Be Green in 2019: Simple Ways to Improve Our Planet’s Health

The current state of our planet’s health isn’t great.

This past year, we’ve seen extreme weather, rising sea levels, lower water quality, climate refugees and plastics in oceans to name a few. (Lest we forget the Great Pacific Garbage Patch…”patch” now being three times the size of France).

While these are huge problems no one person can resolve, we can all play a part in nursing our Earth back to health. Sure, ditching straws and drinking from reusable beverage containers may seem small and insignificant in the grand scheme of planet-saving actions. But if each of us does our part, our collective efforts can go a long way.

To get inspired, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite sustainable living recommendations from the past year. Have your own green living ideas? Share your tips with us in the comments.

At home

Whether you acquired new clothes or gadgets this holiday season, it’s as good a time as any to take inventory of what you might get rid of to make room for your new stuff.

Graphic showing the elements of Zero Waste. Planet's Health pbs rewire
The three Rs are frequently considered a catchphrase when, in reality, they’re a hierarchy.

Some people have made it a practice to swap one for one. When they get a new clothing garment, they swap it out for a garment they don’t wear anymore and donate it. Nearly all clothing can be recycled, so if it’s too ratty for someone else to enjoy secondhand, do a little research before simply tossing it in the trash.

Find out what to do with clothes that are too dirty to donate.

E-waste, or electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world and much of what electronics consist of is toxic to our planet. So, you got yourself a new smart speaker and can finally ditch your old, barely functioning speaker system, but how?

Learn how to get rid of electronics the Earth-friendlier way.

Give composting a try with these tips.

Many of us don’t think about recycling in the bathroom. In fact, according to DoSomething.org half of us don’t recycle personal care items.

Get started with your empty shampoo bottles.

On the road

Think about how you get around. Is there a way to incorporate carpooling, public transit, biking, walking or perhaps another mode of getting around that isn’t simply you alone in your car, even just one day a week? Alternatives to driving are not only good for the environment, but also for your personal well-being!

It’s understandable that not everyone can get around without a vehicle but this guide to living car-free may inspire you to get from point A to point B differently.

At the office

“What if everyone made those small changes and took that personal responsibility? Once you make it a habit, you realize it’s not as difficult as you thought.” – Patricia Weisenfelder, community relations specialist for sewer, stormwater, solid waste and sustainability at the City of Columbia, Missouri.

More green living inspiration from 2018:

How to Incorporate Zero-Waste Habits Into Your Life 

Home Need a New Look? Decorate Sustainably for Less

Quiz: How Well Do You Know Your Trash?

Pollinator-Friendly Practices Any Plant Lover Can Embrace

Maribel Lopez

An Iowa native, Maribel ventured to the north in 2010 upon accepting her first “real” job after college in TPT’s National Productions Department. She assisted with interesting PBS programs like “Slavery by Another Name” and “Constitution USA with Peter Sagal.” As Rewire’s Project Specialist, she’s paving the way to get Rewire’s content out into the world. A lifelong lover of public television, Maribel fits right in with her geeky colleagues. When she’s not “working” she likes to dance around in shoes with nails on the bottom of them and enjoys stopping to pet all the dogs she meets while walking her own dog, Carlos.