How to Care for the Planet on Earth Day

Family Holding a Young Green Plant in HandsHappy Earth Day! It’s time to show Mother Nature some love. We have plenty of great ways you can celebrate … and help the environment at the same time! Read on to find out more about how to care for the planet on Earth Day.

Plant Trees Outside; Decorate With Flowers Inside

Flowers and plants aren’t just decorative items for our backyards. They’re like natural air purifiers: Through the process of photosynthesis, they remove toxins from the air we breathe. So to help make the environment a bit greener and cleaner on Earth Day, plant some trees outside with your friends, then buy flowers and plants for your home or office. No room for new plants? Find a local park or organization that needs some help with landscaping and lend them a hand, or make a DIY terrarium for your small living space. Check out the new 1-800-Flowers.com Greenhouse page to find out more about how plants help purify the air.

Make Eco-Friendly Crafts

Teach your kids all about preserving the environment … and have fun doing it! There are tons of great eco-friendly craft ideas out there for your children to enjoy, and most of them can be made with natural or reusable materials you already have at home. Here’s an easy one to try. To help support your neighborhood’s bird population, have your kids cover a pinecone with smooth peanut butter and then roll it in birdseed. Hang up the pinecone outside with a piece of string, and then watch the beautiful birds show up at your doorstep!

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Commit to living by the three R’s—on Earth Day and every day. Avoid packaged and disposable plastic products, cut down on buying products that you don’t need, and use cloth shopping bags and reusable water thermoses. All of these strategies help you drastically decrease the amount of trash you produce at home and on the go. When you’re all done using your products, make sure to toss any paper, plastic, glass and aluminum items into a recycling bin. But before you throw it away, ask yourself: Can I use this for something else? You’ll be surprised at how many items have multiple uses. Just use your imagination or browse for some ideas on Pinterest to see how you can turn your trash into treasure.

Give to Those in Need

Overwhelmed by the clutter in your home? Instead of filling up your garbage cans, take Earth Day as an opportunity to donate your unwanted and unused belongings to a local charity. You’ll produce less waste, your stuff will be given a second life, your home will be more organized and you’ll be doing a service to the community. Need any more good reasons? Didn’t think so!

Organize a Litter Cleanup Crew

We all have that one neighborhood park, street or highway that could use a thorough cleaning. So on Earth Day, grab some garbage bags and gloves, rally up your neighbors and head out to rid your hometown of litter. Some companies even give cleanup supplies to cleanup groups, and you can schedule a time for the sanitation department to pick up the trash. You’ll make your community a cleaner and safer place to live not only for you, but for the local wildlife too.

Clean Your Home With Environmentally Friendly Products

Since you’re already tidying up your neighborhood on Earth Day, set aside some time for some spring-cleaning at home too. But to really pay tribute to the holiday, get rid of all your chemical cleaning products that could potentially hurt the environment and replace them with more natural cleaning solutions. For example, instead of using harsh bleach to clean your kitchen, swap it out for an orange-based cleaner. (It’s not just healthier; it smells much better too!) If you’re a DIY maven, you may even consider making your own cleaning product. The tried-and-true water and vinegar solution makes a great multi-surface cleaner. Plus, you can scour the Internet to find out how you can make your own clothing detergent, soap and more.

Herb QuartetCook an Earth Day Dinner With Locally Grown Food

You’re the hostess with the most-est, and you want to treat your family to a good homespun dinner on Earth Day. To make it a true eco-meal, shop for only locally produced organic meat, fruit and veggies. They’re raised without harmful pesticides and chemicals, and they require fewer natural resources (like gasoline) to ship to your neighborhood store. You can even grow your own herbs at home. That way, you can fill up those bellies while cutting down on pollution!

Leave Your Car on the Driveway

Have somewhere to go on Earth Day? Cut down on that carbon footprint of yours and find a way to get there without your car. Take a walk with your dog, dust the cobwebs off your bike and take it for a spin, or carpool with your fellow travelers on the bus. Bonus: You won’t have to pay for gas, and you’ll burn some pesky calories too! But don’t skip out on your car only on Earth Day. Make it a regular habit, especially during the warmer months.

Save Some Water

We often turn on the sink, flush the toilet or jump in the shower without giving a second thought to how much H2O we’re wasting. On Earth day, put a new water-saving plan into action for the whole year. Here are some small ways you can make big changes to your water usage:

  • Turn the faucet off while you’re brushing your teeth, scrubbing dishes or lathering your hands with soap.
  • Don’t run your washing machine unless you have a full load.
  • Switch to low-flow showerheads and faucets.
  • Fix any leaky faucets.
  • If you want cold water, just keep a pitcher in your fridge; don’t run your tap water.
  • Spread mulch over the plants and trees in your backyard; it helps them retain moisture so you don’t have to water them as often.
  • Don’t wash veggies under running water; fill up a bowl with water and clean them in there instead.
  • Use dropped ice cubes or leftover water from your pet’s bowl to water your plants.
  • Only flush the toilet when necessary; don’t drop tissues or other garbage into the bowl.
  • Take quicker showers.

Turn Down the Lights

Just like water, energy is another valuable resource that we often waste without even noticing. Conserve energy—and cut down on your electricity costs—by turning off the lights when they’re not in use and switching to CFL lightbulbs. Give your kids a fun Earth Day lesson on when they should and shouldn’t turn on the lights, and work together to make cute signs that you can hang up next to the light switches.

Do you have any planet-saving Earth Day traditions of your own? Tell us about them!

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