How To Make Every Day Earth Day

When I was in seventh grade I was still in religion class every Saturday morning.  I wasn’t much for the class, the teacher we had that year didn’t seem very interested in teaching us about the bible and stuff either, so we all just hung out for an hour on Saturday mornings.

“We need to do something today, it’s a nice day out,” the teacher said.  He pulled out a bag that had enough pairs of gloves for all of us.  “Let’s go do some community service.  It sure beats sitting in here all morning.”  We pulled on our gloves.

“Wait, you want us to do what?” one of us asked.

“It’s spring, there’s a lot of litter around the church and the school.  Let’s go pick it up,” the teacher replied.

We were all grossed out at first.  But then it got to be a bit addictive.  I got under the bushes and collected the McDonald’s bags, the plastic wrap clinging to the branches, the cigarette butts.  I filled my bag, then another.  We piled all of our bags in the dumpster.  It took us an hour and the grounds were completely clean.  I felt like I’d accomplished something, more than I would have sitting in the classroom learning about something I didn’t believe in anyway.

After seeing all those bags piled up in the dumpster, I knew I needed to make changes.  Over the years after that I slowly introduced habits to reduce my negative impact on the environment.  I am not perfect, but I sincerely believe that it’s the little things we do every day will add up to make a large difference if we all make small changes.

Here are a few ideas that you can adopt to make your tiny but gigantic changes for our planet:

Refuse the straws.  Why do we feel the need to drink out of plastic tubes?  And do you know where those tubes end up after we’re done? 

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music refuses straws to save the earth.


Use applicator free tampons.  When I was 15 I switched to OB tampons and never went back.  Imagine how many plastic tube applicators I kept from joining the trash stream, or worse. 

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music stopped using tampon applicators

Pick up litter where ever you go.  When I haul my bins out to the curb on Sunday night, I walk up and down the roadside near my house and across the street and pick up any stray trash and throw it into the bins.  Imagine if everyone on my street did this!  We'd have no litter in our neighborhood. I also have been known to pick up trash when at the beach, or walking across a parking lot.  It doesn’t take any extra effort to pick up a piece or trash or two on your route, and those pieces of trash turn into pounds of trash disposed properly over time.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music picks up litter on the road.

Shop with reusable bags.  I am guilty of forgetting mine.  So I got a few that fold up and keep them in my purse this way I am using some reusable bags when I shop.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music uses reusable grocery bags.

Recycle your shopping bags. If I’ve gotten home with plastic shopping bags, I put them into one of my reusable bags.  This way the next time I go to the supermarket, I can recycle them in the bin at the front of the store and use my reusable bag when I am there to shop.  I also recycle things like bread bags, plastic from dry cleaning, etc.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music recycles plastic bags.

Learn how your city or town recycles, and follow their instructions to the letter.  Some towns only accept plastic containers made from a specific kind of plastic.  Learn how it’s done, and do it right.  Rinse the jars and yogurt tubs. Break down the cardboard box you just got your Amazon shipment in.  I follow my town’s sanitation department on Facebook so I can learn about changes in recycling procedures.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music recycles.

If we each do a little bit, we’ll accomplish quite a lot.  Try to change a habit or two today, and save our planet.

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

added on 04.20.18

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