The world is finally getting cleaner. Companies, people, and organizations are taking steps toward becoming more environmentally-friendly, from sports brands to high-fashion labels. And each one of us can make a difference. In honor of Earth Day, we set out to make a list of small ways in which you can help Mother Nature. To do so, we spoke to Celsious founders Theresa and Corinna Williams, who created an eco-friendly and super trendy laundromat in Williamsburg, to discuss the ways we can all decrease our carbon footprint. Find them below.

1. Use bar soap and powder detergent instead of liquid.

We tend to use way more liquid soap than we actually need, so choosing bar soap to clean our hands and body not only saves us money but also helps us reduce packaging waste (it’s available in minimal paper packaging or no packaging at all). As for powder detergent, not only is it lighter to ship than liquid (the main ingredient in liquid detergent is water, which is heavy to transport), but it’s also available in cardboard containers (unfortunately only 30% of plastic jugs ever get recycled). At Celsious, pre-portioned natural powder detergent comes free with each wash and we have it available for bulk purchase too (just bring your own container or take one of our jars).

 

2. Eat unpackaged, local produce. 

Take a little time to research your closest farmers’ markets and visit them regularly so that you can load up on produce straight from the source. If your schedule doesn’t allow it, at the very least choose the produce in your supermarket that’s in season, comes from local suppliers (the carbon footprint for imported food is so much higher than locally-grown food), and is unpackaged (because who needs layers and layers of saran wrap anyway?).

 

3. Extend the life of your clothing. 

So much of our clothing gets only minimal use before it’s discarded. According to Greenpeace, doubling the useful life of clothing from one year to two years could reduce emissions associated with production by 24%. So try your best to only add things to your closet that you’ll get many uses out of, and learn how to wash and care for your clothing properly to extend the life of your pieces. Some ways to do this: wash on colder temperature cycles when possible, dry on low heat (or no heat at all), and avoid using detergents with harsh bleach or dyes.

 

4. Rethink social gatherings. 

We all love parties, picnics and get-togethers, but the amount of disposable products we end up using for these gatherings is what’s problematic. Consider providing reusable plates and cutlery, or compostable options, if you compost. Ask people to bring their own cups (Bonus: everyone will know which one is theirs!). Forgo glitter, plastic decorations, and balloons because they take forever to biodegrade, and instead make decorations out of items you have around the house such as paper and twine (a quick search on Pinterest for DIY decorations will give you a multitude of ideas).

 

5. Bring your own containers for takeout. 

In a perfect world, we would all have enough time to pack our lunch every day in reusable containers. However, when life gets busy and you need to grab takeout, try bringing your own (squeaky clean!) container and convincing businesses to let you use it instead of their single-use packaging. If they refuse, at the very least you can bring your own tote bag and silverware so you can say no to plastic utensils and plastic bags (these are not recyclable and go straight to landfill after only one use). Out of all the things listed here, trying to use your own containers will probably result in the most pushback. But it’s only by doing this that we’ll be able to show businesses how much we value measures that lead to smaller carbon footprints and less unnecessary waste in the world.

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