DIY

Bob Vila’s 11 Ideas to Invest in Our Planet

Earth Day and every day, join us as we take simple actions to conserve resources and protect our home.
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Earth Day has come and gone for over 50 years now (yep, it started in 1970), but it’s not always easy to commemorate. If you’ve found yourself at a loss for how you can celebrate and contribute to the preservation of our planet, this is your year. We at Bob Vila are stoked about the potential difference we can make together with this year’s theme: Invest in Our Planet. We’ve compiled an on-the-go list of Earth Day ideas that range from easy-peasy to hard-hat required. No matter how busy you are or what your circumstances may be, this is the year you can do a little something for our global home—a little something that will combine with everyone else’s little somethings to make a big difference.

1. DIY green and save some greenbacks.

Environmental building items around image trace of a house
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Say goodbye to toxic off-gassing and piles of leftover building materials, and say hello to green home improvement. Recycled and renewable materials will add polish without sacrificing preservation and might even save you money.

IDEAS FOR ECO-FRIENDLY WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR HOME:
12 Practical Ways to Make Your DIY Projects More Environmentally Friendly
10 Ways to Incorporate Recycled Materials Into Home Remodeling
10 Eco-Conscious Ways to Limit Waste When Renovating a Home
These Eco-Friendly Home Upgrades Offer the Best ROI

2. Recycle your old cell phone.

Hands holding old cellphones with green recycle bin in background
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If you’ve gotten enough phone upgrades to have a small cell phone museum in your junk drawer, it’s definitely time to do something other than tell yourself you might need them one day. Electronics, clothing, and many other household items are recyclable with the right information.

IDEAS FOR RECYCLING MORE STUFF:
10 Things to Know About Disposing of Old Electronics
9 Retailers You Never Knew Would Recycle Your Old Stuff
14 New Things You Can Do with an Old Sweater

3. Expand your mind.

Person touching notebook with recycle notes written inside
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Interesting facts about things like recycling, water conservation, and no-mow May can help you make decisions that move us toward a healthier planet. Knowing more about easy changes anyone can make also helps you share the planet-love with people around you.

IDEAS AND INFO ABOUT LIVING GREEN:
The Recycling Symbols Every Responsible Homeowner Should Know
5 Ways to Live as Green as Your Grandparents Did
No Mow May: 8 Reasons to Let Your Lawn Grow for a Month

4. Be creative with plastic.

Plastic bottles reused as vases holding single carnations
Photo: istockphotos.com

We know, we know, those zipper-close plastic bags that pop up from a box in your foil drawer are super convenient. So we’re not asking you to use a bento box instead—just replace those baggies with renewable ones and set aside the plastics you already have in your kitchen for other uses.

IDEAS FOR GETTING CREATIVE WITH PLASTIC DISPOSABLES:
12 Best Reusable Products To Help You Reduce Waste at Home
11 Things to Do with Plastic Cups
12 Genius Ways to Reuse Your Plastic Bottles
10 Brilliant Ways to Reuse Plastic Bags

5. Clean…cleaner.

Natural cleaner in spray bottle with orange peels
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A few years ago, finding a household cleaner or laundry detergent that could keep up with the less environmentally friendly brands was nearly impossible. Just ask every parent of a kid playing team sports on grass. But with frustration comes innovation. Today, effective green cleaning options abound, even at your local grocery store.

IDEAS FOR ECO-FRIENDLY CLEANING PRODUCTS:
The Best Natural Cleaning Products
The 12 Best Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products Under $15
The Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergents

6. Or get your hands dirty.

Woman putting kitchen scraps in green diy compost bin
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Earthworm fans are already down with this idea, but if you’re new to organic gardening or composting, give one of these eco-friendly options a try. One less rose bush doused with toxic insect repellent is a good thing.

IDEAS FOR ECO-FRIENDLY GARDENING AND LAWN CARE:
10 Ways to Grow Organic on a Shoestring
The Best Organic Weed Killers
Composting 101: How to Put Kitchen and Yard Waste to Work in Your Garden
15 Natural Pest-Control Strategies for Your Home Landscape

7. Make better (impulse) buys.

Person using phone to look up QR code on t-shirt label
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If you’re the person who pops that suggested add-on into your cart or grabs the travel tissue pack while standing in the checkout line, you don’t have to forego your fun. The trick is to shop where sustainable buys are the norm.

IDEAS FOR ECO-FRIENDLY RETAILERS:
12 Companies That Are Making It Easier to Produce Less Trash
20 Sustainable Home Decor Brands to Shop on Earth Day 2023
The 12 Best Places to Buy Sustainable Furniture

8. Release one old-school item.

Person snapping glass Tupperware lid
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When you love the pop-pop-pop-pop sound of locking a plastic food storage lid, you are going to love the snap-snap-snap-snap sound the lids make on a glass container. It’s time to let go of at least one thing in your kitchen that you already know isn’t helping the planet. Release and replace.

IDEAS FOR GREEN REPLACEMENTS FOR OLD-SCHOOL PRODUCTS:
The 30 Best Eco-Friendly Products of 2023
How to Replace (Almost) All of the Paper Products in Your Home
The Best Food Storage Containers for Your Fridge and Pantry

9. Find freebies.

Repurposed tires used for garden beds
Photo: istockphoto.com

You don’t need to spend a ton of money to invest in our planet. Reuse items that others don’t need, get surplus inventory from nearby stores, or just repurpose something you already own. You’ll give the items a new life and add your own spin to an existing treasure.

IDEAS FOR FINDING FREEBIES NEAR YOU:
10 Smart Ways to Snag Free Stuff for Your Home
14 Things You Never Realized Are Reusable
11 Surprising Places to Get Free Gardening Supplies

10. Trash the idea of throwing something away.

Woman holding plastic bottle in one hand and reusable bottle in other
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With modern living, it’s hard to get rid of trash altogether, but holding back even a few things each year can make a dent in the future landfill load. Also, fewer trips to the big trash bin? Yes, please.

IDEAS FOR ECO-FRIENDLY ALTERNATIVES TO TRASH:
22 Effortless Ways to Make Less Trash
10 Simple Steps to a Zero-Waste Kitchen
13 Household Items You Can Get Paid to Recycle

11. Find an Earth Day event near you.

Woman and child holding Happy Earth Day sign
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If you’re strapped for time or organizationally challenged (like someone we know who writes articles about Earth Day, ahem), join an event that an organized superhero has already put together. You can find one with this handy-dandy map and narrow it by date, language, age group, and event type. Let’s come together and invest in our planet.