Where are you on the personal eco-activism scale? Full on Earth-warrior, or perhaps completely unaware that being aware of the environment is even a thing? No matter where you fall, we want to meet you where you’re at with 52 things you can do for Earth Day (or EVERY day) that cost $0.
Beginner Level (no shame)
- Go outside. Literally just spend 1 minute outdoors with your eyes closed and smell the air, feel the sun and hear the birds.
- Identify some things in your life that you know are wasteful & leave the list somewhere you’ll see it often. This will be a gentle reminder to yourself to create less waste.
- Subscribe to an eco-friendly lifestyle newsletter or podcast. There are hundreds; take your pick!
- Follow an eco-account on social media so that inspiring info pops up in your feed. Search hashtags like #livegreen or #sustainableliving to find accounts that speak to your aesthetic.
- Make a list of your favorite animals and take some time to learn an interesting fact about them.
- Look at travel blogs or Instagram accounts. Pick some places you’d like to go in real life.
- Look at the tags in your clothing - take note of where your clothes are made and what they are made of. The closer the place to you the better, and the more natural the fiber the better. If it comes from a country you can’t visualize on a map, or is made from something you can’t pronounce, keep that in mind next time you go shopping.
- Think of something that you’ve been wanting, and see if that’s something you can borrow instead.
- Share this list with someone you know, or on social media.
- Continue reading this list and highlight something in each category that you want to do!
Every Day Basics
- Don’t leave the water running when not in use - like while you’re brushing your teeth.
- Recycle your glass and plastic. There’s no reason these items should go in the trash. Hello, it's 2020!
- Reuse things! Turn that tin can into a planter, that wine bottle into a vase.
- Stop using paper towels & start using cloth rags. Any old item of clothing, towel or sheet can be turned into a rag or dropcloth.
Stock up on reusable bags - keep them at home, in your car & at work, so that you always have one available.
In The Kitchen & At Home
- Switch to cloth napkins. Leave one at work & in your car so you have one when you’re on the go. You can even make your own by cutting up some absorbent fabric you have lying around, like old dish towels or table cloths. Maybe even an old t-shirt!
- Buy whole veggies & fruit. Pre-cut produce is always packaged in plastic and often contains preservatives.
- Water your lawn at night so the water can seep in. If you water it during the day, more of it will evaporate & the light reflection will burn the leaves/petals.
- Skip plastic wrap and use aluminum foil or waxed paper instead. Go a step further & wrap your foods in bees wrap or butchers paper instead of foil or plastic wrap. Or use glass or metal containers and skip the wraps whenever possible. Not to keep self-promoting, but our Sustainable Living Collection has lots of great substitutions to get you inspired.
- Bake! Bake cookies or bread, or both! Freeze what you don’t need right now. When you bake from scratch you’re skipping all that wasteful food packaging at the store.
- Use reusable produce bags. If you’re already using reusable grocery bags, this is a very simple switch. Plus they're a cinch to sew yourself from scrap fabrics.
- Open the blinds! During the day, try to use lights less frequently. Let the sun do the work.
- Water your house plants with gray water. I keep a pitcher next to my sink and anytime I pour out an unfinished glass of water or swap out my pet’s drinking water, I pour that “gray” water (aka, not fresh water) into the pitcher. Every few days I water my plants with it!
- In the summer, Turn of your AC at night and open the windows and/or use a fan instead.
- In the winter, use a space heater to heat the room you are in. Keep the rest of your house or office at a base temp of 62.
- Use Castille soap to make your own hand, dish and household cleaners. Just ignore all the religiosity on the bottle; the soap goes a long way and will help you avoid buying plastic bottles, and a bunch of different products, every few months.
- Save & recycle your food wrappers. Every couple months, drop off your wrappers to a Terracycle collection bin - you can currently find them at Subaru dealerships. We also have a collection bin at cinder + salt for food wrappers, yay!
- In the summer, employ a clothesline to dry your clothes, instead of a dryer.
- Recycle plastic bags at the grocery store or big box stores like Target. You can also recycle plastic wrap (that comes on paper towels) or cereal & crackers bags. If you cut the labels of plastic shipping pouches, they can go in there too!
On The Go :
- Got too many tote bags? Share! Give a bag to someone in need.
- Bring your own to-go containers when you got out to eat
- Choose to use public transportation when available. Trust us, making a conscious choice is the first part of implementing a change in your routine. Just make the choice to shift your behavior and eventually it will become second nature.
- Plan your errands so you can take less trips.
- Plan your meals so you can make less trips to the store and use the food you have, rather than wasting what you forgot you had!
- Consider how you will dispose of the packaging on a product, before you buy that product. Is there a similar item that has less packaging?
- Make your own beeswax food wrap.
- Start composting, or look up local compost services for when you are ready to start recycling your food waste.
- Make a list of locally owned restaurants in your town - aim to eat at those establishments instead of chain restaurants when you go out. The food will probably be better and you will keep your money in your local economy.
- Live near Middletown CT? Check out our eco-initiatives, like clean waste collection bins. If you live a bit further away, use our resources to live more green!
During Your Free (Fun) Time
- Register to attend an eco event - networking, volunteering, educational doesn’t matter. Surround yourself with others who are also trying to be more eco-aware.
- Share your things! Share your clothes, kid’s toys, books or eco-tips with your friends & neighbors. Less consumption is key!
- Learn how to sew. Sewing will help you repair broken items so that you can continue to use them.
- Share your green-living progress with friends & family.
- Learn how to make a fire without using lighter fluid or burning things you shouldn’t burn. Hello fatwood!
- Register to volunteer with a nonprofit focused on protecting the Earth. A great place to start would be national organizations with local chapters, such as the Nature Conservancy or Surf Rider.
- Look up nonprofits who’s missions interest you and follow them on social media.
- Having a party? Use real plates and utensils whenever possible, even if that means doing the dishes after a party. #youcandoit #webelieveinyou
- Donate your old clothes and belongings to nonprofits in need, like The Goodwill and My Sister’s Place.
- Throw less stuff in the trash - sounds easy but it can be difficult. Ask yourself, do I really need to throw this away, or is there a better way to get rid of it (compost, donate, recycle, reuse)?
- Bored? Learn something. If you have access to the internet, there’s no limit to what you can learn. Fun things to search : endangered species, interesting ocean facts, how much trash is there on Earth…. See where those take you!
- Pick up litter! That’s right, have a DIY street, beach or trail clean-up. Grab some gloves and a bucket (or trash bag) and just pick up trash on the side of your road, in your local park or around your town.
See how easy it can be to go green? Just pick one thing on this list and be on your way!
Remember, a sustainable lifestyle isn't all-or-nothing. Do what you can; what works with your life, and be ok with that. The key is to actually try.
Leave a comment to let us know what steps you're taking in 2020 to green your lifestyle. EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS!
Links in this blog post to products, websites & social accounts are chosen at random and are not in any way endorsed by or are paid advertisers of cinder + salt.