Earth Day 2018: Small Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Impact

Earth Day is a day for celebrating our home planet and raising awareness of things we can do to protect it from harm. But most humans, with the exception of some astronauts, live on this planet throughout the entire year.

For those who want to do right by Earth on April 22 and the rest of the year but aren't sure where to start, here are some small ways—in addition to recycling and not wasting water or electricity—to reduce your environmental impact.


While many people become vegetarians or vegans in protest of how animals are treated in the agricultural industry, meat affects the ecosystem in other ways. In order to get a slab of meat to your dinner table, farmers have to raise crops to feed their animals, taking up a lot of land and water.

The animals also produce a lot of waste and the meat has to be transported to your area, adding to the carbon footprint of the process through truck emissions. Cutting down on meat, even if that means just taking it out of one meal each week, could help.

Earth is seen from space, with North America showing through clouds in the atmosphere. NASA


Every product consumers buy has some sort of impact on the world, so you don't have to be littering to hurt the Earth when you discard objects. Making a point of reusing items can go a long way. That includes finding a use for the plastic bags from the grocery store, or even switching to a cloth bag. According to the nonprofit Sustainable America, people throw away about 100 billion single-use plastic bags in the U.S. every year.

You can also carry a small thermos of water rather than buying the bottled stuff. Or try putting your sandwiches into a reusable container instead of a new baggie or sheet of aluminum foil every day.


When people talk about humans harming the environment, the conversation often turns to vehicle emissions. For those who cannot afford to buy an electric car or don't have access to public transportation, each little trip adds up. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average passenger vehicle spits out 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. Making an effort to reduce trips just a little bit, perhaps by walking or biking, can make an impact.