Earth Day 2023

Earth Day

Invest In Our Planet

Earth Day is an annual event held on April 22 to honor the accomplishments of the environmental movement and raises awareness of the need to protect the Earths natural resources for future generations.  Earth Day was first held on April 22, 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EARTHDAY.ORG and includes 1 billion people in more than 193 countries around the world. The official theme for 2023 is Invest In Our Planet.

We live in a world filled with products and packaging that often are overlooked for their potential second life. One item that is often passed over for its ability to be recycled are tennis shoes. Most of us wear them on a daily or weekly basis and often struggle with what to do with them when we feel they’ve reached the end of their life. Do we toss them in the trash? Do we donate them? What do you do with them?

Got Sneakers recycles tennis shoes and they also evaluate them to see if perhaps they can be passed on to someone else to be worn. Got Sneakers works with communities, individuals to provide free bags to use to round up tennis shoes from yourself, your family, your neighbors, even your sports teams. Simply fill the bag and send it in to them free of charge. Got Sneakers will decide if they’re still wearable or if they are indeed ready for recycling.

Other ways to help… switch from using single use plastics like water bottles, straws, plastic sandwich bags and plastic grocery bags. Did you know that recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours — and there is no limit to the amount of times an aluminum can be recycled.

There are so many plastic bottles discarded annually that they could circle the earth four times! And the average person in the US throws out five pounds of trash daily…that’s 251 tons a year. Consider glass straws or water bottles and if you’re crafty or know someone who is consider making reusable fabric lunch bags for snacks and fabric totes for your groceries.

Did you know that 75% of our trash is recyclable however most Americans only recycle 30% of that. Most communities offer recycling services but it free bins and canisters to use, community drop-off spots and a host of other ways. Here’s are some common items you can recycle:

  • Plastic bottles and containers (that are dry and clean)
  • Paper Cups (no lid)
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Newspapers and Magazines
  • Junk Mail
  • Flattened cardboard and paperboard
  • Computers (check the WashU Reuse Program for more informationon how to reshare and reuse unwanted equipment, supplies & furniture)
  • Eyeglasses (check with your local Lion’s Club or Eyes of Hope
  • Ink Cartridges

Styrofoam aka expanded polystyrene, EPS, is something found in many packages and often it’s hard to find a place to recycle. You can connect Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers or Earth911 for help find local recycling centers.

Bikes for the World is another organization out there making a difference. They provide bikes to low-income people in developing countries. Bikes donated and repaired are made ready to help provide transportation to work, school and more. Plus Bikes for the World hires skilled employees to repair and maintain the donated bikes.  Locally you’ll find St. Louis BWORKS offering bikes to our local community. They accept donations of both adults and children’s bikes.

Other ways to get involved on Earth Day… sign up to help clean up your communities be it a litter pick up day or river cleanups as well as tree planting through Project Canopy. Go car-free and bike to places, or use local transit and walk where possible. If we all just do our part, together we can invest in our planet.