Fifty Ways to Celebrate Earth Day During Social Distancing

An blog

April 20, 2020


Things to do outside

  • Go for a litter cleanup (don’t forget your gloves and avoid touching your face).
  • Try plogging; picking up litter while out for a jog. It’s a thing—and it’s fun. Remember to wear your gloves and avoid touching your face!
  • Just “be” outside. Stop to smell the roses and appreciate nature.
  • Explore local parks. Remember to practice social distancing, avoid playground equipment and wash your hands!
  • Pick up your pet waste. Whether you take your dog on a daily walk or let them handle their business in the back yard, picking up pet waste is important.
  • #ChalkYourWalk. Use chalk to leave inspirational and Earth Day messages along sidewalks for neighbors to find.


Recycle right

  • Commit to recycling right. Check out what is acceptable in your locality and make a firm commitment to only place the correct items in the recycling bin.
  • Collect your plastic bags for recycling and take them back to the grocery store for recycling.
  • Collect your e-waste for recycling, such as old computers, laptops, TVs, and game systems. Check with your locality for local e-cycling collection schedules.


Reduce Waste

  • Ditch the paper towels. Try using cloth napkins or Skoy Cloths instead.
  • Now that we all have some extra down time, give cloth diapering a try! This will help save money and keep disposable diapers out of the landfill. Remember, disposable diaper liners are not flushable!
  • Choose reusable. Try reusable straws, cups, to-go containers, and utensils to decrease dependence on single-use plastics.
  • Donate old clothing and household items.
  • BYOB – bring your own bags. Remember to say “no” to plastic bags at the grocery store and bring your own reusable bag. If your store is not accepting BYOB bags, simply bag your groceries in the parking lot.
  • Opt out of receiving phone books and junk mail. Find out how to opt out here.
  • Switch to paperless billing.
  • Switch to E-books. Ditch the paper books for an eco-friendly alternative.
  • Print double-sided to save paper. You’ll be saving trees and water, the natural resources used to make paper.


Lawn and Garden

  • Start a garden.
  • Get your soil tested. Make sure you aren’t overdoing it with fertilizer by getting your soil tested first.
  • Plant a tree. Trees provide shade and help absorb water that would otherwise runoff into storm drains.
  • Choose organic. Organic farming is better for the environment because it reduces pollution, saves water, and is better for the soil.
  • Make a bird feeder out of a reusable milk or juice carton for your yard. Find out how here.


Water Awareness

  • Support your local utilities by choosing tap over bottled water.
  • Fix a leak! Have any pesky leaks in your home you’ve been avoiding? According to the EPA, an average household leak can waste nearly 10,000 gallons of water every year.
  • Take shorter showers. Reduce you water usage by opting for a five-minute shower.


Kitchen and Foodie Ideas 

  • Compost your leftover food scraps. Check out composting for beginners here.
  • Do not use your garbage disposal. Food down your drain can wreak havoc on your pipes and lead to sewage overflows. Put food scraps in the trash or try composting instead of using the garbage disposal.
  • Use earth-friendly cleaning products. You’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish with vinegar or baking soda.
  • Buy local. Check out a local farm or restaurant this Earth day. If you’d rather shop from the comfort of your own home, there are plenty of local online shops which will deliver straight to your door.
  • Buy sustainable. Choose sustainable, eco-friendly products when you can.
  • Go meatless! Check out the environmental benefits of going meatless one day a week here.


Conserve energy

  • Try biking or walking instead of driving.
  • Save some energy by unplugging from technology.
  • Line-dry your clothes. Instead of using a dryer, grab some clothes pins and a line and hang your clothes outdoors to dry.
  • Give LED lights a try. They are more energy efficient and last longer than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs.
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
  • Only run your washer and dishwasher when they are full.
  • When you have the option, choose the stairs instead of the elevator to save energy (and get some exercise!)
  • Turn down your water heater. Save energy and money! For every 10ºF reduction in temperature, you can save from 3%–5% on your water heating costs.
  • Let in the fresh air. Open your windows to cool off the house instead of turning on your AC.


Learn and engage with your community! 

  • Engage digitally. Although the Earth Day Network is unable to host large gatherings to celebrate Earth Day this year, they plan to launch a digital Earth Day!
  • Tune in to distance learning through The Virginia Aquarium or Virginia Living Museum. This includes scientific learning for the whole family.
  • Telework as much as possible. For some of us, this is an easy one right now! Teleworking reduces carbon emissions by keeping vehicles off the road.
  • Participate in a local environmental organization. Local organizations are finding ways to engage the community virtually! Check out the Elizabeth River ProjectChesapeake Bay FoundationLynnhaven River NOW, or your favorite local environmental group to see how you can participate digitally.
  • Promote your home sustainability by joining an eco-friendly home program. Check out Bay Star HomesLake Star Homes, Pearl HomesRiver Heroes, and River Star Homes.
  • Calculate your carbon footprint. Many of our daily activities have a large impact on our carbon footprint. Calculate your carbon footprint here.
  • Consider supporting an environmental nonprofit organization by donating or pledging to volunteer.
  • Spread the word. Hop on your social media platforms to spread the word about Earth Day! Tag @askHRgreen to let us know how you’re celebrating this year.


About is your go-to resource for all things green in Hampton Roads – from recycling tips and pointers for keeping local waterways clean to water-saving ideas and simple steps to make local living easy on the environment. Launched in 2011, the region-wide public awareness and education campaign is administered through the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and powered by the following members: The cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg; the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, Surry and York; the town of Smithfield; and HRSD. Like on Facebook, follow on Twitter and Instagram, tune in to YouTube and catch the “Green Living” blog, written by a team of local experts.