How to Celebrate Earth Day 2020 - Stay At Home Edition (50th Anniversary)

Orange County Solid Waste Management has come up with some exciting ideas for how to celebrate Earth Day from home this year! The easiest think you can do is to recycle right! It is helpful to check out your local municipality’s  recycling guidelines to make sure you are recycling properly. Please visit our website to see Orange County’s recycling guide.

Know that recycling has been recognized as an ESSENTIAL SERVICE during the lock-down because the items you put correctly in your recycling cart form an integral part of America’s industrial supply chain. Think: CARDBOARD  to make new  boxes to ship medical supplies and food,  CANS to put food in, PAPER  for toilet paper, etc. See www.SERDC.org for details on what happens to your recycled stuff in the southeastern US.

Start a garden 

  • We are all spending a lot more time at home which is a great opportunity to start a garden. Whether you just want to keep it simple by planting some flowers in the front yard or starting a full vegetable garden – it’s up to you! Most garden shops are still open and are often very knowledgeable, welcoming novice gardeners, so head over and grab some seeds and plants and get started.

Visit local farmers market

  • No better place to get fresh produce than your local farmers market! Farmers markets have also taken several safety measures such as moving their booths farther apart, provide hand sanitizing stations and wearing gloves and/or masks. Remember to bring your own bags and containers for the produce you buy.

Compost your food scraps 

  • You’ve probably been cooking at home a lot more and have an increase in food scraps. An easy way to divert your household’s food waste from the landfill is to start composting – backyard compost can accept all the fruit and vegetable scraps, but not meat, bones, dairy and bread (and next fall you can use the compost for that garden you just started)! If you can’t compost call a company that collects from residences like Compost Now that will collect from your home for a fee.
  • According to the recent local waste composition studies, food scraps make up 25% of what we throw away.
  • If you are an Orange County resident, you can bring your food scraps to the Eubanks Rd and Walnut Grove Church Rd Waste and Recycling Centers.

Research where your products come from 

  • Have you heard of greenwashing? It is the act of misleading consumers into believing that a product or service is environmentally friendly. This is why it is so important to research your products and be a conscious consumer!
  • Resources to help to detect greenwashing: 7 Tips to Avoid Greenwashing and What Is Greenwashing? How to Spot It and Stop It
  • Apps
  •  Think Dirty is a free app that allows you to scan any personal care product you have and translates the information so it is easy to understand.

Fix something broken (clothes, appliances, etc.)

  • Do you have a leaky faucet or a rip in your favorite pair of jeans? Both of those can be easy fixes, save you money and prolong the life of the item.
  • Your leaky faucet could be wasting up to 5 gallons of water per day.
  • On average, it takes 2,000 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans. By mending your jeans and extending their life, you are also saving a significant amount of water!

Eat a meatless meal 

  • Eating less meat not only has health benefits but also several environmental benefits. Roughly 1,700 gallons of water is needed to produce one pound of beef while approximately 39 gallons are needed to produce one pound of vegetables. Meat production also produces significantly more greenhouse gases than vegetables.

Wash laundry in cold water

  • About 90% of the energy your washing machine uses goes towards heating the water. Washing your clothes in cold water not only saves energy but can save you money as well. The cost per load of washing with cold water is 4 cents and washing with hot/warm water is 68 cents. Washing 4 out of 5 loads in cold water can cut 864 pounds of CO2 emissions in one year. Additionally, cold water is gentler on your clothing and can prevent shrinking, fading and bleeding.
  • For more info visit https://coldwatersaves.org/

Use cloth towels instead of paper towels

  • Did you know that Americas go through 13 billion paper towels per year? If each American household found an alternative for ONE roll of 70-sheet virgin fiber paper towels, we could save 544,000 trees each year!
  • If you don’t have any reusable towels (or don’t have enough), take old clothing or fabric scraps and use those! Swedish dishcloths and microfiber cleaning cloths are super absorbent and great for cleaning. Cotton napkins and that t-shirt you just cut up (and hemmed the scraps) are great to use as napkins when eating food.

Unsubscribe from junk mail 

  • On average, an American adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year. One easy way to save trees and energy is by getting off mailing lists and preventing unsolicited mail from coming to you. Visit Orange County’s A-Z Recyclery and select ‘Junk Mail’ to read our 4 tips for reducing your junk mail.

Shop plastic-free on Amazon (if you shop elsewhere on line, ask your provider to do this)

  • Did you know you can request to make your Amazon orders plastic-free? It will only take a few minutes, follow these simple steps:
  • Open your Amazon account
  • Go to ‘help/customer service’
  • Go to ‘contact us’ (use their chat option)
  • On chat, request to make all future orders plastic-free with minimal packaging and where absolutely necessary use only degradable packaging materials like paper.
  • This information will be saved to your account for all future orders!

 How many can you do on Earth Day? How many do you already do? How many does your sibling or close friend do?