If you’re looking to take action and start helping the environment but don’t know where to start, we have five easy ways you can get started today! It may not seem like a lot, but every small gesture goes a long way. From DIYs at home to volunteering, there’s something on this list that you can do to help our planet. Bonus points if you get someone else involved!
#1: Start Recycling
If you’re environmentally conscious, you probably already sort your metals, plastics, and papers out. Even if you don’t, some trash pick-up companies do it on their end. However, they often miss smaller items, resulting in millions of pounds of recyclable materials being poured into landfills across the United States. Recyclable items like metals and plastics don’t decompose quickly and pile up at an alarming rate. Ask your trash company if they have a recycling program you can contribute to if you haven’t already. Many companies will have additional receptacles or labeled bags and bins for you to pre-sort your recyclables into. If they don’t have one, don’t worry! Many places accept aluminum cans, and plastics and paper can be donated to schools and churches for projects.
#2: Clean up your neighborhood!
In a perfect world, everyone would throw their trash away and recycle each applicable item. Sadly, there are still many people that throw their trash out of the window of their vehicles. Grab a trash bag and a set of gloves and scour the neighborhood for trash items. This helps flora and fauna thrive and keeps your local area clean. Many communities have also partnered with local governments to “Adopt A Road” and are committed to cleaning the length of a highway or other high-traffic areas nearby. Ask around and find out if you can become part of the project or get one started!
#3: Ride your bike to work!
By changing the habit of always using your car to get where you are going, you can help reduce carbon emissions. These emissions pollute our environment and are rapidly changing the climate. Riding a bike is an eco-friendly way to make a small difference, and small differences add up. Many communities have designated bike paths, so be sure to chart a bike-friendly trail to your destination and always wear a helmet! You can also ride your bicycle to the grocery store if you own a trailer to hitch to it. Any reduction of carbon emissions is helpful, so before you leave the house, stop for a moment and think if you can get to your destination on your own leg power.
#4: Pick up an eco-friendly hobby!
By using trash and recyclable items to create something new, you’re keeping waste out of landfills, and you’ll have unique art to show for it. Plastic bags can be turned into plarn and be used in fiber arts, while metal items can be made into all sorts of fun and artsy objects like statues and wall decorations. Want something more specific? Take small plastic toys and glue them around the edges of a mirror. This makes a fun statement piece for a child’s bedroom!
#5: Replace your paper products with reusable materials!
The Paperless Project reports that paper towels lead to 254 million tons of trash each year globally, and making one ton of paper towels takes 20,000 gallons of water and 17 trees. By replacing paper towels with a sustainable alternative, such as reusable paper towels made of fiber, you can help cut down on this type of waste. There are many different kinds to choose from, and you can find them on Etsy and Amazon. Most of them snap together so you can still have them on your paper towel roll!