Earth Day 2021: How to be sustainable at home
At Advocate Aurora Health, we understand the fundamental connection between having a healthy planet and healthy people. As such, we’re happy to celebrate the 51st Earth Day. And while social distancing in these difficult times means there won’t be any big gatherings and celebrations, you can help the planet by being sustainable at home.
Here are some tips:
- Reduce your energy use: Switch to LED lights, use natural lighting, turn your computer and monitor off at night, purchase ENERGY STAR devices, and unplug unused devices or use a smart strip to reduce your energy use. You can also perform a home energy audit using this guide.
- Use renewable energy: Consider installing solar at your residence or purchasing renewable energy and/or community solar with your utility. For more information about installing solar energy in WI go here and for community solar information in IL go here.
- Buy sustainability: Purchase products that are reusable, contain post-consumer recycled content, are compostable or recyclable, are locally sourced, or have green certifications. Always ask yourself if you need to purchase new or consider purchasing second-hand items.
- Recycle Right: Empty items of liquids and foods before recycling (they don’t need to be squeaky clean, just not full of food or liquid). And check on what is recyclable in your area. For items not accepted in your curbside recycling search here.
- Give unused items a new life: Give unused items a new life by “upcycling” them into a DIY or art project. Check here for upcycling ideas and here for kid’s art project ideas.
- Eat more plants and less meat: Adopting a more plant-based diet can lower your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, along with being better for the environment. Try going meatless for a day.
- Get growing! Growing plants can help support your health and the environment. For gardening tips go here ,and to find native plants search here. Choosing native plants can help reduce flooding, provide wildlife habitat, and they require less upkeep. For indoor tips go here.
- Green cleaning: Many conventional cleaners contain of chemicals that can contribute to pollution. Switching to green cleaners or DIY cleaners or disinfectants, where appropriate, can reduce pollution in your home. Follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for areas in need of disinfection.
- Limit water use, especially on rainy days: Doing laundry and using a lot of water during heavy rainfall can overburden water infrastructure and worsen flooding, wait a day if you can! Purchase low flow or WaterSense products and limit showers to seven minutes to reduce water use.
- Opt-out of junk mail and wasteful packaging: Register for digital bank statements and remove your name from junk mail lists. Reduce packaging by buying in bulk, purchasing less wasteful products, and having your online relater ship items together.
- Calculate your Green House Gas Footprint or Ecological Footprint.
- Watch an environmental documentary
- Check out an environmental book.
Advocate Aurora is a leader in sustainability and environmental stewardship. Our efforts toward environmental sustainability and wellness are rooted in our purpose to help people live well. For more information about our program go here.
About the Author
Travis is the Sustainability Specialist for Advocate Aurora Health. He primarily works on managing sustainability data (waste, green purchasing, energy usage, etc.), system sustainability education, and on waste and energy reduction projects for the system.