Earth Day…The Eco-Friendly Ways for Every Day!
As many of you may know…or maybe you don’t, I’m a big advocate for helping protect our planet…even when it’s not Earth Day!
Truly, every day should be Earth Day as far as I’m concerned. Lately, it seems to me that our planet is not too happy with the way we’ve been treating it. Massive, devastating earthquakes and tsunamis, randomly erupting volcanoes, and how about those destructive hurricanes the last few years? Are you seeing a trend here? I am. Mother Earth is mad and apparently, she’s retaliating, which is why it’s really important to do the best we can to protect what’s left of her!
Getting into being more eco-friendly can be a lot of fun. It can open your eyes up to products you never knew existed and teach you tricks you never knew could be useful. (Be on the look out for a republishing I will put up from The Makeup Girl on Eco-Friendly Fashion & Beauty soon!!)
Here are my top 10 things to do that help me “go green”:
1. Buy a reusable water bottle.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I lug around a 40 oz Klean Kanteen filled to the brim with me where ever I go. Klean Kanteen water bottles are made from high quality, 18/8, food-grade stainless steel – a metal superior in both strength and safety that contains no harmful chemicals or toxins. Plus they come in a bunch of different sizes, shapes and colors–and several different cap options! Carrying around a reusable water bottle is not only good for the environment (because now the plastic bottles of water you would consume aren’t ending up in a landfill) but I also find that it helps me to drink more water…which is good for you! (P.S. I used to work in a water treatment lab…and tap water and bottled water are the same thing!!!)
If you are still addicted to bottled water, the least you can do is toss them into the recycling bin instead of the trash.
2. Buy reusable shopping bags (or recycle the ones you get at the store)
Reusable shopping bags are really great because most of the time they’re easier to carry than traditional shopping bags and they save waste since they are not being tossed in the trash! Some grocery stores like Whole Foods offer incentives like 10 cents off your groceries for every bag you bring use; Trader Joe’s gives you a raffle ticket to win a $25 shopping spree for every reusable bag you bring in and use! The hardest thing about reusable shopping bags for me, is remembering to take them to the store with me. If I have to get traditional shopping bags, I try to make sure I use them a few more times before trashing them (and then recycle them when I do).
3. Make your home more eco-friendly
By switching to energy-efficient appliances and fixtures like EnergyStar and a Niagara Conservation’s Earth Massage shower head. Also, did you know they make toilets called HET toilets that use less H2O when they flush? Even something as simple as switching your old light bulbs to energy-efficient light bulbs can make an impact.
4. Do you drive a car?
Most Americans do, but I rely on mass transit since I’ve moved to NYC. I take the subway to get me where I need to go on a day-to-day basis or a I walk. Did you know that about 700,000 people in NYC take the bus or the subway every day? That means 700,000 cars are kept off of NYC’s streets, helping to prevent traffic and it also means 400 million fewer pounds of soot, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and other toxic substances released each year into the city’s air. (Source mta.info) Crazy, right? If your city doesn’t offer mass transit, you can always consider switching to a hybrid, carpooling with a friend, or riding a bike!
5. Don’t let the water run!
The easiest way to conserve is to not let the water run unnecessarily. You should let your tap run for about 5-15 seconds (until it becomes cold) every day the first time you are using it; after that it’s unnecessary. Shut the water off when you brush your teeth and try to reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower by 5 minutes. By doing this, you can save over 150 gallons of water a month, which is not only good for the environment, but also great for your water bill! My favorite “sexy” water-conservation tip comes from Cosmopolitan Online’s Zoe Ruderman, who says to shower with your man (or your girl) to save H2O!
6. Host a clothing swap
Your “trash” is someone else’s treasure. Host a clothing swap with your girls and ask them to bring all the clothes they don’t want anymore. Hang everyone’s clothes up and “shop” like you would in a boutique! Once everyone has decided on their “purchase”, designate a bag for donation and bring it to your local rescue mission. You can even earn a little cash by bringing your leftovers to a consignment shop like Plato’s Closet and voila! Everyone has a new wardrobe without spending a dime!
Plant a tree. Okay, that sounds so hippy-ish. But seriously, planting a tree not only helps trap CO2 (a major greenhouse gas that destroys the ozone layer) but also can help prevent soil erosion and reduce noise pollution (trees absorb sound waves). You can also plant your own garden, which provides free and delicious veggies and fruits all summer long and helps the environment!
8. Recycle your makeup
Did you know that several different beauty brands offer incentives for recycling your old makeup compacts? MAC Cosmetics has offered my favorite recycling program for years! Any day of the year, not just Earth Day, you can exchange 6 empty (or almost empty) MAC compacts of any kind (blush, eyeshadow, gloss…etc) for a brand new lipstick (except for Viva Glam), in the color of your choice. Pretty sweet deal, huh?
9. Use a travel-mug
Just like a reusable water bottle, a travel-mug is a great asset for coffee and tea lovers who frequent a coffee shop. Did you know that you can bring a travel mug into any Starbucks Coffee and they will fill it and give you 10 cents off your order! If you drink two cups a day, that’ll save you $73.00/year! Not bad…and those paper cups that you toss into the office trash aren’t going into a landfill.
Did you know that you can compost almost anything? From biodegradable paper towels, to banana peels, to coffee grounds! Make a pile behind your house and turn it over every other day. Best of all…that compost is awesome fertilizer for that garden or tree you just planted! (Tip #7!) You can learn more about how to make your own compost here!
So just remember, it doesn’t have to be Earth Day for you to make little changes in your life that help towards making a big impact on our planet! Hope you enjoy these tips and please, comment and leave more “green” tips if you have them!