16 Ways To Make It Earth Day Every Day! #EarthDay

16 Tips For Earth Day

I've always been conscious about the state of the planet, however, now that I have a child, I REALLY try to incorporate green living in everything; from eating, to cleaning, to limiting waste and overall consumption. It's imperative that I do all I can to reduce our carbon footprint. 

Below are a few tips I think are easy and eye-openers to not only what we can do, but how easy it is to live green! Without further ado, 16 Ways Celebrate Earth Day Every Day.

1. Avoid the "vampire effect." Even when not turned on, an electronic appliance that is plugged into a power source still draws energy. The Department of Energy estimates that America wastes 5% of electricity on the vampire effect. Unplug all unnecessary appliances, or consider using devices like Belkin's Conserve Energy-Saving Products that automatically eliminate the vampire effect.

2. Shower smarter. The average showerhead spits out 2.5 gallons of water per minute. That means that a person who takes a 10-minute shower every morning uses over 9,000 gallons of water a year. Cut back by installing a shower head that is EPA approved. Look for the Water Sense seal of approval. Products like Evolve's Roadrunner shower head, which flows at only 1.5 gallons per minute and conserves hot water until you are actually ready to shower.

3. ONLY run your dishwasher when it's full and STOP prewashing. Most modern dishwashers don't need you to rinse the plates before putting them in. "That just wastes water."

4. When away, drop the shades. Sun streaming through windows heats up space and makes an air conditioner work harder. During the day, especially when you are away, drop the shades!

5. STOP E-Waste. Did you know, when electronics are exposed to high heat, they release toxic chemicals into the air, water, and ground? This happens every day in landfills. Before throwing electronics away, try selling old electronics on websites like Gazelle.com or disposing of them at proper locations around your city.

6. Shop Sustainable- By now, you have heard of the trend to move to use Bamboo as a substitute whenever possible for wood. Also consider Natural home products like, stainless Steel which minimizes emissions by increasing its reuse and recyclability levels; Organic Cotton supports biodiversity and healthy ecosystems; Recycled Glass, simple; just reuse, reduce and recycle; and Cork promotes economic and social development in areas prone to desertification.

7. Recycle Old Clothes- If you've got something worn, torn, or hopelessly out of style – don't throw it away or let it pile up in the back of your closet. Bring it to your nearest H&M and help decrease the amount of fashion being wasted. Seriously, they will take bags of ripped, torn, and stained clothes! For each bag of clothes or home textiles you hand in, you will receive a voucher with a discount for your next purchase. 

 There are three ways H&M repurposes unwanted garments:

  • Rewear – clothing that can be worn again will be sold as second-hand clothes
  • Reuse – old clothes and textiles will be turned into other products, such as cleaning cloths.
  • Recycle – everything else is turned into textile fibers, or other use such as insulation.
8. Fill the freezer: Don't let your freezer run half-empty. It's more expensive to run it while empty. TIP: Fill an old milk container with water if necessary to keep the freezer "full." That will make your machine a little more efficient. While you're at it, clean the coils behind the appliance for even more of an efficiency boost.

9. Meat-free Mondays: Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide. Not only that, but an estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water also go into making a single pound of beef.

10. Bulb swap: According to the EPA, if every American home replaced just one conventional light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes a year. 

11. Wash clothes in cold water and use the fastest spin speed available - Today's clothes washers and detergents are designed to effectively clean clothes in cold water. So skip the hot water waste. TIP: If you have a front-loading washer, select the highest spin speed, which will remove more of the moisture from your clothes, so your dryer won't have to work as hard! 

12. Upgrade the aerators on your kitchen and bathroom sinks - If you have an older faucet, install a new water-efficient aerator for under $5, and you can cut its water use by up to 40 percent. Simply unscrew the current one on the tip of your faucet and replace it with one that uses no more than 1.8 gallons per minute for the kitchen faucet and 1.2 gallons per minute for the one on your bathroom sink. You probably won't notice the difference, but your water bill will. Check with your local water agency as some provide efficient aerators free or at low cost.

It's really as simple as unscrewing the old aerator, and then screwing the new one back on!
13. Turn off your furnace when the cold weather ends - Like many other modern appliances, furnaces use electricity even when they're not operating. According to a Home Energy article, many furnaces draw 8 to 12 watts of standby power 24/7 when not in use. To eliminate this waste during the six or more months when you don't need heat, switch off the power to the furnace.

14. Donate Dollars To The Game Changers- One of the easiest ways to show our planet some love is to support the organizations that are promoting change and making a difference on a large scale. Here are a few respected organizations:

The Wildlife Conservation Network
The Sierra Club
The Conservation Fund
Orca Network

15. Compost!  I know composting sounds like a lot of work, and for those of you who don't even have a yard or house plant, really can't see the point, but hear me out. All you need is a composting bin, that traps odors, amongst other things, and then start throwing your scraps away. Your compost will save thousands of pounds of waste from going into landfills, and help return much-needed nutrients to the soil. Chances are, your city has a place you can take your compost if you don't need it.

16. When You Clean, Go Green If there is one thing all parents have in common, it's that we clean up messes. Lots of them. Daily. So imagine if all of us were using two to three paper towels or disposable wipes for each mess... Scary to think about! That's like a forest a minute! (Ok, not really. Or maybe?) No, wait!  It gets worse...Various household cleaning agents can contain toxic chemicals like ammonia, phosphorus, alkylphenol ethoxylates, and petroleum. So when you wash your clothes, do the dishes and even flush toilet bowl cleaner, you may be sending these chemicals back into the water supply affecting the environment and wildlife too! 

If you have any tips to share, please add them in the comments below. Happy Earth Day 2018! 

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com