Make these Earth Day tips part of your daily routine—you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to save the planet in little ways every day.

By Alex Richards
Updated April 15, 2019
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Earth Day is April 22 every year. On this day, people around the United States celebrate the planet and tout the Earth Day facts they’ve learned. Learning how to recycle and posting pictures of the recycle symbol is well and good, but so is taking extra steps that last long beyond Earth Day—steps such as pursuing a zero waste lifestyle or committing to practicing Earth Day tips every day of the year.

Recycling and maintaining a comprehensive recycling system is one way to practice Earth Day tips every day, but there’s more to be done—and these tips outline nine little ways almost anyone can treat every day like Earth Day. Every little bit helps reduce harm to the planet, and small changes can add up to a major impact. Start these tips this Earth Day and keep following them; you might be surprised how easy it is.

1
Stop using plastic—seriously.

Plastic in landfills can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, and more than 300 million metric tons of plastic are produced each year, about half of which is destined to be used only once. To cut back on plastics, ditch the disposable plastic bottle and carry a cute reusable water bottle instead, bring cloth totes to the supermarket (not plastic bags), use bar soap (rather than liquid), and buy grocery items packaged in glass—all easy steps toward a zero waste lifestyle. If you’ve got to use plastic, cardboard, or other recyclable materials, always be sure to recycle them or use zero waste disposal options to remove them responsibly.

2
Order the veggie burger.

Did you know that nearly one-fifth of man-made greenhouse gas emissions (which help drive climate change) are generated by the meat industry? Start by experimenting with vegetarian mains on Meatless Monday, and see if you can kick it up a notch from there.

3
Look for the Fair Trade label.

Buying Fair Trade products—from food to clothing and home goods—means supporting a global movement of sustainability that emphasizes empowering local farmers and workers and improving their labor conditions. Fair Trade also includes efforts toward fair pricing and distribution: paying people well to produce goods in a way that doesn't deplete natural resources.

4
Use food scraps to grow more food.

Rather than toss your fruit and veggie scraps into the kitchen trash can, deposit them in a compost bin and turn your waste into nutrient-rich soil. Then plant some herbs and veggies and watch your garden flourish!

5
Leave the car keys on the hook.

Transportation methods (including cars) are responsible for nearly 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., so before you peel out of the driveway, consider walking, biking, taking the bus or train, or finding someone to carpool with to reduce your contribution to that number.

6
Become a water watcher.

We use about 80-100 gallons of water a day. Little lifestyle tweaks like choosing a short shower over a bath, turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, and only running the dishwasher and washing machine when they’re full can go a long way in reducing your water consumption—and making sure we've got enough for the future.

7
Buy new light bulbs.

Replacing a traditional incandescent light bulb with an energy efficient CFL or LED bulb can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Spend money now, save in the long run: Energy-efficient bulbs need to be changed less frequently, and they reduce waste and pollution. (Gentle reminder: Always turn off the lights when you leave a room.)

8
Dress for the season.

Instead of turning up the thermostat in winter, be more energy efficient by grabbing a sweatshirt. Likewise, come summer, wear shorts and a t-shirt indoors to avoid over-using your AC.

9
Clean out your mailbox.

We all get unwanted catalogs and mail, but all that paper adds up to a lot of trees destroyed per year. Do your part by canceling any unnecessary subscriptions, or install the PaperKarma app, which takes care of it all via smartphone.