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Flowers in front of the Main Library in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Kathryn Skeean)

Every year on April 22,Earth Day comes to summon a brotherhood of appreciation for this great planet we call home. In honor of this environmental holiday, we’ve compiled 10 easy ways to be kinder to the planet day by day. With these new practices, Earth can be celebrated as if everyday is Earth Day.

1. Eat locally or at home.

With so many great restaurants in Athens, eating locally can be a fun way to try something new. Eating from local restaurants or farmers markets cuts down on the costs associated with food transportation. If eating out isn’t an option, try cooking a new meal at home. Cooking at home and saving spare food in reusable containers cuts down on the waste generated from take out containers.  

2. Donate or resell items.

When clothes, books, furniture or other items no longer serve you, donate or resell them. This increases the lifespan of these items and keeps them out of landfill. Research local shelters or clothing drives in the area where your items may be new for someone else.

3. Try a reusable shopping bag.

Odds are you or someone you know has a cabinet or closet full of plastic shopping bags they keep around. While some may get used, most will end up in the trash. Instead of having to add more plastic to the pile, try using a reusable shopping bag. Not only are they sturdier and longer lasting than traditional plastic, storing them in a car keeps you prepared for even the most last minute of grocery runs.

4. Use natural light.

Now that Daylight Savings has kicked in, there’s even more sunlight available than before. Instead of turning on lights and lamps, save the planet (and your wallet) by utilizing natural light whenever possible. And what’s more, natural light leads to more productivity and increased energy, something many of us could use a little bit more of, according to a study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

5. Try going paperless.

Nowadays, everything is done online. Cut down on needless paper by having notices, subscriptions, and statements sent to you via email. Organizing your files online can also help cut down on cluttered counters and desks.

6. Get a reusable water bottle or coffee cup.

Ditch the plastic bottle and paper cups by opting for reusable options. Aside from cutting down on unnecessary waste, several stores offer discounts for patrons who get their daily joe in a reusable cup. Here are four coffee establishments in Athens that accept reusable cups.

7. Go meatless.

While cutting out meat altogether may not be realistic for everyone, small changes like going meatless one day a week can still make a difference. Doing “Meatless Mondays” can be a fun way to challenge friends and family to be more environmentally conscious.

8. Try new forms of entertainment.

Warmer weather is the perfect excuse to be outside more. Instead of settling down to watch a new show or movie, reading a book outside or being active is a great way to reduce your daily use of electricity and get a daily dose of vitamin D.

9. Repurpose your items.

Instead of throwing away boxes, containers or old clothes, find new ways to repurpose them. The internet is full of crafty DIYs that can turn old T-shirts into dish rags, boxes into compost bins and containers into handy storage items.

10. Educate yourself.

Everyday is a good day to learn a little bit more about how to treat the planet better. Research local events in your area that contribute to or promote sustainability or try out an environmentally aware documentary or book. The more you know, the more we can help the planet grow.

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