50 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day (even after it's over)

Every day is Earth Day! If you didn't know, Earth Day was this weekend.  

I personally spent my Earth Day relaxing because this month has been CRAZY, but it's been crazy in the most wonderful way. 

I was featured in Refinery 29, Real Simple, Global News, How Stuff Works, Accuweather, many others, and I got to host Well and Good's first Earth Month event in Los Angeles. 

It was a clean-up and it was amazing! A full post on the event to come soon.

50 ways to celebrate Earth Day even after it's over from www.goingzerowaste.com

what is earth day?

The first Earth Day was celebrated 48 years ago in 1970. Millions of people organized to protest the negative impacts of industrial development.The pollution and smog was negatively impacting the health of citizens and the development of children.

Biodiversity was declining as a result of pesticide use and the heavy pollution.

The movement to preserve the environment was gaining a lot of traction. In the same year, the Environmental Protection Agency was formed to protect the air and water. 

It's super important to protect our natural resources because we need them to live. 

We need clean air to breathe, and we need clean water to drink. 

Make no mistake, when we pollute the world - we're polluting ourselves. 

earth day 2018:

Earth day 2018 was all about plastic pollution! I have watched the movement to end plastic pollution just explode. It's so amazing. 

I feel very encouraged that we're going to see a massive shift in the industry and our attitudes towards plastic. 

celebrating earth day:

Earth Day is one of those days that everyone takes a little bit of time to fluff up their eco ego. They might buy a sustainable product or actually remember to bring their reusable bags to the grocery store. 

I would really like to encourage you to take Earth Day beyond just this weekend and into the rest of the year. To help you with that I have come up with 50 ways to fluff that eco ego 24/7. 

50 ways to celebrate earth day everyday: 

  1. Organize a clean-up for your community
  2. Pick up litter when you're out walking
  3. Don't throw out your food scraps, eat them!
  4. Compost in your apartment or compost in your backyard
  5. Commit to the big four
  6. Buy less
  7. Live local
  8. Use real-stuff - real plates, real forks, real knives
  9. Get involved in local government
  10. Find a local community
  11. Organize a talk at your local library to teach others 
  12. Set up a table at the farmers market to educate others
  13. Host a DIY party with your friends and spend the evening making toothpowder or non-greasy lotion
  14. Buy from the farmers market and chat with the farmers about their sustainable practices
  15. Eat seasonally
  16. Plant trees
  17. Start a garden, grow food from your scraps
  18. Get involved in your local Citizens Climate Lobby, Sierra Club, or another local organization
  19. Shop second hand first - here are some tips to find quality clothing
  20. Reapir, repair, repair
  21. Redistribute your resources and encourage the sharing community. 
  22. Try meatless Monday, weekday veg or vegan. Just start experimenting with some delicious plant based meals. Start with one meal and then add another and another. 
  23. If it's less than 2 miles walk or bike 
  24. Avoid wasting food
  25. Start a carpool sheet at work to reduce emissions
  26. Make sure you're recycling correctly
  27. Get involved with a community garden
  28. Grab public transportation
  29. Make a meal plan to avoid food waste
  30. Swap packaged processed snacks for fresh fruit or package free options
  31. Make your own cleaners
  32. Line dry your clothes
  33. Perform a trash-audit
  34. Sell-by and use-by don't mean a lot. Don't toss the food on first glance it's always safe to do a taste or smell test. Food can spoil before or after the dates. 
  35. Get outside and plug into nature. Nature is rejuvenating. 
  36. Get your office involved
  37. Buy food without packaging
  38. But, don't sweat it if you cant. Grab my tips for shopping without access to bulk bins
  39. Green your make-up routine
  40. And, your skin-care routine
  41. Opt for loose-leaf tea 
  42. Use refillable pods, pour over, or a french press
  43. Phase disposable products out for reusable products
  44. Grab tree-free or recycled TP opt for a bidet too
  45. Pull weeds, mulch, and help your local community park
  46. Start a recycling or composting program at work or school 
  47. Host a documentary showing in your community
  48. Send a letter to businesses asking that they implement more eco-friendly practices. Ask them to implement a straw on request only policy. Ask them to remove plastic from their packaging. 
  49. Get your green thumb on - use house plants to filter the air and open the windows
  50. Vote with your dollars, when buying something new support companies that give back and focus on sustainability

It's really important that we take the hype surrounding these eco holidays to hook people and encourage everyone to do a little more all year round. 

I would love to hear your ideas on how we can continue to celebrate. What would you add to the list? 

Is any step in the right direction, really a step in the right direction?

I have been doing a lot of soul searching these past few weeks. You may remember that I came down pretty hard on Starbucks for their cup initiative and how they were missing the mark.

I'm very aware that I don't have all of the answers so I decided to actually talk to a few companies about their sustainability efforts. After all, me, one person, never having run a giant corporation or dealing with sustainability on a mass scale, I could have over simplified things. 

is any step in the right direction still a step in the right direction? from www.goingzerowaste.com

After speaking with a few individuals, I learned that it is indeed more complicated than many of us, myself included, have made it out to be.

With sustainability, there is no right and wrong way. It's a whole bunch of gray matter. 

I wrote a whole post on this scenario called How to Make the Best Choice for the Environment. It's basically me talking about all of the labels and all of the ways things can be made. 

When going to purchase an item, I often run down a check list looking for different ways the product was made. Is it plastic-free? Is it zero waste? Was it made with recycled materials? Was it made ethically? etc, etc. 

Very rarely does any product meet this full criteria. 

When a product does meet this criteria, it's often a very small company who's designed their product and structured their company around environmental impact. 

Which is amazing, and we should absolutely support these companies!! 

However, this starts to get trickier as things scale. It also becomes trickier when you have a giant company who hasn't been formed around environmental impact and now want to change that.

These larger companies often have huge followings and are easily accessible allowing more of the population to partake in their sustainability initiatives. 

It's easy to forget, that a lot of people are not educated in sustainability... especially when it's something you eat, sleep, and breathe. (like me ;) A large company could help introduce someone to more sustainable products and peek their interest in other areas. 

So far, I've spoken with Clif Bar, Starbucks, Origins, and H&M about their sustainability efforts to try and greater understand where they're coming from. 

  • Clif Bar made their packaging as small as possible around the bars and saved one bars worth of packaging per box. Their boxes were designed to avoid plastic wrap.
  • Starbucks is making compostable cups as well as working on campaigns to incentivize BYOC
  • Origins has a take back program for their beauty products, and working on a way to close the loop
  • H&M trying to close the loop in textiles and has a climate positive goal by 2040

There are a lot of things going on in the background that we, the consumer, don't see. Several of these companies are even working on new technology to completely close the loop on their products, but it's just not ready yet.

Throughout all of these talks, a key thing that kept cropping up was how impossible it was to completely change overnight. 

Of course, a giant company can't just flip a switch and become completely sustainable in an instant.

I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I was so morally caught up in the crusade, I didn't even stop to think about the fact it's a process. I didn't go zero waste overnight. It was a process that took months and still isn't perfect.

Can you imagine what that looks like on a grand scale? When you have thousands of employees? 

For some reason, the same allowance and kindness I afford individuals, stopped when it came to companies. 

I talk about acceptance, kindness, and have repeatedly said, "It's not about perfection; it's about making better choices." 

I talk about baby steps and encouraging any positive change on all levels because if someone makes a change and we constantly tell them they're not doing good enough, what makes them want to press forward? 

Well, what do you know, the same thing applies to business too. I've found myself much more critical of companies trying to do better than companies not trying.

And, suddenly, this all just felt backwards. 

If all we did was criticize companies trying, why would they want to keep working on sustainability efforts? Wouldn't it also discourage companies without sustainability efforts from starting? 

Now, I'm not giving them a free pass by any means. What I'm saying is that we should rejoice and celebrate their sustainability efforts, while continuing to pressure for more change.

It's just another case of environmentalism not being black and white. 

So, I've decided to rejoice in sustainability efforts while using my platform as a voice to encourage companies to move forward and dig deeper. 

As many of you might have seen, I was featured in an article for Refinery 29. I was dressed in H&Ms Conscious Collection. 

I received a lot of unhappy comments on IG, and I get it, I do. But having been an actor, when you're on a photo shoot, in a commercial, or on set - you don't have an option on how you're dressed. 

When I learned that I was going to be dressed in the Conscious Collection, I thought about turning the interview down, but I decided having a platform to speak about zero waste and reach new people was totally worth it. 

Two gals from H&M actually came on set, and I got to speak with them about their sustainability efforts. I truly was impressed with what they're doing. Do I think they still have a ways to go? Absolutely. No large company is perfect, but they're going a lot farther than most. 

So, I'm rejoicing in their sustainability efforts, but I'll also be encouraging them to keep going. 

Alden from Eco Cult also wrote an amazing article on this called Why I will Continue to Shop at H&M (Sometimes) Please, check it out. 

5 Things I Love about Who Gives A Crap Recycled Toilet Paper

I am so excited to be working with Who Gives A Crap again. If you remember, I did a post last December focusing on their Bamboo Holiday Line.

This time we’re talking all about their line of recycled toilet paper. I just love these rolls, my favorite is the cheeky Emergency Roll.

5 things I love about who gives a crap recycled toilet paper from www.goingzerowaste.com
This post was sponsored by Who Gives A Crap, as always all thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information please see my disclosure page.
5 things I love about who gives a crap recycled toilet paper from www.goingzerowaste.com

1. it’s plastic free:

The rolls come in a cardboard box which you can recycle or reuse. If you go with the 48 roll box, it’s the perfect size for moving. List it on Craigslist or on Freecycle to help someone out.

The rolls are individually wrapped in paper which I either recycle or shred into small bits for my backyard compost. I really appreciate how much thought and care went into this decision.

Here’s what they had to say about it on their website, “We need to wrap rolls to keep them moisture free and hygienic - unfortunately we can’t just put them in a cardboard box unwrapped.

5 things I love about who gives a crap recycled toilet paper from www.goingzerowaste.com

We’ve explored a number of other options—wrapping 6-packs in paper, wrapping the whole bunch in plastic, etc.—wrapping each roll in paper made the most sense, economically, environmentally and from a design perspective. But, to fully offset the extra paper we’ve used, we’ve trimmed about 1mm off of each sheet of toilet paper—we bet you didn’t even notice!”

The toilet paper cores are also cardboard. I shred these and throw them in my backyard compost. Of course, you can recycle them too. Everything in the box is recyclable or compostable.

2. it’s festive:

Because I live in such a small space, I’m forced to keep my toilet paper on display. Thankfully, Who Gives a Crap is so cute, I don’t mind!

5 things I love about who gives a crap recycled toilet paper from www.goingzerowaste.com

It’s also a great conversation starter. When guests use the bathroom, they usually get a chuckle out of toilet paper called Who Gives A Crap.

I love easy conversation starters about reducing waste. The conversation just flows naturally and you don’t have to worry about coming off preachy or naggy.

3. it’s recycled:

And, not just a little recycled, it’s 100% recycled! It’s made of 100% post-consumer waste paper. Your toilet paper may have lived a previous life as a student’s textbook, VIPs itinerary, or even an artist’s doodle.

In true sustainable fashion, Who Gives A Crap sources their recycled paper from schools and offices local to their factory. Yes, they even know where their recycled paper is coming from proving their dedication to supply chain and transperency.

They pulp the clean fibers at super high temperatures to make sure the paper is biodegradable, it’s also safe in septic tanks, strong, and silky soft!

5 things I love about who gives a crap recycled toilet paper from www.goingzerowaste.com

There are no inks, dyes, or scents used in making their toilet paper. So you don’t have to worry about any endocrine disruptors when you wipe.  

Recycled paper also uses less water than the bamboo line. Saving water in the waste upstream is always a bonus!

4. it works great:

Being an awesome company is great, but your product has to be stellar. And, I can say, my hiney 100% approves.

My husband and I both use a bidet attachment for our toilet. This leaves our rears very wet, and we use toilet paper to keep everything dry.

5 things I love about who gives a crap recycled toilet paper from www.goingzerowaste.com

The recycled toilet paper holds up great. It doesn’t come apart in your hands, and it doesn’t leave little bits for later. Plus, it’s soft! Recycled paper can be scratchy, but Who Gives a Crap has manufactured the perfect roll.  

No one likes scratchy TP.

5. they give back:

I love companies that give back. For me, this is what sets companies apart. Companies that are actively involved in making the world a better place, get my vote.

Who Gives A Crap donates 50% of their profits to their charity partners, so they can help build toilets for the 2.3 billion people living without one. So far, they’ve donated over a million dollars and you can read more in their impact here.   

I think it's pretty clear why Who Gives A Crap will always be on my bathroom shelf. You should grab a box and you can get $10 off using this link.