Respecting our planet and protecting the environment is something everyone can get behind. Regardless of when Earth Day is, each day we need to make the decision to respect our planet. Here are twenty ways you can reduce your carbon footprint, starting today!

1. Shop in the bulk section with your own produce bags.

If your grocery store offers a bulk section, this is a great way to reduce your consumption of single-use plastics. Try bringing your own bulk bags so you can skip the plastic variety that the grocery offers. Plastic bags are typically not recyclable and are incinerated to their final end. When you shop, start in the bulk section first with your own bags. See how much of your grocery list you can knock out without purchasing any packaging! Then move to the produce section, and see what you can find without plastic. Bringing your own bags goes a long way!

2. Bring your reusable grocery bags to the store, store them in your car.

Leave your grocery bags in your car! Make a habit of putting your grocery list in the bags when you get in the car, or move them to the front seat so that you don’t forget to take them with you. However you ritualize this, I promise you CAN make it a habit. Plastic bags only serve a purpose for a matter of minutes, before they are thrown out. Due to their aerodynamic features, they often get caught in the wind and blow out of waste bins and landfills, sending them straight to the oceans or the sides of our roads. Help eliminate them from your habits!

3. Carry your water bottle & mug with you everywhere.

Water is so good for you – you should be sipping on it all day.

4. Compost your food scraps.

There are so many different types of composting – whether you are in an apartment or live on several acres of land, there is a composting solution for you. When food is thrown out in plastic bags, it produces methane gas, which is really toxic. By allowing it to decompose with proper aeration, that food can be turned into something productive for your garden!

5. Shop Secondhand.

Regularly check your local thrift stores. You can find some great deals on gently loved products that are ready for a new life. Fashion causes a lot of waste throughout its supply chain – rock the vintage look instead, or choose to support small businesses.

6. Repair items you have that are broken.

Don’t let your first instinct be to throw it away. Just because money might not be an issue or it only costs $ to replace, you may be able to get more life out of the same product by repairing it. You’ll find that you can find uses for old things you never used to use or find ways to get something repaired instead of buying a replacement.

7. Reduce your meat consumption.

Plants, fruits, and vegetables have a lower carbon footprint when it comes to their agricultural production. You may find several benefits to your health from adding more plants and plant-based foods to your rotation. Try doing Meatless Mondays for a month with your family. Then maybe try some new vegan recipes.

8. Walk, bike, or carpool.

Get some exercise and some fresh air! If you live local and the weather is nice, take a walk outside. Don’t be in a hurry all the time. You can find enjoyment in the daily tasks of life if you carve out self-reflection time within them. Going for a walk is a great way to get in meditation time.

9. Hang dry your clothes.

Driers on high heat settings can be energy-intensive. If you have a clothesline, hang your clothes outside, or look for a drying rack. You might be able to find one at your local thrift store.

10. Avoid purchasing products wrapped in plastic.

If possible, look for products without plastic packaging. Find the veggies in store that aren’t pre-cut, but instead you can put in your own cloth bag that you brought. If your store has a bulk food section, take your bags there and fill them with many of your pantry staples.

11. Learn how to sew.

If you can repair minor damage to your clothing items, you can prevent those from becoming major damage! Learning how to sew can give you a multitude of DIY projects that you can do with scrap clothing or fabrics.

12. Volunteer (do a trash pick-up!).

Pick one weekend a month to do a trash pick-up with your family in your neighborhood. Invite your neighbors and their children, and their friends. Get everyone involved in keeping the community clean.

13. Ask for “no straw” when you order a drink.

Make it a habit to ask for your drink, with “no straw.”

14. Bring your own utensils to avoid using plastic ones.

You can purchase travel kits with utensil sets to keep in your bag. That way when you are on the go, you can avoid using plastic utensils for takeout food.

15. Use plastic-free cleaners (like Dropps or Blueland).

There are companies that make cleaning products in refillable, or plastic-free containers! Search for plastic-free options on the internet!

16. Donate unwanted newspaper & old towels to your local animal shelter.

Animal shelters use newspaper and old towels to line kennels and are in constant need. Consider donating old blankets, animal food, newspapers, or towels to your local shelter.

17. Purchase Carbon Offsets

If you have to travel a lot via airplane for work, you may feel some guilt at the carbon emissions from a plane flight. There are companies that allow you to easily calculate and purchase carbon offsets, which protect natural land in exact offsets to the pollution caused by your travel.

18. Stop buying things! Love what you have.

19. Plant a Tree or Garden with Flowers

Bees love flowers. giving them more options for pollinations helps out the bee and honey farmers. Support your local bee population by planting floral gardens with high nectar flow plants.

20. Teach a friend what you learned.

We are all in this together. If we want to see our planet improved, we all have to be in it together!

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