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Going Green: 6 Best Earth Day Tips

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Going Green 6 Best Earth Day Tips Whether you call it going green, saving the environment, or keeping America beautiful, the simple truth is that each of us can do a few simple things each day to reduce our consumption and waste. Yes, we accept that it’d be hard to live a zero waste life – which would be somewhere between a burden and a stretch for most of us – but Kathleen Rogers, president of the Earth Day Network, says there are a ton of easy things you can do to greenify your life.

“It’s important to give yourself perspective. It’s not about making you feel guilty,” says Rogers. “It’s about what you can do – the personal choices you can make.”

“Yes, it’s about the environment, but it’s also about your health,” she continues. “94% of our drinking water and 93% of our bottled water is full of microplastics, all of which contain chemicals that are known carcinogens. Whether it’s Diet Coke or your coffee or your drinking water – it’s got plastic in it. The study is shocking.”

One of her personal goals – and this year’s theme for the Earth Day campaign – is ending plastic pollution. “We can all have a hand in reducing plastic consumption,” says Rogers. “Not only does it take large amounts of fossil fuels to produce, it’s everywhere. It’s a human health hazard and it affects our waste-water treatment system, our wildlife species, and our appreciation of nature.”

With Earth Day just around the corner (April 22), we asked Rogers about her top tips for going green and how making small changes can have a big impact.

  1. REDUCE YOUR SINGLE-USE PLASTIC CONSUMPTION

A salad fork here, an iced coffee there, a plastic plate for your sandwich at lunch. “Single-use plastics are one of the biggest things hurting the environment,” says Rogers. And the struggle is real for her too, she admits: forgetting the reusable grocery bags. “It happens to me all the time and I get really mad at myself when I inevitably forget my 20 reusable bags at home.” Do what you can, when you can. “Find a plastics calculator and you can see how many plastic straws, plastic bags, etc. you use in a year.” Then make simple, affordable swaps like buying a refillable water bottle, turning your tattered totes into reusable grocery bags, and asking the waitress for no straw in your drink.

  1. RECYCLE WHATEVER IS POSSIBLE TO RECYCLE

“I became slavishly devoted to recycling and it’s because towns and cities made it easier for us,” Rogers says. Your workplace, your city’s curbside pickup program, cafeteria bins – this made it easier for us as consumers to reduce what hits the landfill. Yet, only an estimated 34% of recyclable items get recycled. Rogers suggests a covered trash can and good signage. “If the can is open, it’s too easy for people to toss something in there,” she says. “And make very clear signs that say, ‘Yes this. No that.’ Put a list of what goes in the garbage can and what goes in recycling.”

  1. GO LONGER BETWEEN TECH UPGRADES. AND RECYCLE THAT ANDROID PHONE PROPERLY.

Technology moves fast – and our desire for the latest and greatest more so. The phones, the redesigned cords and chargers, new Bluetooth-enabled thisthats – “it’s all e-waste, and it’s a major global problem,” says Rogers. Waiting six months to a year can slow the tide of what gets thrown out. “There are a lot of chemicals in these things: mercury, arsenic, spirillum. The list is long and it is bad. Find out where your college campus e-waste recycling program is. And if they don’t have one, lobby them.”

  1. GIVE YOUR HOUSEHOLD CLEANING ROUTINE A DETOX

DIY your Saturday chore list. “In the average household, you do not need to spray Clorox on your counters or cutting boards. A hospital, yes. Your house, no,” says Rogers. Living in a bleached world is bad for your health, she says. “Use regular soap and water. And there are so many home remedies that don’t have implications for the greater water system or your health.” Rogers recommends swapping in baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, lemons, borax, white vinegar, and salt.

  1. EMBRACE A MEATLESS MONDAY (OR 7)

“Eating mammals is one of the biggest problems on earth,” says Rogers. “Try to eat meat, especially mammals, as minimally as possible," she suggests, because of the amount of land and feed it takes to raise them. "If you do eat meat, especially chicken, buy free-range, organic because a lot of animal feed is petroleum based. Yes, it is a little more expensive.” And she recommends buying local produce at farmer’s markets because of the distance it travels (unlike your Mexican blueberries) and because it is more likely to be organic. And what of us in colder regions like New England or the Midwest? “The alternative is buying organic in the winter, especially berries, because they absorb more of the pesticides.”

  1. TWEET AND SNAPCHAT YOUR GOING GREEN WANTS

“Individuals can make a difference,” says Rogers. The most effective tool? It's right in your hand, she says. Tweet your favorite companies, email your university president, or call your town council and ask them to make changes.

For information about Earth Day events and more easy ways to go green, head to EarthDay.org. What are your favorite hacks, swaps, and tips for going green? Meet us over on Facebook and share your Earth Day tips.

 

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