What can you do to help?While this is obviously a worthwhile cause, it can sometimes be hard to know what you can be doing to help. Here are a few tips of small changes you can make that will have a positive impact on our planet both now and for future generations...
1. Create your 'Own act of Green'This is a part of the campaign where you can pledge what you will do to make a change. It doesn’t even have to be specific to this year’s cause to reduce plastic waste (although that would still be good). Their website has different pledges other people have made to inspire you, especially if you don’t know what action you will take. Make your pledge at earthday.org and encourage your friends to do the same.
2. Make an effort to recycle ALL recyclable plasticsWe’ve all been there; forgetting which recycling bin is for what and just putting it all in the same black bin bag ready to be collected, but this is the worst thing you can do! Your local town council's website should detail their recycling strategy, and how to recycle different materials. The average family throws away 40kg of plastic every year that could be recycled. If every household made a concerted effort to recycle just some of that waste properly, this would see a huge reduction in plastic waste. Find out more about the different types of plastics with this handy guide.
3. Avoid plastic that you know will go into landfillAccording to Plastic Free UK, plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose in a landfill. However, everyone can make small changes to reduce the amount of plastic that is not recycled. A change that is becoming widely recognised is avoiding single-use plastic straws or coffee cups. You can buy paper/non-plastic straws and reusable flasks that you can take to your local coffee shop - a lot of places are even offering discounts for those bringing in their own cups.
4. Remember to take your shopping bagsAccording to the UK government website, in 2014, 61,000 tonnes of plastic bags were given away to customers, the majority of which would have gone to a landfill. It's easy to forget to take a bag, especially on an impromptu trip to the supermarket, but buying plastic bags every time you shop has a negative impact on the environment (and your bank balance). With the 5p plastic bag charge well-under way, most people are deterred by that extra cost, but we still have a long way to go. Make a pledge to yourself that you will always try to carry a bag, but if you forget, you will pay for a 'bag for life' that you will actually re-use.
We don't need an excuse to save the world, but Earth Day provides a way for us to truly reflect on our personal environmental impact.
See Earth Day's website for more and be kind to the planet this Sunday.