Earth Day is a great opportunity to start your “go green” campaign-and it is coming fast (April 22nd). And although your big goal may be to utilize solar power or buy an electric car, those things may not be in your budget right now. Here are ten great (and frugal) ways to celebrate Earth Day with your family.
Plant a tree!
You don’t have to save this for Arbor Day, although Arbor Day is not too far behind Earth Day. Trees have so many benefits: they clean the air, harbor wildlife, provide a cooling effect to the environment, and help conserve water. Check your local nurseries to find the best trees for your area.
Start a compost bin.
A compost bin or pile doesn’t have to be expensive and if done correctly, will not stink up your backyard. Use wire mesh or an old trash can with holes drilled throughout (for aeration). Keep your plant-based kitchen scraps and throw in grass clippings, shredded newspaper, leaves, used coffee filters & grounds, etc. Rotate once per month and not only will you have great compost for your garden, but you will have saved space in a landfill as well.
Start collecting cans.
An inexpensive plastic trash bin is great for your recycling bin. Start keeping all of your soda and beer cans for recycling. To take it a step further and REALLY celebrate Earth Day, pick up additional cans along the side of a road (be careful though!)
Change to CFLs.
Start with one bulb or replace all of the bulbs in your house. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs use about 75 percent less energy and can last up to 10 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs. What is really inspiring is that if every American home replaced just one light bulb with an Energy-Star qualified bulb, enough energy would be saved to light more than 3 million homes for a year!
Replace your air filters.
A dirty air filter in your system can dramatically increase your energy usage which translates to heating and air conditioning costs for you. Air filters are relatively inexpensive, and by replacing them every 1-3 months, you are helping not only the environment, but your wallet as well!
Buy a water filter and reusable water bottle.
Plastic water bottles create huge amounts of waste in landfills every year. Switch to a filtered pitcher or faucet-mounted filter along with a reusable water bottle for under $30 and you can really make an impact on the environment.
Plant a garden.
Although any sort of garden will help the environment and make your piece of earth a more enjoyable place, many areas have specific types of gardens that can do even more good. For example, “rain gardens”, which take advantage of rainwater and stormwater runoff, can prevent pollution of lakes, streams, and ponds.
Pick up trash.
Spend a small amount of your time picking up litter around your community. Get in the habit of picking up small pieces of litter from a parking lot and throwing them in the trash bin outside of stores.
Bike or walk instead of driving.
How often do you get in your car and drive a short distance for a quick errand? Try riding your bike or walking instead. Not only will you prevent pollution by not driving your car, you can also improve your health!
Enjoy a local park.
Spend your lunch hour reading a book on a park bench or take your kids to play. Hike through an arboretum and enjoy the native plants. Communities have created parks so that residents can get outside and enjoy mother nature-so enjoy it already!
Pick one of the above “celebrations”-or try them all! When it comes to helping our environment, every small step counts. For even more fun, make it a family event or start a challenge at work to see who can make the biggest impact on the environment.
Happy Earth Day!