Earth Day Choices for Everyday


Earth Day provides us with an opportunity to evaluate our current practices and assess ways to improve. This is a day that is close to my heart. I challenge you to pick ONE thing to address this month!

Forgo plastic straws

Americans throw away an estimated 500 million plastic straws a day, according to Despite straws being made of plastic, they are NOT recyclable. If we understand straws to be single-use products, what can we do to curb our consumption of them?

  • Reusable water bottles. With different price points and a plethora of materials available, there is a water bottle to suit everyone’s taste. Even water fountains are becoming hip to water bottle use and often come with a specialized water-bottle-spout.
  • Go straw-less. Simply put, drink from the glass. Make sure to say, “no straw, thanks” in restaurants. And when taking a drink to go, open and close the container as you drink. While this action might seem awkward or trivial, it can become routine and make a cumulative impact. There are current campaigns encouraging no straw usage with scout programs, businesses or even entire municipalities.
  • Reusable options. Sometimes a little planning can go a long way. There are plenty of materials to choose; from silicone, stainless steel and glass for example. Many of these options are dishwasher safe, come with special cleaning brushes, or even sleeves to carry them in your purse or diaper bag. I have a container of straws at home for our smoothies and we enjoy how cold the stainless ones become while slurping away.
  • Biodegradable choices. When we make purchasing decisions, companies listen, and there are various green choices in this category as it gains popularity. Materials vary but can be made from paper, bamboo, corn or even starch; many renewable and cheap choices. Depending on the substance, these can be composted or break down easily when discarded. Also, there is a new category of edible straws available for an interesting twist on straw usage.

Forgo plastic shopping bags estimates 1 trillion plastic bags are used and discarded every year. Even though a lot of these bags are recyclable, (though not in curbside streams; take them to participating stores with plastic bag recycling) resources are still harvested and expended for their creation. So what then?

  • Reusable bags. With a wide range of availability and materials, reusable bags are an obtainable choice. Some major stores even have discounts as incentives to BYOBag. I personally struggle with remembering them. As I empty them, I make a simple trip back out to my car to the place they belong. I have been known to abandon my cart in a store to go retrieve my reusable bags from the car.
  • No bags. Our cars can act as one giant bag. It might seem odd the first time or two, but especially with self-check out, it is easier than you may think. As items are scanned, place them on the checkout scale beside but not in the provided bags. Put the items back in the cart and load them into your vehicle, skipping the bagging process entirely. If you have your bags at home, use them to bring your items inside. Or keep a box in your trunk to help organize your purchases and haul them inside when you get home.

Forgo gift wrap

Hallmark estimates we expended $3.2 million on wrapping paper in America over the holidays. Instead of spending money for products destined for landfills, consider greener alternatives.

  • Hit the thrift store. Tins, boxes or baskets are great containers. Reusable, but also, able to be donated again if the recipient doesn’t want to keep the container.
  • Kid art. A way for me to use the endless amounts my kids create and share their latest work with those we love. Pro tip: take a picture of the art first.
  • Packaging part of the gift. Using a pillowcase, scarf, or even a nice reusable bag (especially for the price of some paper bags and who doesn’t try and reuse those anyway?) can be an opportunity to personalize or expand upon gift giving.

As humans we consume, but I encourage us all to strive to do so more mindfully. One simple thing can make us better stewards of our planet! Happy Earth Day!


  1. Yes! I love this! I always want to be more “green” but feel so hopeless on where to start. Thank you for giving some quick, easy ideas! I love the gift wrap alternatives and will definitely use that! My nephew’s birthday is this month and my daughter’s is in May! Love love love.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I like to think it doesn’t have to be all or nothing! Little things add up. And happy to encourage and inspire.

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