Earth Day is April 22 and if you’re anything like us, you will be celebrating the day by thinking about ways to make more sustainable choices. If you’re new to sustainability habits, then you may want to honor the day to kick off your new habits to reduce waste, learn about recycling, protect natural resources, or make a difference in your community.

Earth Day is all about connecting communities for the greater good for the health of our planet. The world’s first Earth Day was in 1970 when 20 million Americans mobilized to call for greater protection for the planet, according to earthday.org. Today Earth Day is celebrated around the globe to shed light on and tackle new challenges facing the planet. Earthday.org’s mission is to work with partners around the world to innovate and take on climate change to meet a goal for a zero-carbon future.

The larger missions of Earth Day can sometimes feel overwhelming but there are small things we can each do to make a difference and will create new habits that go beyond Earth Day. If you’re looking for a way to mark the day, keep reading for some creative ways to do just that!

Plant A Tree

There are many benefits to planting more trees in our neighborhoods and parks and we will see them for many years. Trees not only clean the air, provide oxygen, and moderate climate, they also improve soil, provide shade, and provide a home for wildlife. Plant a tree in your own backyard or join a local tree-planting group to plant them in local parks.

Ride Your Bike

By finding alternative transportation to your car, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint while getting exercise on your bike. The fewer cars on the road, the less pollution contributing to global warming. If you don’t own a bike of your own, find a bike-share program, take public transportation or carpool to your job with a friend.

Do A Laundry Cycle In Cold Water

Most of the energy used in doing laundry is from heating the water. Washing your clothes in a cold water cycle actually reduces energy and your carbon footprint! Tide recently launched a campaign for people to switch to cold water to reduce everyone’s energy for the planet.

Donate Old Items

Only 9% of plastic is recycled and about 79% of plastic and foam sticks around in the landfill. This is why it’s important to first donate used items like old clothes, electronics, and furniture to thrift stores for those who could use the items. You may also choose to upcycle old items to create something new. Any items that cannot be donated or reused, should be recycled appropriately. Research your municipality’s recycling laws to properly dispose of anything you’re not sure of.

Shop Sustainable

From the food we eat to the clothing we wear, it’s important to reduce waste wherever possible. Before shopping for anything new, ask yourself if there is something you already have that can be used. When shopping for food, purchase items with low to no packaging. Choose items in recycled paper packaging, like molded fibre egg cartons. When shopping for new clothes, consider shopping at the local thrift store first and purchase fabrics that do not contain any plastics like linen, cotton, wool, or hemp. Find brands that you love that are environmentally friendly and doing their part to be sustainable and reduce waste. Better yet, on Earth Day, go without purchasing anything new at all!

Write A Letter

Well-written letters from local community members or organizations can influence a decision-making process. Picking a topic that you care greatly about, such as reducing single-use plastics at the grocery store, and taking the time to write a personal letter to your supermarket or local government can bring an issue to the attention of the supermarket manager, company CEO, or politicians. Writing a thoughtful letter addressing a specific issue and asking for a particular action, such as only carrying paper packaging at the store, can have a big impact. Use our letter templates on our website to get started.

Choose Reusable Items

It is best to reduce your single-use plastic and foam around your home – your kitchen and your bathroom are great places to start. Do an audit and see where you can improve. Start by using a reusable water bottle, a bamboo dish brush, or reusable grocery bags. Starting a small habit on Earth Day and carrying it through the rest of the year can have a big impact on the environment and reducing single-use plastic and foam waste. Use our checklists to get inspired on what you’ll swap out next.

Talk To Your Friends And Family

One of the best ways to start a new habit is to share what you’ve learned about Earth Day and single-use plastic and foam waste with a friend or family member. This not only holds you accountable to keep your sustainability goals but can also inspire your friends and family to join you in the cause. Ask them if they have personal goals they would like to achieve when it comes to sustainability too and see how you can work together to achieve them and make a difference. You can join an Earth Day initiative together, join forces to write many letters, or simply check in on how your reusable items are being used.

Whether you plant a tree, write a letter, or find a new reusable water bottle you love, Earth Day is the perfect day to reflect on your personal behaviors and how you can contribute to improving the health of our planet. Starting small with a new daily habit of removing one single-use plastic item from your daily routine can have a big impact. For more inspiration and ideas, check out Earthday.org and visit us on Instagram or Facebook to follow for more tips on reducing plastic and foam. How will you celebrate Earth Day? Share it with us using #ditchplasticpackaging.