6 Ways to Help from Home this Earth Day
While in-person Earth Day gatherings are on hold this year, there is a lot you can do from the safety of your own home. Will you pledge to make one change for the better this Earth Day? Can you take one step right now? We think so! Here are 6 ways you can help the environment from home this Earth Day.
1) Switch to a renewable electricity supplier. From the comfort of your own home, you can find electric suppliers who provide renewal energy, and even cost less than what you’re currently paying. Already powered by renewables? Check the current rates and see if you might be able to get a better rate with another supplier. Many supply contracts have no early termination fees, but be sure to check your existing contract.
One way to find a new supplier is on electricityrates.com. It will show you the current rate with Eversource plus the alternative suppliers, which you can filter to show only 100% renewable sources. Starion Energy offers 100% wind energy and saves 1.22 cents per kWh at the time of this writing.
2) Eat more plants. With many of us spending more time at home and cooking more often, it’s a great time to experiment with plant-based recipes. A fully plant-based diet cuts your carbon footprint by 50%* and contributes significantly to cleaner water, amongst other benefits. There are books available that present the big picture for eating only plants, or you could jump straight to trying out recipes, starting with one each week. It’s important to find flavors and ways of cooking that appeal to you. Cookbooks like Vegan with a Vengeance and online recipes are great resources to ensure you don’t end up with salad boredom.
3) Start composting. Composting is not just for folks with gardens. It’s good for the overall environment. When we compost, we generate less trash. That means fewer garbage bags and less fossil-fuel burning trash truck pickups. It also means landfills and trash incinerators generating less methane. What if you don’t have an outdoor area for compost? No problem! Try these alternatives:
- Some cities and towns, such as Middletown, have a bin at the transfer station to collect food scraps. You can store the scraps in your freezer until you’re ready to for a trip to the compost bin.
- Worm composting is a fun project. With a storage bin and an order of worms from the internet, you can compost right under your kitchen sink. Plenty of resources are available online. Here is one guide to getting started with vermicompost.
- Pick up services like Blue Earth Compost are available in some areas. Not enough kitchen scraps on your own to support the paid service? Consider sharing with your neighbor to reduce your cost.
- Speaking of neighbors, check to see what others in your neighborhood are doing. Perhaps someone has a compost pile or bin in their yard and will gladly accept your donations.
4) Make your own sustainable cleaning products. There are a number of chemicals in commercially prepared cleaning products that are harmful when they enter waterways and the air. Why not try making your own cleaning products? You can start by using white vinegar and baking soda, or try out online recipes, such as for this daily shower spray.
5) Fight the good fight (against invasive plants). Your local ecosystem could use your help. Invasive plants choke out diverse native flora and can destroy habit for native fauna. Learn how to identify invasive plants and how you can remove them or slow their spread. There are many resources to help, including YouTube videos and the Invasive Plants in Your Backyard downloadable booklet by Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District.
6) Change your plastic habits. You already know how harmful plastic is and have made positive changes to use less. Can kick one more plastic habit for this Earth Day?
- Refuse: plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic water bottles, and styrofoam cups. When placing an order for take-out, specify you don’t want utensils (or napkins). When getting a smoothie or iced coffee, bring your own straw and specify you don’t want a disposable one.
- Reduce: purchasing goods packaged in plastic
- Reuse: plastic containers whenever possible
- Recycle: what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse. Plastic film and bags can be recycled at the grocery store’s recycling bin.
Let’s all make one positive change this Earth Day!
Contributed by Amanda Kenyon.