BAPA Encourages the Community to Keep the Environment in Mind During the Stay at Home Order
By Cathriona Fey, BAPA Community Outreach & Improvement
For 50 years, the month of April has been the month to honor our Earth and bring attention to ways to protect our planet for future generations. This April, Earth Day celebrations were put on hold as we found ourselves learning to navigate a new normal, trying out new schedules, and adjusting to socially distant lifestyles.
BAPA had to make adjustments in April as well, canceling or postponing community events, including the annual Clean and Green. To promote Earth Day, BAPA created the 7-Day Earth Day Challenge via Facebook and Instagram for residents to participate in while sheltering in place. BAPA encourages the community to continue thinking about the environment, finding simple changes to implement at home to decrease our carbon footprint, and discovering other ways our individual contributions can make an impact.
Take the Earth Day Challenge in May
For residents who missed the 7-Day Earth Day Challenge in April, pick a week this month and complete the Challenge outlined below. Checkout BAPA on Facebook and Instagram for more information and ideas for each day and be sure to tag BAPA and #bapaearthdaychallenge to show us your challenge efforts.
Day 1: Conduct a Plastic Audit at Home
DAY 2: Create Earth Day Art
DAY 3: Pick Your Own Clean and Green Beverly/Morgan Park Location
DAY 4: Read, Don’t Stream
DAY 5: Go Plant-Based for One Meal
DAY 6: Take a Clean and Green Walk
DAY 7: Make a Plan for your Home Garden and/or Compost Bin
Reduce Paper Towel Usage
Sheltering in place during a worldwide pandemic virus has many residents spending more time cleaning and disinfecting their home and belongings. This increase in cleaning has also brought about an increase in paper towel consumption. Every day over 3,000 tons of paper towel waste is produced in the United States alone. To put that into perspective, to make one ton of paper towel, 17 trees are cut down and 20,000 gallons of water are consumed. According to the EPA, paper makes up the largest share of municipal waste in the U.S. and because paper towel sheets are typically wet or dirty when we are done with them, they are not recyclable.
Cutting back on your use of paper towels is not only environmentally-friendly, but also budget-friendly. If every household in the U.S. used just one less 70-sheet roll of paper towels, that would save 544,000 trees each year. With families using on average 80 rolls of paper towel per person per year, for the average family of four, that’s $320 a year (at $1 per roll). Save money and have a positive impact on the environment by implementing these easy steps at home to cutback on paper towel use:
Fold single sheets of paper towel instead of grabbing multiple sheets.
Use cloth napkins for meals.
Save carryout meal napkins (or say no to napkins when ordering!).
Try cotton car towels for tougher jobs.
Create your own cleaning and dusting rags using old t-shirts and pillowcases.
Designate a cloth towel for hand drying.
Put away your paper towel holder.
Make Sustainability a Family Affair
With schools closed for the remainder of the school year, the increase in family time is an opportunity to teach children the importance of reducing our impact on the environment. Use every day opportunities to talk about topics such as conserving energy, reducing food waste, limiting water consumption and decreasing vehicle mileage to increase your child’s awareness and encourage them to be greener. Try some of these family-friendly green ideas:
Complete the BAPA 7- Day Earth Day Challenge as a family.
Create “Green Goals” for the household that reduce waste and energy consumption.
Designate roles to put family members in-charge of turning off light switches and water faucets, and unplugging devices when not in use.
Plan walkable and bikeable routes that can replace car travel.
Plant a family garden that includes a favorite food of each family member.
The health and safety of you and your family are top priority during this time. When taking into consideration the health of our Earth, we ask that you do so while continuing to practice social distancing as we work to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our community.