5 things you can do today for Earth Day (and everyday!)

April 21, 2017


Earth Day is an annual call-to-action holiday that encourages organizations and individuals in 192 countries worldwide to pause and think how to effect positive environmental change. On an individual scale, there are easy ways to save energy and reduce landfill waste. Here are 5 ideas to get you started:


1- Repair 5 items from your closet. Before you buy something new, look through your closet for clothing that still fits, but needs to be repaired. If there are ripped seams, small tears or broken zippers, mend them yourself or bring them to a tailor. You can also hem dirty, frayed edges, reattach a strap, or sew-in loose buttons. Repairing just five items equals around 3 or 4 lbs of textile that stays out of the garbage. (Note: An average person in the United States throws away about 70 lbs of textile waste every year) Here are some repair tips: http://www.marthastewart.com/274965/how-to-patch-a-hole-mend-a-seam-and-fix#230363


2- Hang up your clothes to dry.  An average dryer uses 3.3 kilowatt hours of energy. You can buy steel collapsible clotheslines for indoors or simply tie a rope between two trees outside. Here’s a fun example of a DIY outdoor clothesline made with wooden posts: http://diydiva.net/2012/07/diy-weekend-project-how-to-build-a-kickass-clothesline/

If you do use a dryer, try these tips to save energy: 
  1. Dry two loads one after the other while the machine is already warmed up.
  2. Clean out the lint trap for better air circulation.
  3. Use full, but not overfull, loads.
  4. Use wool dryer balls. Wool balls help to shorten the drying cycle by 25 percent, reducing energy and helping you save money. The all-natural balls can be used for years and do they not leach chemicals into clothes like dryer sheets or fabric softener, yet manage to fluff and soften fabric nicely. They also reduce static and wrinkles. They work by bouncing around between the clothes, allowing hot air to circulate efficiently. To make your own wool-yarn balls, see this tutorial: https://www.diynatural.com/how-to-make-wool-dryer-balls/



3 - Use Cora balls to catch polyester microfibers. A new product on Kickstarter, Cora balls are said to catch the microfibers that are released when poly-blend clothing is machine washed. The microfibers build up in the waterways and shorelines, potentially damaging the marine life that swallow them. University of California at Santa Barbara researchers recently found that manmade fleece jackets release around 1.7 grams of microfibers every wash. As the jackets age, more fibers, almost twice as many, are released. Learn more about Cora balls here:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/879498424/cora-ball-microfiber-catching-laundry-ball



4 - Don’t wash your clothes after every use. To air out clothing between uses, place clothing on a hanger on the back of your closet door, or on a drying rack or in a roomy place in the closet. Jackets, sweaters and jeans can all be worn multiple times before they need to be washed. Save daily washing for undershirts, underwear and socks. Otherwise, if it doesn’t smell, hang it. ;)

5- Bring a bag of clothing to Goodwill or donate it to a friend. There’s no need to throw out used clothing. Even clothes with stains, holes and rips can be repaired or recycled. Goodwill’s staff sorts through donations, deciphering which clothes they will resell at their stores and which will be sold to recyclers. Depending on the quality of the clothes, also consider consignment stores, especially for children’s lightly used items. Many neighborhoods and communities throw garage sales for charity, search for places to drop off your clothes or create your own event. Learn more about garage sale fundraisers: https://www.fundraisingforacause.com/tips-for-a-successful-garage-sale.html


What are your favorite things to do for Earth Day?

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