Happy Earth Day! Earth Day celebrations do not date as far back as many think. In fact, for many Baby Boomers and U.S. seniors, the holiday did not come about until well into their lifetimes, on April 22, 1970. The annual event did not begin as celebration, either. Instead, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson promoted April 22 as a “a day for serious discussion of environmental problems,” according to TIME magazine.
In that spirit, many are taking Earth Day as an opportunity to work out what they can do to help the environment. Here is the good news: With a little extra creativity and resourcefulness, Americans can save the planet and help those in need at the same time, too. Here’s how:
Don’t Throw Out Old Clothing
When it comes to clothing and textile waste, the facts aren’t good. U.S. men and women throw away 68 pounds of clothing every year, clothing and linens made out of polyester, cotton, rayon, and nylon fill up 5% of the nation’s landfills, and 90% of these discarded clothing and fabric items are 100% recyclable.
Do something about it. Instead of throwing out T-shirts and jeans and other lightly used clothing, wash the items, empty out pockets, and donate used clothes to charity. What’s more, helping families in need doesn’t necessarily require a special trip. Many charities will pick up charitable donations or establish communal drop off points — such as schools, office buildings, grocery stores, churches, and hospitals — to make it as convenient and easy as possible for Americans to donate used clothes. When donating clothes, consider what items are most needed. There is a shortage of clothing for infants, toddlers, and young children. Full suits, prom dresses, and warm clothing (such as heavy jackets, boots, gloves, scarves, and hats) are also scarce.
What To Do With Those Old Magazines
Instead of throwing those old copies of Home and Garden, Fitness Magazine, and Sports Illustrated on top of the garbage, consider donating them. Local libraries, nursing homes, doctors offices, hospital waiting rooms, women’s shelters, and veterans groups will often accept donations of old magazines.
It’s Earth Day. Do Your part by helping families in need — and reducing your carbon footprint.