(BPT) - On Friday, April 22, millions across the globe celebrate Earth Day by participating in eco-friendly activities in order to make a positive impact on the world we live in. This special day is also the perfect opportunity to start thinking about how you can add small, environmentally-based actions to your everyday lifestyle. This can be achieved through small efforts at home, work and in your community.
In our fast-paced culture, it’s easy to take the world around us for granted. Many aren’t aware how environmental concerns from climate change and pollution to the rise of e-waste are impacted by our daily activities. It’s never too late or too soon to become an environmental steward by committing to be more kind to the planet. Take action by creating more eco-conscious traditions with your family. Here are four green initiatives you can adopt this Earth Day and every day:
Have a paperless trail.
Paper waste takes up more than one-third of space in local landfills, which can generate methane gas that is harmful to the environment. Luckily, today’s technological advances make it easy to go paperless. There are many apps and services that can help you cut back on how much paper you use. You can start by requesting items such as bills, statements and newsletters be sent electronically. The paper items you do wish to receive, like newspapers, cardboard boxes, magazines and phone books, can easily be recycled when you finish using them.
Did you know vampires really do exist? Well, energy vampires that is. This term is used to describe how many types of electronics and office equipment — including computers, phone chargers, clocks, TVs and printers — continue to use electricity when they’re off but still plugged into an outlet. In households across the U.S., wasted energy not only costs consumers more than $5.8 billion annually, it also sends more than 87 billion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.
Make a pact to reduce the amount of energy your family uses. This can be as simple as turning off lights or the TV when you’re not in the room. Unplugging electronics when they aren’t being used is also a great way to save your family money and conserve energy.
Develop a green thumb.
While many people choose to plant trees for Earth Day, take it a step further by starting a garden in your yard. You can plant anything from flowers, herbs or vegetables. This is a great way to get the entire family involved in an activity you can do together throughout the year that is fun and healthy for everyone!
Become a battery recycling superhero.
Some items that can be recycled are thrown away mostly because people do not know what can be recycled and where to recycle them. Many household electronics and popular tech gadgets use rechargeable batteries that contain materials that are potentially harmful to the environment and should never be thrown into the trash. You can help by educating your friends and family about how they can reduce waste by choosing to recycle.
Organizations like Call2Recycle Inc. strive to minimize the environmental impact of products through responsible disposal by offering an easy and no-cost recycling solution for rechargeable batteries. Call2Recycle has a network of more than 30,000 drop-off locations, including retail stores in your own community that you may already visit regularly. Their collection sites accept cellphones and rechargeable batteries (weighing up to 11 pounds), including those you find in laptop computers, digital cameras, two-way radios, MP3 players or iPods, tablets and cordless phones.
Get started by organizing a local recycling drive to encourage others to gather up their batteries to be recycled. Through recycling, you can make your community more sustainable and keep potentially hazardous materials from entering local landfills. Visit www.call2recycle.org/locator and use the location finder to find the nearest collection site.
Being a responsible member of any community means making choices and taking action to take care of the world we live in. These eco-friendly activities may sound simple and easy to get started, but the real challenge is creating new habits that will ultimately lead to a greener lifestyle. By starting small and making your goals realistic, there is a greater chance you will continue implementing them throughout the year. Your efforts can inspire your family and friends to join you in incorporating environmentally-friendly behavior into their every day lives. These changes — big and small — can make a positive impact and create a better world for ourselves and for future generations.