In honor of 2010's 40th anniversary of Earth Day and the upcoming 41st anniversary of Earth Day, here is the first installment of 40 quick, easy, and effective ways to reduce waste, save energy, trees, and other resources, and help fight pollution and curb climate change:
- You'll be more likely to recycle consistently if you set up a recycling area in your kitchen or utility room. Post a list nearby of the items that are accepted for recycling in your local community.
- Reuse or recycle as many of your empty health and beauty product containers as you can. If you can't reuse them at home, containers such as your empty vitamin or supplement bottles can be recycled with your home recycling. Other cosmetic and toiletry tubes, bottles, and jars (from any brand) can be taken back to retail stores including Origins and MAC.
- Choose toilet paper made from 100% recycled fibers. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, if every household in the U.S. replaced one roll of virgin fiber toilet paper with 100% recycled ones, we'd save 423,900 trees.
- When decorating your home, choose items made from reclaimed materials — for example, a recycled glass vase from Recyclebank rewards partner Uncommon Goods, a rug made from old cotton t-shirts, or a basket made from telephone wire. Both save resources and extend the useful life of material.
- Find out how to recycle items that you can't place in your curbside bin, like batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and plastic bags. When in doubt, call your local solid waste management agency or go to Earth911.org.
- Leave grass clippings on the lawn after you mow, rather than bagging and throwing them away. Leaving the clippings behind saves energy and landfill space and the grass will decompose and return nutrients to the soil.
- Got an old fur coat or hat in the attic that you inherited and never wear? Donate it to the Humane Society of the United States' Coats for Cubs program, so wildlife rehabilitators can reuse it as bedding for injured or orphaned wildlife.
- After birthday and holiday celebrations, save gift bags and boxes, ribbons, and tissue paper to reuse.
- Recycle plastic packing peanuts by saving them for the next time you send a package, taking them to any UPS Store location, or calling the Plastic Loose Fill Council's 24-Hour Peanut Hotline (800-828-2214) to find other drop-off sites near you.
- Invest in a set of rechargeable batteries and a charger for powering your digital camera, portable music player, remote control, and other gadgets. You'll reduce waste, save resources like steel, and save money in the long run.
Interested in the other 30 tips? Check out tips 11–20, 21–30, and 31–40!