15 Unique Ways To Think Green This Earth Day

The earth does not belong to man – man belongs to the earth. ~ Chief Seattle

This Friday, April 22nd, is Earth Day.  For over 40 years, Earth Day has inspired and mobilized individuals and organizations worldwide to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability.  This year, the Earth Day Network has challenged citizens of the world to pledge A Billion Acts of Green.

I urge you to visit A Billion Acts of Green and pledge as many acts as you can.  I also have another challenge for you.  Instead of pledging a green act that you currently do on a regular basis, such as recycling or using a reusable water bottle, pledge a new act.  Think of new and innovative ways you can have a positive impact on our planet.

Here are 15 unique ways to think green:

1. Don’t use straws.
The amount of petroleum and energy used in the manufacturing and distribution of straws, plus the waste they create, makes them a significant environmental threat.  The next time you visit a restaurant, skip the straw and drink from your glass.  If you insist on using a straw, consider purchasing a reusable glass straw from a company such as Glass Dharma.

2. Buy reusable chopsticks.
If you enjoy sushi or other Asian foods on a regular basis, consider purchasing reusable chopsticks.  You’ll help to save the environment, you’ll have a better dining experience and you’ll be sure to start a conversation with your dinner companions.  Reusable chopsticks also make a unique and inexpensive gift.

3. Use matches, not lighters.
Most lighters are made of plastic and filled with butane fuel, both of which are petroleum products.  Over 1.5 billion disposable lighters end up in landfills every year.  Matches are a much more environmentally friendly alternative.

4. Don’t stir your coffee.
Each year, Americans throw away 138 billion straws and stir sticks.  The next time you enjoy a cup-a-joe, put the sugar and cream in your cup first, then add the coffee and they’ll mix themselves.

5. Recycle toilet paper rolls.
Toilet paper rolls are rarely recycled.  The next time you get to the end of a roll, don’t toss it into the nearby garbage.  Take a moment and walk it to your recycling bin.

6. Go veggie one day a week.
Eating a vegetarian diet once a week will help your diet and the planet.  Did you know that it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef?

7. Invest in green companies.
There are many high performing companies that operate with a green philosophy.  Talk to your financial advisor and consider investing in green companies.

8. Unplug things that glow.
Even when you’re not using electronics, they often use electricity.  For example, that glowing light on your stereo or computer is drawing energy.  Unplug anything that glows and you’ll save energy.  As an added bonus, unplug the glowing electronics in your bedroom and you’ll have a more restful sleep.

9. Read an e-newspaper.
There are 63 million newspapers printed in the U.S. every day, most of which are thrown away without being recycled.  Consider subscribing to an online or e-reader version of your newspaper.

10. Watch The Story of Stuff.
If you haven’t already done so, watch The Story of Stuff and learn more about the impact that the manufacturing, use and disposal of “stuff” has on our environment.  Once you’ve watched it, share it with your friends, family and colleagues.

11. Go car-free (or car-lite) one day a week.
Our vehicles are one of the most costly luxuries we own, both financially and environmentally.  Going car-free isn’t as difficult as you may expect, and it will benefit you as well as the planet.  Not sure you can do it?  Check out this guide to going car-free (or car-lite).

12. Cruise.
Use cruise control and your car will get up to 15% better mileage.  That’s a benefit for your bank account and the environment.

13. Let your fingers do the walking… online.
An incredible amount of waste is created by phone books.  Consider whether or not you really need a paper copy of your phonebook and if not, cancel delivery.  Searching for phone numbers online is much faster and benefits the planet.

14. Download your software.
More than 30 billion compact discs are sold annually and they will all end up as waste at some point.  Choose to download your software online.  Not only will you save on the resources and waste of manufacturing a compact disc, you’ll also save the time and pollution of driving to the store to purchase your software.

15. Give it away.
Before you throw something away, ask yourself if someone else can use it.  If yes, donate it to a charitable organization or post it online at a website such as Freecycle.org.  Better yet, don’t wait until you’re throwing something away.  Start de-cluttering now and reap the rewards of a minimalist home.

Please visit A Billion Acts of Green and pledge to make a difference, not just this Earth Day, but every day throughout the year.

What unique ways do you know of to be green?

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6 Comments

  1. This is a great post. I especially like not using straws and watching “The Story of Stuff,” which I had not seen before.
    In our house we have gerbils, which means that nearly any paperboard products we have go to them to “recycle.” And we use reusable sandwich bags made out of the same material as some cloth diaper covers instead of plastic bags.

    • Thanks for visiting Stop & Breathe.

      I absolutely LOVE that you give your paperboard products for the gerbils to “recycle”. What a creative idea. I hope you’ll visit often and share more great tips like this.

  2. These are some great tips that I hadn’t thought about. Thank you for sharing!

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