Saving the Earth can be effortless

Earth+Day.+Smiling+Cartoon+Planet+Earth.

Earth Day. Smiling Cartoon Planet Earth.

Haley Galvin

April 22 is Earth Day, and it is important to remember on that day and every day we need to take care of the Earth; it can be easier than you think. There are small ways everyone can help save the planet.

Substitute household products

Most household products can cause more harm to the Earth than people may realize.

“The chemicals in many cleaners are common pollutants that contribute to smog, reduce the quality of drinking water and are toxic to animals,” according to a SFGate Home Guide article.

It may not seem like a big deal, but take a second to think about what happens when you clean a counter with a normal household cleaner. The chemicals from the spray are most likely toxic, and you are haphazardly spraying these chemical around your house for you, friends, families and pets to breathe in. This is just one example of chemicals that we use every day can be harming the air and Earth.

While picking the first window cleaner off the store shelf may be the easiest option, take a few extra seconds to pick out a more eco-friendly option. There are also biodegradable substitutes for items such as paper towels, dishwasher detergent, dish soap and many other everyday items people can purchase in place of the standard non-biodegradable options, according to a Livestrong website.

Recycle

Another easy way to help the environment is recycling.

“Although 75% of America’s waste is recyclable, we only recycle around 30% of it,” according to a November 2017 Rubicon Global article.

The fact that this many recyclable materials are taken to landfills rather than a recycling plant is quite sad. It takes an extra few minutes to separate cans and cardboard from the rest of the garbage. NIU even has recycling bins next to each garbage can on campus in dining halls, dorms and academic buildings.

“It takes 500 years for average-sized plastic water bottles to fully decompose,” according to a November 2017 Rubicon Global article.

Taking a few extra minutes and recycling water bottles and other products can cut down on waste in landfills and even allow for products to be reused for other products.

Using reusable products

Similar to using biodegradable items, people should consider using reusable items in place of everyday products.

“There are 25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean,” according to a November 2017 Rubicon Global article. “Of that, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.”

The plastic bags used every day at the grocery store can contribute to this debris, and using resuable bags is simple to eliminate this debris. Reusable grocery bags can be used and purchased at many stores, such as Aldi and Schnucks.

There are also reusable metal straws being manufactured and sold in place of plastic straws that get thrown away. Many popular influencers are jumping on the bandwagon to encourage environmentally friendly straws such as influencer Jeffree Star who has recently come out with metal straws to promote the cause.

Saving the Earth is something everyone can do. It is as simple as taking a few extra minutes to choose a different product or taking your own reusable bag to the store. Earth is our home, and we need to take care of it.