Earth Day, Not Just a Sexy Hashtag

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Earth Day (earthday.org) is a movement designed to bring awareness to climate change and the small changes we can all make to help improve the environment and the planet’s ecosystems. Its annual event (online and otherwise) features tons of panels, events, and speakers, designed to educate and inspire people to do better for the planet. While we know many changes have to come from industry, government policy, and business, there is A LOT we can do at home that will make a difference. I’ve always been about making small meaningful changes, and doing a few things differently at home can have a real impact.

This year’s theme for Earth Day is Restore Our Earth, something we can all start thinking about after a year of disposables (wipes, masks, gloves, plastic bags, etc.). On April 22, EarthDay.org will have a virtual summit starting at 12 PM ET where participants can learn about natural processes, emerging green technologies, and new ideas about how we can work to restore our planet. The website features tons of free events you can register for.

WATCH: 6 Simple Ways To Reduce Waste (and SAVE $$!)

What Exactly is a “Circular Economy”?

The Circular Economy is a buzzword circulating these days, but it is an actual thing—if you’re unfamiliar with what it means, the idea is to find ways to pull as much out of the waste stream as possible by re-circulating and repurposing materials (with minimal processing). In fact, the Circularity Gap Report finds that 22.8 billion tonnes of annual emissions associated with creating new products from virgin materials can be eliminated by applying circular strategies.

Skittles Goes Circular

Skittles’ packaging will be going from petrochemical-based plastic to Nodax PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), a biodegradable alternative to petrochemical plastic. Keep an eye out for other innovations like this.

Coffee Cup Math

We know there’s a problem with plastic lid waste generated by the millions of cups of coffee sold each day. Lids take up more than 8x more ocean waste than straws do (and we know how bad those are), New York City alone uses 4 million coffee cup lids per day. That’s why the Unocup was designed. The founders were inspired by origami to create a lid that folds over the coffee cup creating a perfect spout for your coffee without the plastic waste. The design has won Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Award in the Packaging Category. While the cups have been used in small coffee shops, we’re waiting to see if plastic-free innovations like this make it to larger coffee chains (we’re looking at you, green mermaid). Here’s to hoping.

Some Eco-Friendly Products We Love

When we talk about reducing waste and stepping up to help the environment by using eco-friendly products we definitely have a few favorites at the moment, and here they are.

Restaurant Spoilage, Spoiled

Too Good to Go is an app available in many parts of Europe and the U.S. dedicated to reducing food waste that comes from restaurants. For a deep discount, app users can log in and score a restaurant meal that wasn’t sold that night for a super low price. It greatly reduces food waste and it feeds people great food for (way) less. It also helps restaurants reduce lost revenue due to food waste/spoilage—and the restaurant industry can use all the help it can get at the moment!

Well, that’s it for me, I hope everyone takes something away from this. Remember, even if it’s just one small thing you do, we all have the power to change and influence—as a consumer, a voter, and as a member of a community. Happy cleaning!

Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.