We all know it’s easy to say that we should take better care of the planet, but there is a lot of guess work and research needed to implement some of these actions. So Rogue Mom has tied herself to the computer trying to make positive change a little easier for all of us with tips and research on Ways to Celebrate Earth Day!
So pick one or all, but either way, find your cause to help make this a better place for our next generation. Happy Earth Day!
1. Pick-Up Trash or Organize a Community Clean-Up
Whenever we go hiking or to the beach, we try to pick up trash we see along our route. As Wild Style and Gadget Girl are still pretty young and prone to put their fingers in their mouths, I am weary of letting them pick up just anything they see on the ground. So, they help out either by pointing out the trash for me; asking me if it’s safe to pick up; or, if available, wear gloves if we are doing an organized pick up. Just think of those extra squats you will get in by reaching down! Every piece you pick up helps our environment not matter how small. For older children, getting them to organize a community clean-up day or participate in one is a great goal.
2. Start A Compost
Yes, I know this may sound overwhelming as it’s not just a matter of scraping your plate into a can, so here are a few different resources I found to get this started. We are going to try the same at our own house, so I’ll keep you updated on our progress.
At Home Composting:
There are a few different options here. You’ll either need an outside bin or inside bin and there are different methods for each one.
Option 1 – Spinning Outside Bins: To help with decomposition, a good compost needs to be aerated by turning it over regularly. There are many options online or in stores as well.
Option 2 – DIY Compost Bin from Old: This is probably the most affordable option but above all, my personal saw skills.. Here’s a video that demonstrates how to do it and is worth watching even if you don’t choose this method.
Option 3 – Make a Worm Bin: Yes, I’m sure this is the one our little nerds will choose! There are many different kits that you can purchase but this is a nice write up of how to create your own which is a less expensive option. Warning – this option can force the worms out of the holes if the material you use isn’t the right ph level. The best temperature for the worm bin is 60-80 degrees, so consider that before you put the bin outside during the winters.
Here are the instructions for how to make your own bin, click here.
Need worms? Click here!
And the Nerd in me is MOST excited about this awesome chart that explains what red worms can eat.
And to make sure those slippery sliders don’t get out of the bin, you can start with Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm Real Worm Compost instead of waiting for your own shreds to decompose before adding worms.
Option 4 – Curbside Collection : This seems pretty convenient if your city has this service. Check out this site to see if your state has this service
And also google “food scrap collection ‘your city and state’” as some of the smaller services aren’t listed on find a composter.
Also make sure you know what can be composted and what cannot. Here is a another great chart (yeah!) from The Compost Plant which is a local company that provides service for some wonderful businesses and institutions.
3. Plant A Bee-Friendly Garden
Bees love native wildflowers, herbs, berries and the flowering part of many fruits and vegetables. You’ll need to do a little research either online or at a local nursery to figure out what is native to your region and will attract the bees. There are loads of options and wildflowers are one of the easiest things to grow. And now they make wildflower “bombs” that can be used to easily plant. Click here for to find the right wildflower bombs that grow well in the Northeast of the US.
Bees also need water to survive, so consider adding a bird bath or some other shallow water source to your garden. Or you can just simply water the flowers frequently as standing water is unfortunately a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Which brings me to the next Earth Day action — A Rain Barrel.
4. Use A Rain Barrel to Collect Water For Your Yard, Garden, and Potted Plants
Save money and resources by adding a rain barrel to your outdoor gutter system. There are many options for rain barrels, so let your budget and your design style guide you on this decision. Options that look like wine barrels … (oh maybe that’s just me!).
Other options include “Feel Good” barrels made from recycled plastic and even ones disguised as potted plants. Whichever rain barrel you choose, make sure you do a little work to make sure it doesn’t become a breeding factory for mosquitos. There are a few options to help avoid the Zika virus:
- Use one tablespoon of eco-friendly liquid dish soap once a week or after each storm. Do you know why this works? The soap creates a film on the surface of the water which breaks the surface tension and prevents mosquitoes from being able to sit on the surface and lay their eggs. Experiment with your kids at home with a bowl of water and food coloring.
- Use a Mosquito Dunk once a month or as needed. Dunks are made of a bacteria called BTI (Bacillus Thuringiensis Israelensis) that kills mosquito larvae. It dissolves slowly which is why you can do this monthly.
- Use ¼ cup vegetable oil once a week or after each storm. Another cool one to show budding scientists…simply mix oil and water in a glass and allow the oil to separate. Oil will always float to the top and in our rain barrel scenario, the mosquito larvae will suffocate in the oil.
5. Clean House with a Chemical Clean-Up
Do a sweep of the household products you’re using and see what can be swapped for environmentally safe ingredients. Here are a few examples of what we eliminated in our house. Stock up on a large bottle of white vinegar and jumbo-sized box of baking soda. You can purchase these affordably any big box store.
- Bye Bye Bleach – it’s bad for the world and bad for you. For clothing that is stained, try an eco-friendly version. We use Babyganics even though my kids aren’t babies anymore! For carrot stains (pureed carrots for babies), simply leave clothing in bright sunlight for 1-2 days before washing and the stain will be gone.
- So No to Draino – For clogged drains, pour one full pot or kettle of boiled water down the drain. Follow with as much baking soda as possible and then pour in white vinegar and cover the drain with a cover. Allow it to take action and then rinse with another pot of boiled water. This ends up being a household affair as the kids love making massive vinegar “explosions” in the bathroom!For very clogged drains, try a plastic cleaning tool that will pull up hair and other grime. These are the ones we have and I clean it after use instead of throwing away and keep the plastic out of the landfill.
- Sayonara Sanitizers/Harsh Chemicals. Nearly everything can be cleaned with some combination of Vinegar, Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide. To sanitize a dishwasher, put a glass cup nearly full of vinegar on the top shelf and run the dishwasher on the hottest setting. To get rid of the smell in a front-loading washing machine, first figure out how to drain your machine and clean the filter. YES washing machines have filters! Then run the machine on a hot setting with baking soda and vinegar in the main drum. Or put vinegar in the soap dispenser and baking soda in the main drum. Use hydrogen peroxide mixed with water to clean out humidifiers.
- Schedule A Hazardous Materials Pick-Up or Drop-Off – Help keep these chemicals out of our landfills. Household hazardous waste includes the following:
- Batteries – automotive and rechargeable nickel cadmium batteries (no alkaline batteries)
- Oil-based paints
- Fluorescent light bulbs and lamps
- Pool chemicals
- Propane tanks
- Lawn chemicals, fertilizers and weed killers
- Bug sprays
- Paint thinners, strippers, varnishes and stains
- Arts and crafts chemicals
- Charcoal lighter fluid
- Drain clog dissolvers
- Driveway sealer
- Flea dips, sprays and collars
- Houseplant insecticides
- Metal polishes
- Motor oil and filters
- Muriatic acid (concrete cleaner)
- Nail polishes and nail polish removers
- Oven cleaner
- Household pest and rat poisons
- Rug and upholstery cleaners
- Shoe polish
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Beat It Microbeads – Not a chemical technically but still an easy one to eliminate. These are those little plastic beads that are in so many cosmetics and face washes. For face scrubs, look for all-natural scrubbers such as peach. This face scrub has been on the market for years and can be used as a body scrub as well. Just be gentle when you scrub with natural ingredients as they are larger and can make your pores look larger if you scrub with a lot of pressure.
We hope you Nerds will bring a few of these ideas into your own homes. Share back with us what your plans are for Earth Day and if you have other recommendations or ideas about ways to do these, share back! We love nerding together!
Earth Day Out – Rogue Mom
To learn more on how to help save the planet, read How to Explore Your World and Save the Planet with Social Entrepreneur Philippe Cousteau.