Upgrade your lunch box
Lisovskaya Natalia/ShutterstockPlastic bags are boring—and they often end up where we don't want them, like the ocean. Instead, upgrade to a reusable lunchbox to save time and trash, says Kyle Michaud, author of The Significance of Sustainability and founder of VegFest. Plus, how cool is a lunch packed in a container shaped like BB8 from Star Wars?
Swap plastic water bottles for bamboo or aluminum
kenkuza/ShutterstockDrinking a bottle of water is one of the best things you can do for your health (go you!) but to keep the environment as healthy as you are, ditch the disposable bottles and pick a reusable one, Michaud says. For more environment points, pick one made from a renewable resource like bamboo. Here are some other disposable items you should stop using, too.
Collect your baby books for a book drive
Tomsickova Tatyana/ShutterstockYou're a champion reader. (You are reading this, after all!) So take all of those old books that are way too easy for you now and donate them to your school's or library's book drive, Michaud says. They'll stay out of the landfill, and a younger kid will get to enjoy your Captain Underpants books.
Pick 5 gently used toys to give to charity
BK0808/ShutterstockChances are, your room is packed with fun toys, including a whole bunch you no longer play with. Pack up all your toys that are still in good playing condition in a box to donate to a local shelter, Salvation Army, or other charity, Michaud says. Bonus: It will make cleaning your room way easier! Don't miss these other fun ways to celebrate Earth Day.
Use rechargeable batteries in your game controllers
Business stock/ShutterstockRechargeable batteries are just like regular batteries except once they're out of juice, you can put them in a charger and bring them back to life. Not only do you save the environment by using fewer batteries (and never throwing your old batteries in the trash) but it will be faster and easier for you to find them and keep your games going, Michaud says.
Invent new things from old things
Elizabeth A.Cummings/ShutterstockYour imagination is your most powerful tool, and you can put it to work coming up with new uses for old items, says Jaunine Fouché, D.Ed., director of environmental education at the Milton Hershey School. "You might use toilet paper rolls taped together with paper on the bottom to help keep your crayons sorted," she says. "Or try taping together paper towel tubes and attaching the top of a pizza box on top to make a perfect nightstand."
Don't squash that spider
Lisa Mar/ShutterstockIt's totally understandable if your first instinct when you see a creepy-crawly bug is to step on it (or yell for your mom to come squish it), but bugs are a really important part of a healthy environment and we need them, Fouché says. Instead of killing them, trap them in a cup and take them outside, where they can do their work. Here are some green, no-chemical ways to keep household pests out.
Become "The Unplugger"
DD Images/ShutterstockEveryone needs a superhero identity, and yours can be The Unplugger, saving the world (and electricity) one appliance at a time. "Did you know that even if you're not using things, like the toaster, that they can still use up electricity by staying plugged in?" says Michelle Pettit, a climate and sustainability specialist for Just Energy. "Make sure you unplug things when you're not using them so that you do your part not to deplete energy from the earth."
Africa Studio/Shutterstock"The brand new clothes you see in the store can actually be really harmful to the environment because they often require a lot of water, electricity, and harsh dyes and chemicals to make," Pettit says. Instead of always asking for new clothes, try asking older friends or siblings for their outgrown-but-still-cool clothes. Or ask your parents to take you shopping at a thrift shop. You'll be surprised at these Earth Day statistics.
Be your own fashion designer
anastasiia agafonova/ShutterstockJust because you outgrew or stained something, or it has a little hole, doesn't mean you can't still use it, Pettit says. Use paint, scissors, and thread to make a new style or turn it into something else entirely, like this cool t-shirt blanket, she adds.