Happy Earth Day! Mother Earth gives us so much — beautiful trees that provide a habitat for singing birds; healing plants that give us oxygen to breathe; the soothing ocean that helps to form clouds that give us fresh water; and majestic rainforests that provide freshwater, energy, biodiversity and medicinal plants. It's up to us to protect the planet and Earth Day is the perfect reminder of how we can be more conscious about our daily habits that could be detrimental to the planet and ultimately to our own health. It's not necessarily about perfection, it's about making a conscious effort and be more mindful about our daily habits and conveniences. Recycling is no longer enough (plus less than 25% of what we recycle actually gets recycled). A friend challenged me to craft a blog listing 50 things we can do without so I took him up on the challenge! :D And I realized there is a lot that I could do without to help make the planet a better place. Let me know what you would add to the list.
  1. Plastic single-use water bottles: Not only do they contain particles of plastic that you ingest upon drinking, but consider this fun fact from Ban The Bottle: Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year. Invest in a fun water bottle and water purification system.
  2. Plastic produce bags: These reusable eco-green produce bags are cute and eco-friendly so plastic never has to be used at the store again.
  3. Plastic shopping bags: (Not new news.) Reusable bags can easily by kept in the car. Still not convinced about the detrimental effects of plastic on both our health and the environment? Read this
  4. Straws: Crazy fact — over 500 straws are used daily in America alone. See why straws seriously suck for us, marine life and our oceans. 
  5. Balloons: when released, balloons can end up in the bellies of wildlife and sea life as they mistaken balloons as food. The end result is fatal for them. See more from the Fish and Wildlife Service
  6. Lights on when it’s light outside: Let the natural light shine in for your health and vitamin D production!
  7. Swiffer pads: Use old rags lying around the house. Plug into the little grooves and swiff away! Wash and reuse.
  8. Paper towels: Check out these twelve alternatives to paper towels from Huffington Post. 
  9. Qtips: They aren’t recommended anyway. See this article from Atlanta Hearing Associates. Using a q-tip may actually cause worse damage to your ears by pushing earwax in even further and there’s a risk of harming the eardrum. Instead try this: Mix a solution of half alcohol and half white vinegar in a bottle with a dropper (great way to recycle old bottles) and add a couple of drops in your ear after a shower or swim.
  10. Liquid body soap: To ditch plastic packaging, purchase bar soap with minimal to no packaging. 
  11. Keurig cups: This sentence sums up K cups — "Some say it won’t be possible, ever, to make a K-Cup that is anything short of an environmental shit storm." See more here
  12. Plasticware: Look for eco-friendly solutions for your next party like this disposable cutlery line that is made from plants and biodegradable.
  13. Individually packaged, single-use anything: Things like single use water bottles, any food products, etc. Buy in bulk and spoon out into a reusable glass jars as needed and place the food jars on the counter for a pretty decoration.
  14. 50 pair of shoes (jeans, workout pants, etc): Not sure about you, but I typically only wear the same pair of jeans or shoes ninety percent of the time. 
  15. Business cards: Save a tree, add contacts directly into your phone or computer.
    1. Greeting cards: Save money and make a call or schedule a lunch date instead. After all, real connection creates a happy mind.
    2. Dryer sheets: They are toxic to our health and the environment. Here are seven reasons to ditch them. 
    3. Mail order catalogs: Ask companies to stop sending them and check out their offerings online.
    4. Cleaning supplies: See these 12 homemade cleaning recipes from Huffington Post.  
    5. Disposable single-use plastic floss: Does anyone else find these gross things randomly on the ground in parks and parking lots? 
    6. Styrofoam: Vegetable-based starch that dissolves in water is available here.
    7. Extra packaging and boxes for shipping. 
    8. Food coloring: Check out this fun guide on how to create natural food coloring through plants. 
    9. Soy lecithin in chocolate. It's not necessary. 
    10. Meat: See our post from last week on why meat is no good for the environment. 
    11. Dairy: Read about dairy's effect on the environment here
    12. Candles: Add coffee beans to recycled candle holders and place them around your house for a lovely coffee scent all day long.
    13. Souvenouirs: Nothing recreates awesome memories like vacation photos! Leave the sourvenirs behind.
    14. Knick knacks: Decorate with eco-friendly things that will uplift your health like plants, coffee beans in old candle holders and feel-good photos in recycled frames.
    15. Plastic hangers.
    16. Meeting badges in those plastic holders that hang around your neck.
    17. Paper receipts: Use email.
    18. Down: Here's a great overview of down and options for alternatives from Tree Hugger
    19. Wool: Lots of alternatives. See why wool wreaks havoc on the environment.
    20. Palm oil: See our article about the effects of palm oil on the environment here
    21. A plastic bag to recycle plastics.
    22. Moisturizers: Try this three-ingredient homemade moisturizer from Root + Revel.
    23. Toner: Brew a pot of potent tea (green tea combined with antioxidant-powered hibiscus is great) and use it as a base for toner. Add healing oils like anti-bacterial tea tree, anti-aging frankincense or antioxidant-rich rosemary oil.
    24. Exfoliant: Check out these five ways to naturally exfoliate from Mother Nature Network. 
    25. Shampoo and conditioner: Try these DIY shampoo and conditioner ideas from Wellness Mama.
    26. Paper napkins: See these eco-friendly suggestions from Thrifty Fun. 
    27. New {{fill in the blank — clothes, accessories, picture frames, etc}}: Thrift shopping is so much fun plus you save money while recycling a product.
    28. New books: Borrow from a friend or visit a library.
    29. Wrapping paper: Use paper shopping bags, fabric scraps, newspaper, tins or jars.
    30. "Sawn-down" Christmas trees.
    31. Big SUVs.
    32. Clothes that require dry-cleaning.
    33. Gift, gifts & more gifts: Donations as gifts are all the rage now. 
    34. "Artificial" plants: Living house plants can help you breathe better, ward off colds, clean the air, boost healing and improve focus and concentration.
    35. High thermostat settings: Use natural sunlight to keep your place warm or close shades to keep it cool. Pretty simple stuff. 
    36. Beauty blender: Recycle an old bra or try this sustainable cosmetic sea sponge.
    37. Poop bags: Look for biodegradable bags to clean up after your pup or kitty. Here's a comprehensive guide on why it's better to use biodegradable and where to get them. 
    38. Politicians who don't believe in climate change. (JK :D)

    What would you add to the list? 

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