Good Haul's Countdown to Summer Green Living Challenge

Good Haul
countdown to summer green living challenge text overlaid over a faded beach photo background

June 5th, 2024 marked World Environment Day. Established by the United Nations in 1972, this day is dedicated to protecting our Earth and its future. This year’s theme was land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience. According to the UN, tens of millions of people participate in this day across the globe. As a nonprofit junk hauler, Good Haul, is dedicated to protecting and preserving our environment. 

From World Environment Day on 6/5, Good Haul is counting down to summer with our Green Living Challenge. Each day until June 20th, the official first day of summer, we’ll share an environmentally friendly tip to help us protect the earth in small ways. We aim to inspire you to make simple, sustainable changes that collectively can make a big difference.

Check back daily for more tips, and follow along with us on social media!

Day 0 - Happy World Environment Day

June 5th, 2024

To kick off our Green Living Challenge, we want to celebrate World Environment Day by reflecting on our environmental commitment. Here at Good Haul, we’re passionate about reducing waste, repurposing items, and supporting our community through sustainable practices. Every item we collect that can be reused is donated back to those in need, and all proceeds support our main nonprofit mission.

Day 1 - Reduce Single-Use Plastics

June 6th, 2024

Today’s tip is about cutting down on single-use plastics. Plastic water bottles, bags, straws, silverware are usually only used once, but can take hundreds of years to actually decompose. Here’s a few things to try instead: 

  • Use reusable shopping bags.
  • Utilize a reusable water bottle/coffee mug.
  • Opt for paper straws or go strawless.
  • Try to select products with minimal plastic packaging.

While major corporations tend to be the biggest producers of plastic waste, we can take small steps in our own lives to mitigate our impact on the Earth. We also want to note that sometimes, single-use products are necessary for accessibility or sanitary reasons, and that's okay!

plastic water bottles

Day 2 - Try Going Meatless

June 7th, 2024

To all our meat lovers out there, take a breath; we’re not saying go vegetarian forever! All we’re saying is that reducing meat consumption for one day weekly, even just one meal per week, can have a positive impact on the environment. Butchers, livestock farms, and the animal agricultural industry are major contributors to greenhouse gas production, deforestation, and water use. Here’s what you can do to lean into meatless eating: 

  • Plan one meal or one day a week that doesn’t include meat products.
  • Explore plant-based recipes or alternatives (they could taste better than you think!).
  • Try out a new vegetarian or vegan restaurant in your area.

Incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet can help reduce your carbon footprint and promote sustainability.

Day 3 - Saving Energy at Home

June 8th, 2024

Conserving energy is a simple yet effective way to reduce your carbon footprint and help the planet. Small changes in your daily habits can add up to significant energy savings and lower your utility costs. 

What You Can Do:

  • Turn off lights when not in use.
  • Strive to choose energy-efficient appliances and LED bulbs when possible.
  • Adjust your thermostat when you’re not home to use less heating or cooling.
  • Close blinds to reduce residual heat from the strong midday sun.

By making these small adjustments, you’re helping to conserve resources and protect our environment. Every effort counts.

Day 4 - Eco-Friendly Transportation

June 9th, 2024

Choosing eco-friendly transportation options can significantly reduce your environmental impact. While it's not always possible to walk or bike everywhere, small changes in how you get around can make a big difference. 

What You Can Do:

  • Walk or bike for short trips if possible.
  • Use public transportation when available.
  • Carpool or ride-share to reduce the number of vehicles on the road.
  • Support and advocate for accessible and sustainable public transit options.

By opting for greener transportation methods, you’re helping to reduce air pollution and conserve natural resources.

bike on a roadway

Day 5 - Water Conservation

June 10th, 2024

Conserving water is crucial for protecting this valuable resource and ensuring its availability for future generations. Small changes in our daily habits can make a significant difference.

What You Can Do:

  • Fix leaks promptly to prevent water waste.
  • Try taking shorter showers by setting a timer.
  • Remember to turn off the sink faucet while brushing your teeth.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways.
  • Try collecting rainwater to water your plants.

Day 6 -  Sustainable Shopping

June 11th, 2024

Shopping sustainably is an important step in reducing waste and minimizing our environmental impact. By making conscious choices about what we buy, how we buy it, and where we buy it from, we can support eco-friendly businesses and practices, thus supporting a greener future.

What You Can Do:

Day 7 -  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

June 12th, 2024

Embracing the 3Rs—reduce, reuse, and recycle—is a great (and easy!) way to minimize waste and protect our environment. These memorable principles help us make more sustainable choices in our daily lives. Check out last month's blog on the Journey of Junk to learn where exactly our unwanted items end up.

What You Can Do:

  • Reduce: Buy only what you need to minimize waste. Avoid impulse purchases and viral products. Think about how your prospective product will be utilized, its duration of use, and whether you could find or create an alternative with items you already have.
  • Reuse: Find new uses for items, instead of discarding them, or offer them to friends, family, or neighbors. "Buy Nothing" groups are popular across the US for just this purpose! Good Haul can help haul away anything, and we'll ensure usable items are donated back to the community.
  • Recycle: Properly sort recyclable materials and follow your local recycling guidelines. Important Tip: Ensure items are clean and free of contaminants before recycling, rinse plastic and glass containers, and throw away grease/food-stained paper products.
hands holding recyclable items: plastic, aluminum, paper, and glass

Day 8 -  Green Cleaning

June 13th, 2024

Choosing environmentally friendly cleaning practices not only keeps our homes spotless but also reduces our impact on the planet.

What You Can Do:

  • Make your own non-toxic cleaners using simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon.
  • Use microfiber cloths instead of disposable wipes to reduce waste.
  • Opt for eco-friendly cleaning products that are biodegradable and free from harmful chemicals.

By incorporating these green cleaning habits into your routine, you're protecting your health and contributing to a cleaner planet for future generations. Let's keep our homes clean and our planet green!

Day 9 -  Plant a Tree

June 14th, 2024

Do you have some extra space in your yard? Planting a tree is a powerful way to help our environment. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, provide oxygen, and support wildlife. Plus, they add beauty and shade to our surroundings. Be sure to check for trees that will work well in your region!

What You Can Do:

  • Plant a tree in your yard or community to help absorb CO2 and provide habitat for wildlife.
  • Choose native species that are well-suited to your local climate and ecosystem.
  • Support reforestation projects by donating to organizations that plant trees.

Day 10 -  Mindful Consumption

June 15th, 2024

Mindful consumption involves making thoughtful choices about the products we buy and their environmental impact. By considering the lifecycle of our purchases, we can reduce waste and promote sustainability. Check out this article from Medium to learn more about how to practice mindful consumption.

What You Can Do:

  • Before buying, ask if you really need the item and consider its environmental footprint.
  • Choose products with minimal packaging or made from recycled materials.
  • Support companies that prioritize sustainability and ethical practices.
dark-skinned black man deliberating a decision with his forefinger on his bottom lip

Day 11 -  Support Local Businesses

June 16th, 2024

Supporting local businesses and farmers strengthens your community and reduces the carbon emissions associated with transportation. Local products are often fresher and more sustainable. Community-supported agriculture programs are great ways to support local farmers. Here's a handy site to help you find your local CSA:

What You Can Do:

  • Shop at farmers' markets and buy locally-grown produce.
  • Support local artisans and small businesses in your community.
  • Try to choose restaurants that source ingredients locally.
  • Participate in community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs. 

Day 12 -  Community Sharing & Borrowing

June 17th, 2024

Community sharing and borrowing programs promote resource efficiency and reduce consumption. Participating in these programs helps reduce waste and helps your neighbors. Try finding your local buy nothing group or joining a local community Facebook group to coordinate sharing efforts.

What You Can Do:

  • Join or start a tool library to share tools and equipment.
  • Participate in book swaps, clothing exchanges, and toy libraries.
  • Use community-sharing platforms to borrow or lend items.

Day 13 - Sustainable Gardening

June 18th, 2024

Starting a sustainable garden at home supports local ecosystems and reduces your carbon footprint. Gardening sustainably is a rewarding way to connect with nature and promote biodiversity. Use this handy tool to determine what plants work well in your region based on hardiness, climate, region, shade level, and more!

What You Can Do:

  • Use compost to enrich your soil and reduce waste.
  • Plant native species that support local wildlife and pollinators.
  • Collect rainwater for irrigation to conserve water. (Try a DIY rain barrel!)
  • Avoid chemical pesticides and fertilizers, opting for organic alternatives.
soil in a garden with assorted garden tools and plans

Day 14 - Participate in a Clean-Up Event

June 19th, 2024

Joining or organizing a local clean-up event is a great way to help keep your community's parks, beaches, and streets free of litter. These events are often organized by government groups, park officials or community members. Here's a helpful place to start if you're located in PA:

What You Can Do:

  • Find or start a clean-up event in your local area.
  • Invite friends, family, and neighbors to join the effort.
  • Pick up trash or litter, and dispose of it properly, when you see it in your neighborhood.

Day 15 - First Day of Summer

June 20th, 2024

Summer is here! How’d you do with the Green Living Challenge? Remember, every effort counts, no matter how small. 

What You Can Do Now:

  • Reflect on your positive changes and how they’ve impacted your life and the environment.
  • Share your experiences and tips with friends and family.
  • Continue to incorporate eco-friendly habits into your daily routine if you can.
  • Stay motivated and updated about new ways to live sustainably.

By putting these small tips into action, you're contributing to a healthier planet. Have a great summer!