Trying to live a healthier lifestyle is just as important as being more environmentally conscious. In today’s world, keeping our communities clean and our homes green can benefit our daily lives as well as the life of our neighborhoods. Incorporating a few steps into our daily routines like turning off the lights when not in use or taking shorter showers to save water can help benefit the environment - not to mention your energy bill.
In honor of Earth Day, which is on April 22, retirees can find ways to be more mindful of what they consume and use as well as help bring awareness to the limited resources that sustain human, animal, and plant life. Check out our list of ten ways on how you can make every day Earth Day.
One of the easiest ways to make each day Earth Day is by simply recycling the items in your trash. Take a few minutes each day to sort through recyclable items like aluminum, PET and HDPE plastic bottles, newspapers and magazines, corrugated cardboard, steel cans, and glass containers. According to the National Recycling Coalition, these are the most important items that you can easily recycle in your home. All it takes is setting up separate trash cans, each labeled for either trash only or recyclable items.
Clean Up Trash in Your Neighborhood
No one likes to live in a dirty neighborhood so take a few minutes out of your day to pick up any trash you see around your area. You can also make a day out of it and have some friends volunteer to help keep your community clean. Visit your local park and clean up any lingering trash you see on the ground that may have been blown away from an overfilled garbage can or dropped by an unknown litterbug.
Not only will you get some much-needed exercise that will keep you healthy, but you will also help Mother Earth by not adding more pollution in the air with unnecessary carbon dioxide emissions. And if your destination is too far for a door-to-door bike ride, then consider commuting on public transportation or carpool with colleagues that will help cut down your transportation costs as well as help keep the Earth green.
Compost Kitchen Scraps
Reduce waste at home by composting your food scraps. You will eliminate tons of waste that is sent to the landfill that can be reused in other ways, including making organic and nutrient-rich fertilizer for your home garden.
Use a Reusable Water Bottle & Bags
Next time you think about buying a plastic water bottle for one-time use, think about how many of them end up in landfills. Not only do about 50 billion plastic water bottles end up in U.S. landfills each year, but they also take about 1,000 years to decompose. Instead, opt for a reusable water bottle. It will save you money in the long run and will help eliminate waste. Same thing goes for plastic and paper grocery bags. It doesn’t take much energy to bring your own reusable tote bag to the supermarket, but it does take up considerable energy to produce plastic and paper bags.
Turn Off Lights
No one likes high utility bills. A simple way to cut down on energy costs while helping the environment is to turn off the lights in your home when not in use. Another way to be more eco-friendly is by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Although the fluorescent lights are slightly more expensive, they will last longer and save you money in the long run.
If you love taking long, hot showers before you start your day, it might be causing more harm than good. Sure it feels great and relaxing, but using all that water is harmful to the environment and your water bill. During your shower, try turning off the water while you shampoo or condition your hair, which can save approximately 50 gallons a week. When you’re brushing your teeth, turning off the water tap will save about four gallons a minute.
Buy Local & Organic Food
When you buy organic, locally sourced food you are supporting a healthier approach to agriculture. Buying locally produced food also helps reduce pollutions and consumption of resources that are associated with the transportation and packaging of the food. The less distance food has to travel to get to you, the better and fresher it will be.
Start a Garden
Growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs is a great way to eat fresh produce for a healthier lifestyle. It’s also good for the environment because you’re adding more oxygen to the atmosphere. When you grow a garden, you cut out the need for food to be transported, which contributes to more carbon emissions in the air. You are also in control of what you plant and harvest, which can help you eat a variety of produce from each season.
Plant a Tree
Trees are great for producing oxygen and absorbing carbon monoxide. They can provide shade on a hot summer day by reducing the heat index effect by ten degrees, which may help cut down your air conditioning needs and energy costs. A shade tree also provides shelter to birds and other animals.