0 comments / Posted on by Sabrina Gollust

Earth Day is a great time of year to think about how you can help the planet.  Most people know basic things they can do, to not contribute to the worlds pollution problem such as: recycling, using reusable shopping bags, quitting bottled water, using less paper products and picking up litter.  This Earth Day we challenge you to all of these things PLUS some others on this list.  

Here are 8 different ways you can contribute to Earth Day:

1.Upcycle-  Everyone knows what recycling is but do you know what upcycling is?  Upcycling is the act of reusing items that you would normally discard to give it a second purpose.  There are thousands of great upcycling ideas on Pintrist.  Some of them include painting old jars and using them to hold other things like plants, pencils or utensils.  Our favorite is using old t-shirts to make other more useful items; like cutting it into a reusable shopping bag, cutting them into strips and braiding them into a rug or headband or making them into cool accent pillows.  Most upcycling projects require some crafting ability (or at least the ability to use heavy duty glue and some paint) but some are bigger projects that are more complicated and may only be for the experienced.

2.Recycle Old Electronics-  Earth Day is at the beginning of spring; right when most people have the urge to spring clean.  Most of us have old electronics laying around that we need to get rid of but don't know how.  Electronics and batteries cannot go in the regular recycling or trash because they contain harmful chemicals and heavy metals that can leach out of the disposed product and into the soil, ultimately making it back into our water supply.  For electronics that are very old and broken, it is best to google where to recycle them in your city and bring them there.  For electronics that may have a little life in them it is great to sell them on sites like gazelle or bring them to target or best buy for exchange or cash (it will probably only be a small amount of money but its better than nothing).  Or give your old TV, phone or computer to a family in need.  For recycling batteries it matters what type of batteries you are trying to get rid of.  For standard batteries most cities have recycling spots in grocery stores, libraries or places like Staples.  For larger batteries, such as car batteries, you may need to google where they can be disposed of.  

3.Start a Garden-  Spring is a great time to start a garden. This can be as simple as a few herbs in a pot, to as big as a full fruit and vegetable garden.  This will depend on where you live, what type of yard you have and the commitment you are able to make.  Every item in your garden is one less item that needs to be packaged, transported and bagged at the store.  

4.Enjoy Nature-  Take a walk or a hike into nature to truly enjoy its beauty.  When we are reminded of natures beauty we are more likely to want to keep it that way.  Bonus points if you bring your child and teach them all of the wonders of nature.  Children are naturally curious and want to learn about nature and conservation.  It is great to teach the next generation about the importance of nature and conservation to ensure our world stays beautiful and clean.  

5.Coffee-  Most people are thinking, “don’t mess with my morning cup of joe”.  But I’m not about to tell you that you must change your morning cup of coffee  (I mean come on I don’t want my coffee messed with either!) But, here are a few ways to use less waste while you enjoy that magic cup of beans.  Keurig cups have made our mornings faster and easier which is great but tens of billions of them are sitting in landfills right now and more are on their way.  K-cups can be recycled if you break them down so if you are not willing to switch we suggest doing at least that.  If you are a keurig user there are options for reusable filter pods that you put your own coffee in that work great.  It only takes a few extra seconds to scoop in your coffee and rise out the filter pod afterwords.  If you are a starbucks or other coffee chain drinker bring your own cup.  Most places offer a discount on your drink if you bring your own coffee cup.  

6.Walk/Bike/Ride Share- Do you drive to work everyday?  If you are like most people who do, you are probably driving alone and you may absolutely hate your commute to work or you may absolutely love it.  If you hate driving why not try to share the responsibility with someone who lives close to you and works with you?  On days where you do not drive you can get a ton of things done or just sit back and relax.  If you live in a city where there is nearby bus or train stops this is also a great option. It helps you save money on gas and gives you extra time to do your make-up or type those emails.  If none of these sound like good options for you, you can still reduce your carbon foot print by rediscovering your local neighborhood on weekends.  Walk or bike to you local stores instead of using your car.  The exercise and fresh air is a bonus!

7.Donate Old Clothes-  Donate old clothes instead of throwing them away.  It takes a little bit of extra work but it is helpful to give them another life.  Do a little bit of research and find charities that actually give clothes and/or money to those in need.  Some great charities are: Dress for success, they take used women’s professional attire to help women in need get good jobs, American Red Cross, they will actually pick the items up at your house and all clothes or proceeds benefit the Red Cross disaster relief, and The Salvation Army, they will also pick up items at your house and all proceeds are used to fund their rehabilitation centers to help give addicts a second chance at life.  

8.Consider buying from Local and Small Businesses-  Locally owned small businesses generally have more practices that reduce their environmental impact verses large nationally owned businesses.  Generally small businesses create more sustainable items that are a higher quality and will last longer than those same items you can buy for super cheap at a place like Walmart.  These things are basically made to be used a few times and then thrown away.  Buying small not only supports the environment but also strengthens the economic base of your community.  At Wilderness Aura we strive to create the smallest footprint possible by making each item as ordered to reduce the waste of extra items that will possibly never be sold.  Try buying from your local stores and farmers market instead of large chain stores. 

This Earth Day consider making a resolution to try one or more of these things for the entire year and encourage your friends to do the same!

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