Earth Day was first celebrated April 22, 1970. For the 50th anniversary, here are 50 ideas to help you go green and protect the earth 365 days a year.

House Hacks

Non-toxic cleaning supplies are widely available but can be costly. Instead, do it yourself. You can make your own products with essential oils, baking soda, castile soap, vinegar and more. Find instructions online.

Try a shampoo bar instead of a liquid shampoo for less plastic packaging.

Check the personal and environmental safety of items you use every day from skincare to cleaning products at ewg.org.

In your bathroom, put a can next to your trash can for recyclable materials – like toilet paper rolls – so you’ll recycle them instead of throwing them away.

Plant a tree in your backyard. See instructions at treesaregood.org. Donate or
volunteer with Trees Atlanta, which is committed to replacing trees lost to development and protecting green space areas in metro Atlanta. They also offer Family Fun activities. See more at treesatlanta.org.

Buy large-sized products or in bulk to reduce plastic packaging.

Beware of greenwashing, when a product is marketed as environmentally friendly but actually isn’t. Look for products with established, third-party emblems like Fair Trade Certified, Ecocert, Energy Star and others. Learn more with Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides.

Listen to these podcasts for inspiration on green living: The Minimalists, Conscious Chatter, Low Tox Life and The Green Divas.

Too much mail? Stop receiving junk mail by signing up at DMAchoice.org. Also, opt for online paperless billing.

Houseplants that are easy to take care of, like English ivy, mother-in-law’s tongue, mums and other plants, can naturally help remove indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene.

Calculate the carbon footprint of your household at nature.org.

Check out The Good Trade for sustainable ideas on fashion, beauty, home and more.

Food

Start composting your food scraps, coffee grounds, leaves, paper towels, newspapers and other materials to turn them into soil for your yard. Learn how to compost with Georgia Recycling Coalition.

Stop preheating your oven, unless you’re baking bread or pastries.

Shop local farmers markets for fresh produce or join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Find one at localharvest.org/csa.

Match your pots and pans to the burner. A six-inch pan on an eight-inch electric burner will waste more than 40% of the heat produced, and food will take longer to cook.

Cooking your own meals cuts back on the waste produced by takeout bags, containers and plastic cutlery when you order from a restaurant.

Americans waste 422 grams of food per person daily, which is almost a pound of food. Reduce waste by planning your meals, buying what you realistically need and taking leftovers for lunch.

Water

Turn off the water when brushing your teeth.

Collect rainwater for watering plants.

Recycle

Take hard to recycle items to CHaRM’s permanent or pop-up locations. The group will take electronics, glass, home goods, light bulbs and more. For a full list of items
as well as material processing fees, go to livethrive.org/charm. Find recycling solutions near you at earth911.com.

Properly dispose of batteries. Most single-use batteries can be recycled, although a fee may apply. Where you can, switch to rechargeable batteries, which can also be recycled.

Do not put your recyclables in a plastic bag. Put them loose into the recycling bin.

Don’t forget to recycle paper. Paper makes up about 28% of solid trash in landfills. By recycling one ton, it saves about 7,000 gallons of water during manufacturing.

Buy more products made from recycled materials. Look for these labels: recycled content, post-consumer and pre-consumer. Find a directory at recyclemoreplastic.org, and the EPA has a Buy-Recycled Series by products.

Reuse

Bring your own reusable bags and leave a few in your car, so they’re easy to grab when you need them.

Switch to microfiber cloths or reusable towels to clean up messes instead of paper towels.

Stop using single-use water bottles. Buy a reusable water bottle, and it’ll keep your water cold longer, too!

Buy pre-owned clothing. Shop local thrift stores or check out online sites like Depop and ThredUP to find items that are new to you.

Add reusable wool dryer balls to your laundry instead of single-use dryer sheets.

Use reusable silicone bags when packing lunch instead of plastic bags.

Store food with reusable beeswax wrap instead of cling wrap.

Take your make-up off with a cleanser and a reusable cloth instead of a single-use wipe.

Appreciate Nature

Participate in the City Nature Challenge, as cities around the world engage in nature to make observations and find species. Visit iNaturalist.org to download the app and share your observations.

Spend time in nature. Head to a wide, open green space to explore.

Enjoy guided nature hikes, programs about geology, hydrology and biology and earth-based recreation programs with the state parks’ D.I.R.T. See a full list of events at gastateparks.org/DIRTPlease note that while DNR-managed sites are open at this time, programs may not be running.

Visit the Phinizy Center for Water Sciences to learn more about sustainable watersheds. The Center has trails, wetlands, rivers, ponds, woods and an outdoor classroom. While they are still open, they are also posting live educational videos and storytimes on their Facebook.

Go on a stewardship trip with the Georgia Conservancy. Go hiking, paddling, camping or on a service trip to celebrate conservation and the diversity of Georgia – from our riverbanks to our mountains to our saltwater-marsh and barrier islands.
Find out more at georgiaconservancy.org/trips.

Join Atlanta Audubon Society for education and to support conservation and advocacy efforts protecting Georgia’s birds and their habitats. Start bird-watching in your own backyard by visiting audubon.org/birding/backyard for activities.

Appliances

Lower your home’s energy use. You can purchase a home energy monitor to find which appliances are using the most electricity.

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) use 25%-80% less energy and can last 3-25 times longer than compact fluorescent lamps.

Turn off the lights when you leave a room.

Use the dishwasher or washing machine only for full loads.

In the summer, use fans instead of turning up the air conditioning unit. Turn off fans when you leave the room. The Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 78 degrees when you’re home and need cooling.

In the winter, wear layers instead of turning up the heat. The Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat to 68 degrees while you’re awake and setting it lower when you’re asleep or away from home.

Electronics

Turn off your monitor if you aren’t going to use your computer for more than 20
minutes, and turn off both the CPU and monitor if you’re not going to use your computer for more than two hours.

When you upgrade to the latest cell phone, recycle your old one. To be safe, factory reset the device so all your data is removed, and if you can, remove the battery before recycling the phone.

Unplug electronics and chargers when not in use.

Buying a new computer? Laptops are often more energy-efficient, as they can run off battery power, unlike desktop computers which are always plugged in.

Plug your devices into a UL-certified power strip and switch it off for the night to prevent phantom electrical draw.

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