On April 22, we celebrate Earth Day. There was a saying in the 90s which I took to heart when I heard it : “Every day should be Earth Day”. I totally agree. While I am certainly a work in progress when it comes to living a completely environmentally-friendly lifestyle, we do our best to do our part to take care of our home planet. I read an article recently about a woman who produces almost no trash. I really admire this and wish it was an easier goal for more of society to reach for. That is obviously an extreme, but it’s very admirable.
In our family, we try to make daily choices that will hopefully help the environment in a small way. I am trying to set a good example for my daughter. We only get one planet and I want her generation and the generations beyond her to have it around for a while. There are obviously some major changes our country and others need to do to help the environment, but that is beyond the scope of this post. Here are some small things your family can do to help the environment.
- Recycle. We are fortunate to live in an area with curbside pickup. We reuse whatever plastic bags we have (although I try to keep them to a minimum, but I will get to that in a second) and they can also be dropped off at recycling centers at grocery stores, etc. Often our recycling bin is much fuller than our trash. I throw whatever I can in there, down to toilet and paper towel tubes. I have been known to dig through the trash if my husband threw something in there he shouldn’t have!
- Compost. We haven’t made this leap yet but it would definitely help reduce our trash. We eat a lot of produce and this is definitely something I need to look into. I wish we lived in a city with curbside compost service, as that would make it much easier. Maybe one day we will.
- Buy (and use!) reusable bags. This, to me, is so important and easy. Honestly I wish plastic bags would no longer be available in stores and some cities are moving towards this goal. I keep my reusable bags in my car and use them every week at the grocery store, Target, etc. I also use reusable produce bags. Yes, I do get some weird looks with those here and there! But they do reduce my consumption of plastic bags. No, I am not perfect in this regard, but I really do make an effort to use my reusable grocery bags rather than rely on paper or plastic. I would like to live in a world where taking a plastic bag home from the store is the exception rather than the norm.
- Bring your own coffee cup to Starbucks. I keep a few in my car (one for cold drinks and one for hot). I try to use them.
- Bring your own towel to the gym. This supposedly saves many gallons of water, at least for the gym. I will be honest, I am not so good about this one. But I am going to get better! I promise!
- Use a water filter instead of bottled water.
- Use bar instead of liquid soap and use refillable containers (rather than the small travel sized disposable ones) when you travel.
- Generally think about using things to their capacity and/or passing them on to someone who can use them, rather than throwing them away.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room, turn off the TV if you aren’t watching it, air dry your clothes, watch your AC and heat settings (sometimes easier said than done here in AZ, especially when it comes to the AC!) are all examples of things you can do to reduce your electricity use and bill! Many Arizonans install solar panels which is a great use of a natural resource.
- To save water, take shorter showers, turn off the faucet when you are brushing your teeth, invest in a low flow toilet, and run your washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full.
- Finally, consider canceling catalogs you don’t need and opt out of some junk mail. Try to do some or all of your banking and bill paying online.
These suggestions of daily habits just scratch the surface of what you can do to help.
What are some things your family does to help the environment? Let us know what small and large changes you have made.