April 22nd officially marks 50 years of celebrating Earth Day, and in honor of the holiday, now is the perfect opportunity to take action for a “greener” world. While volunteering to pick up trash on the side of the road, collecting recyclables and getting outside to enjoy the warmer spring weather are oftentimes popular Earth Day activities, there’s so much more that we can do to help protect and restore our planet the other 364 days of the year.
Simple, eco-friendly lifestyle changes can go a long way when it comes to saving the earth and helping people all across the St. Louis region breathe easier. Here are some helpful tips to consider for celebrating Earth Day each and every day to keep the air quality in healthy ranges:
- Shop greener – As quarantine periods wear on, shopping for essential items like groceries, baby products, pet supplies and cleaning agents online is a greener alternative and ideal for staying safe during these unprecedented times. Try consolidating your online orders to one store to reduce excess packaging and fuel consumption from large transport trucks to keep the air clean. When it comes to your household products, replace single-use, disposable items with “green” products that are reusable, sustainably sourced or made of recycled materials.
- Ditch the plastic bottles – At this very minute, people around the world are buying a million plastic bottles, and most of these bottles will end up in landfills or in the ocean. Not only does the production of plastic water bottles contribute significant amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, their litter lingers for years on end. Instead of buying single-use bottles, consider purchasing a reusable water bottle you can take with you and refill as needed to cut down on unnecessary waste and help improve air quality.
- Avoid idling your vehicle – Idling engines produce thousands of tons of toxic pollution, including air toxins which are known to cause cancer, respiratory and reproductive effects, birth defects and various other health concerns. For every 10 minutes your engine is off, you’ll help to prevent one pound of carbon dioxide from being released into our air. Experts also note that 10 minutes of idling a day wastes 27 gallons of fuel a year, thus, choosing not to idle is another great way to save fuel and money!
- Turn off lights and appliances not in use – Computers, tablets and other electrical devices still use electricity when plugged in, even though they may be idle. Once you wrap up working from home for the day, be sure to power down your computer and unplug any unnecessary electronics. Additionally, if you have to leave the house, do a walk-through to turn off all the lights, as energy production is a key source of air pollution. Doing so will help clean the air by reducing harmful emissions!
Although the current stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements have resulted in the postponement of the St. Louis Earth Day Festival this year, area residents can take their celebrations one step further by participating in a series of virtual events at https://earthday-365.org/, happening now thru April 26.
To learn more about the link between living greener and our air quality, visit our website tips section at www.cleanair-stlouis.com, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.