 tips to make every day Earth Day.
Recycle – Recycling is second nature in some households, but many homes and businesses across the U.S. have yet to begin or fully take advantage of this basic environmental practice. If you’re not already doing so, create bins to separate your glass, plastic, paper, aluminum, and other recyclables. Many neighborhoods offer recycling pick-up services, or you may need to bag up your recycling and drive it to a local recycling center. Some centers even pay for your aluminum.
- Air seal your home – Air sealing your home is one of many ways you can save energy every day. A simple part of weatherizing your home, air sealing involves “plugging” any places where air can get in or out of your home, typically with insulation. Because air sealing helps save energy, you won’t just help the environment; you’ll also reduce your utility bill.
Adjust your thermostat – Everyone wants their home to be comfortable, but heating and cooling costs are among the highest energy expenditures in most homes. Because of this, dialing up or down by just one or two degrees can make a big different in your energy usage and your utility bill. Most likely you won’t even notice the difference, but if you do, try using more blankets or adjusting your clothing.
- Turn on the fan – If dialing up the thermostat has left you feeling a little stifled, try utilizing a fan or ceiling fan. Fans use much less energy than central air because they focus on a smaller area, but they can make the air around you feel several degrees cooler.
- Close empty rooms – If some rooms in your home aren’t regularly used, such as the rooms of kids who’ve gone off to college, you’re wasting energy by keeping them heated or cooled. Shut the doors and close the vents to save energy.
Take advantage of the sun – Solar panels are one way to harness the sun’s energy, but you don’t have to undergo the expense of installing them in order to take advantage of the sun. Harness the sun and save energy by keeping your shades open during the winter to let the sun’s rays help heat your home. Or, any time of year, turn the lights out during the day and open the shades to utilize the natural light.
- Cook smarter – You can save energy and make every day Earth Day by cooking smarter. When cooking on the stove top, using lids on pots keeps heat from escaping and reduces cooking time. When using the oven, save energy by cooking together those foods with similar temperature requirements. Cooking in bulk and refrigerating or freezing leftovers can also save energy and money.
- Be a better dishwasher – If you have a dishwasher, you’ll save energy if you always wait until it’s full to run it. You might also designate at least a few nights a week as “hand washing” nights, when your family washes dishes by hand to save energy. Either way, always aim to use as little hot water as possible when washing dishes.
- Laundry tips – Unfortunately, laundry is a household task you can’t avoid, but you can save energy by using cold-water detergent, always doing full loads of laundry, and air-drying your clothes whenever possible.
- Get your community involved – The proceeding tips focus on ways to make every day Earth Day in your home, but you don’t have to stop with your household. Earth Day is all about education, so starting neighborhood or community awareness groups to tackle important area environmental concerns is a great way to make every day Earth Day.