April is the time to celebrate and reflect on the impact we have on our environment in honor of Earth Day. Hooray!
Making sustainable choices is important throughout the year. When the sun is out and the daffodils are popping, it’s especially easy to feel the planetary love. How much do you know about this special day and the ways we celebrate? Find out, with Waste Management’s Earth Day quiz below.
1. What are the origins of Earth Day?
Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wisconsin, founded Earth Day in 1970 to draw attention to the unregulated pollution of air, water and soils. Before 1970, there were no environmental laws to set limits on pollution emissions. Americans showed overwhelming support. More than 20 million people throughout the nation marched, protested, and demonstrated to demand change. Congress responded by creating the Environmental Protection Agency to tackle environmental challenges.
2. What can I do to celebrate and protect the planet?
There are so many things we can do to live a low-impact lifestyle. Here are a few ideas to get started. How many will you do?
• Spring clean! Donate used clothing and household items you no longer need.
• Walk or ride a bike for errands that are close to your home.
• Turn off lights and unplug unused chargers when you leave the room.
• Avoid food waste. As you load goodies into the fridge or pantry, move older products to the front and place newer items in the back.
• Compost. Start a compost pile in your yard or sign up for curbside service to conserve natural resources.
• BYOB (bring your own bag) and say no to paper or plastic at the grocery store.
3. I want to be more sustainable for Earth Day. Is recycling really worth it?
Reducing our waste, reusing and repurposing old stuff are some of the best ways to lower our impact on the environment. For example, using a reusable water bottle rather than buying bottled water every day is best — even though that plastic water bottle can be recycled.
That said, absolutely, yes, recycling is worth it — if done properly. Recycling an aluminum soda can saves about 95% of the energy it would take to create that can from virgin materials. Plus, cans are infinitely recyclable, so they will always come back for a second (or third, or fourth) life as a new can. The recycling process does require inputs like transportation, energy and water, but its overall impact is lower than producing the same item from raw materials.
The key is to only put accepted materials in your recycling bin. Unaccepted items can prevent the other materials from being recycled. If you’re a Waste Management customer, check your recycling guide online at www.wmnorthwest.com.
Congratulations! You finished the quiz. Time to say “Hooray for Earth Day!” and make a sustainable lifestyle change. Whether it’s spending more time outside this spring, biking to the grocery store or recycling right, let’s celebrate the planet together!
Hannah Scholes is Waste Management’s recycling education and outreach manager. Learn more about waste reduction at www.wmnorthwest.com.