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Earth Day! Tips on How to be More Sustainable


Hello flame,

In the spirit of Earth Day, today’s post is all about simple things you can do to be more sustainable.


Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Help Protect the Earth

*Tips were taken directly from the National Ocean Service

  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Cut down on what you throw away. Follow the three “R’s” to conserve natural resources and landfill space.
  • Volunteer. Volunteer for cleanups in your community. You can get involved in protecting your watershed, too.
  • Educate. When you further your own education, you can help others understand the importance and value of our natural resources.
  • Conserve water. The less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater that eventually end up in the ocean.
    • Tip: turn off the faucet in between brushing your teeth, or washing dishes.
  • Choose sustainable. Learn how to make smart seafood choices at
  • Shop wisely. Buy less plastic and bring a reusable shopping bag.
  • Use long-lasting light bulbs. Energy-efficient light bulbs reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also, flip the light switch off when you leave the room!
    • Tip: Try visiting local stores and or small businesses for the purchase of energy-efficient lightbulbs. #shoplocal
  • Plant a tree. Trees provide food and oxygen. They help save energy, clean the air, and help combat climate change.
  • Don’t send chemicals into our waterways. Choose non-toxic chemicals in the home and office.
  • Bike more. Drive less.

Other tips:

*Tips are taken from SELF: 7 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Help the Environment. To view the full post visit here: 

  • Find your local food kitchen
    • If you’re still buying more than you can eat, consider another possibility before trashing that still-good grub. Lots of people in need would really appreciate the bag of bagels you were just about to discard.
    • Find a local food bank and ask what kinds of food donations they accept.
  • Understand expiration dates
    • We don’t recommend anyone eat curdled yogurt for the sake of saving the environment, but if you’re tossing bread and OJ as soon as they hit the sell-by date, you could be wasting a lot of perfectly good grub.
    • Food expiration dates actually refer to the product’s quality, not its safety. And there’s a difference between “sell-by” (the deadline for retailers to sell the product) and “use-by” (the date when the product starts to lose its quality and flavor.)
    • A bunch of techniques can help extend the shelf life of everything in the kitchen. One is to keep the fridge and freezer cool enough — 40°F (4°C) and 0°F (-18°C), respectively — and unpack groceries as soon as you get home from the store.
  • Learn to love leftovers
    • No one likes eating the same food every day but try to be more eco-friendly by making your food last.
    • Tip: Put on your chef’s hat and experiment making  NEW food dishes with leftover dishes. new dishes
  • Create a compost pile
    • You don’t need to live on a farm, or even have a big backyard to try this eco-friendly disposal method. Composting means recycling nutrients back into the ecosystem, which keeps food out of landfills and waterways while making the garden greener.
    • Some communities have local composting programs. Or, start your own compost indoors. (Worms are optional; we promise.)
  • Say goodbye to meat, just for one day a week.
  • Recycle paper, batteries, plastics, glass, used oil, tires, and more.
    • For most everything in your home and office, you can try to recycle it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers valuable resources for you to tap into when you have items to get rid of, but aren’t sure if you can actually recycle them. It’s always a good idea to check first since recycling can help reduce the amount of waste in landfills, saves natural resources like timber and water, and saves energy overall. Find a recycling center near you (even one that picks up your stuff!) at
    • Tip: recycle batteries and export makers here at UIC recycling bins. You can find a battery recycling station on the 2nd floor of SCE.
  • Buy less stuff.
    • A great general rule of thumb to help our planet is to just stop buying so much stuff. Simply cutting down on the number of purchases you make in a week—whether it’s groceries, flowers, clothes, or shoes—can help reduce your carbon footprint. First, almost any new physical good requires raw materials from the earth to make it, energy to process it, fuel to ship it, and so on. Plus you won’t be eventually getting rid of all that stuff down the line. It’s one of the simplest ways to help the environment.
  • Save your trash from landfills and start cultivating a compost.
    • About 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away in terms of food scraps and yard waste should be composted instead, according to the EPA. So if you have a back yard, starting your own compost pile is an easy way to cut down on how much trash you’re sending to a landfill. You can compost everything from fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags, and anything yard related from grass clippings, to leaves to wood chips, to hair and fur.
    • Tip: You can start your own compost at home, or check out if there are any near you at
      • To get started, all you need are three things: some brown organic material, some green organic material, and water. Mix dead leaves, branches, or twigs with grass clippings, vegetable scraps, or fruit peels. Then add water. You should have about the same ratio of brown stuff to green stuff to get your compost going. Check out the list on about what should go in a compost (sawdust, vacuum cleaner lint, fireplace ashes) and what shouldn’t (coal, dairy products, fat, and meat scraps).
  •  Make the switch to a reusable water bottle for once and for all.
    • If you’re already using a reusable water bottle at your desk, at the gym, and around the house, go you! If not, now is the time to make that official switch. Pretty much any water bottle you can reuse is better than using a plastic one once and then throwing it away.
    • Americans buy enough plastic water bottles to circle the earth five times each week, according to the EPA. That is an atrocious amount of plastic that is then wasted.
  • Whenever you buy anything, try to support businesses with eco-conscious practices.
    • The great news is more and more brands are trying to give back in some way, whether it’s a one-for-one program, Fair Trade Certified, or they use sustainable business practices. “Look for the Fair Trade Certified™ seal on products when you shop. All Fair Trade items—from coffee and tea, to coconut water, seafood, and even apparel—were made or grown according to rigorous environmental and social standards. It’s an easy way to do good,” Jenna Larson, senior communications manager at Fair Trade, tells SELF.
    • When you buy a water bottle (or anything, for that matter), it can be helpful to look for companies that donate some of their revenue back to a good cause. There are a broad range of companies that participate in One Percent for the Planet, where corporations or individuals promise to give back 1 percent of their annual sales (or annual salary), directly to approved environmental nonprofits. There are over 1,200 member businesses you can indirectly donate to when you go shopping.

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