20 Eco-Friendly Tips to Reduce Your Impact on the Environment

planet Earth

April 22 marks the 44th annual celebration of Earth Day. (Photo credit: Digital Vision/Getty Images)

April 22 marks the 44th annual Earth Day celebration. Earth Day was originally established by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to bring environmental issues to the forefront of the national agenda. Up to that time, there existed little to no legal or regulatory mechanisms to protect the environment.

Later that year, President Richard Nixon called for the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. On December 4, 1970, William Ruckelshaus was sworn in as the agency’s first administrator. A growing interest in protecting the nations air and water led to the enactment of the Clean Air Act in 1970 and the Clean Water Act in 1972.

In the more than 40 years since the establishment of Earth Day, much has changed in the way that environmental issues are handled in the United States and other countries around the world. However, as the human population continues to grow, Earth’s resources will continue to be depleted. Living sustainably that is, living in a way such that human needs are met while protecting Earth’s resources, so that a human population can survive indefinitely is key to the long-term survival of human life on Earth. Following are 20 tips to help you reduce your impact on the environment.

1. Bring your own bags to the grocery store. If you’re only picking up a couple of items that can easily be carried, forego a bag all together.

2. Remember the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. If your school doesn’t have a recycling program, find out what it would take to implement one.

3. Conserving energy is important. Remember to turn off the lights when you leave a room. Unplug chargers or electronic devices that are not in use.

4. When meeting up with friends, carpool rather than driving individual cars.

5. Be aware of how items are packaged.Buying items with the least amount of packaging helps to keep waste out of landfills.

6. To reduce your water use, turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth and take shorter showers.

7. If you bring your lunch to school, use a reusable container.

8. Encourage your family to reduce your household energy use by placing your thermostat on a lower setting in the winter and on a higher setting in the summer.

9. Reduce the amount of paper you use by printing on both sides of a sheet of paper. Re-use paper printed on one side by using the opposite side as scrap paper. Remember to recycle paper after you are done with it.

10. Dispose of leftover paint, chemicals, batteries, or electronic devices properly. Many cities have special collection dates for these types of items, or have a designated site where these items can be dropped off.

11. When helping out with the chores, don’t run the laundry machine or dishwasher until the machines are fully loaded.

12. Replace incandescent lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Be sure to dispose of CFLs properly.

13. Use a reusable water bottle rather than disposable water bottles. Staying hydrated is important, and so is keeping unnecessary trash out of the landfill. If you don’t like the taste of tap water, invest in a faucet-mounted filter or a water pitcher with a filter.

14. Take public transit, walk, or bike to your destination whenever possible.

15. Start a compost pile with your household waste. Compost is an excellent source of soil for gardening projects.

16. If you have the yard space, consider growing a garden. In addition to growing your own food, you could also plant flowering plants that provide food resources for and attract bees, monarch butterflies, birds, and other animals.

17. Consult Seafood Watch before ordering or buying seafood.

18. Reduce the amount of junk mail your family receives by opting out.

19. Get a houseplant. Studies indicate that houseplants help to remove pollutants from the air, increase room moisture, and can even help to improve your mood.

20. Seek out a volunteer opportunity to support an environmental issue that is important to you.

More to Explore
Earth Day 2014
Earth Day Events and Volunteer Opportunities
Environmental Tips and Sustainable Solutions
Earth Day Network

What do you think? What tips would you add to this list? Are you planning any special events for Earth Day? Share in the comments!

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