We live in a world of convenience and waste. We want things right now and within easy reach. Yet do we truly think about what happens to all the things we buy for convenience? Are they ever used? Are they disposed of properly? I’ve been a long time advocate for the environment and I’m here to tell you that yes, you can limit your need to buy everything out of convenience!

This year marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day, a crucial movement dedicated to learning, helping, and understanding the need to protect our environment. Whether you believe in climate change or not, know that helping the environment can only be a positive endeavor even if you do one small act. 

I’ve been leading an environmental program at an elementary school for years and it’s always a joy when a student has that “A-ha!” moment. The moment they realize that their small act of compassion for the planet can indeed make a huge impact! Below I’ve listed 10 easy swaps you can make for Earth Day and every day of your life!

1. Swap out single-use plastic bottles for reusable water bottles. Buying a reusable water bottle saves you money on buying single-use plastic water bottles. Plus you are eliminating unnecessary plastics in landfills.

2. Swap out single-use plastic sandwich bags for silicone or paper sandwich bags. These handy reusable bags last for many years and are compostable.

3. Swap out grocery store bags with reusable bags. Store grocery bags are usually made from a material that is not recyclable. It’s best to invest in a better quality reusable grocery bag or tote.

4. Swap out store-bought herbs and plant your own herb garden. Planting your own garden helps you have fresh herbs on hand and it reduces your carbon footprint by buying in stores.

5. Swap out polyester materials with eco-friendly materials. Materials made from organic cotton, repurposed cotton, and Tencel are great alternatives, plus they wear well!

6. Swap out driving a short distance to get groceries to walking to the stores. If you’re within walking distance to a store, then try walking there to reduce carbon dioxide made by cars.

7. Swap out packaged produce to picking your own produce at a farmer’s market or a free-standing produce rack. The plastic packaging wrapped around produce is truly unnecessary.

8. Swap out plastic utensils and use reusable stainless steel or bamboo utensils. Just say “NO” when you’re offered plastic utensils. It’s easy to bring your own or use your own utensils.

9. Swap out new books with used books. Yes, that new book smell is quite delightful! But gently used books keep the circular recycling effective.

10. Swap out the need to recycle by reducing and reusing. Follow the 5 “R’s” and you’re on the path to reduce plastic use! Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle.

We can all do our part to make our planet healthier and cleaner. We all wish to breathe cleaner air and let nature reset itself so that our planet can stay healthy for many generations.

Happy Earth Day!