Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22nd in the United States and on either April 22nd or Spring Equinox Day in the remainder of the world. This anniversary marks the birth of the environmental movement starting in 1970.
What is Earth Day?
Ever wonder how Earth Day began? The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, when San Francisco activist John McConnell and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson separately asked Americans to join in a grassroots demonstration. Dealing with dangerously serious issues concerning toxic drinking water, air pollution, and the effects of pesticides, an impressive 20 million Americans—10% of the population—ventured outdoors and protested together.
President Richard Nixon led the nation in creating the Environmental Protection Agency, which followed successful laws, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
McConnell originally had chosen the spring equinox (March 20, 1970), but Nelson chose April 22, the official celebration date. (Given that the spring equinox date changes over time, it may have complicated things to go with the astronomical event rather than just a calendar date.)
Today, not only is Earth Day meant to increase awareness of environmental problems, but it is also becoming a popular time for many communities to gather together to clean up litter, plant trees, or reflect on the beauty of nature. (Farmer’s Almanac, read more…)
There are many ways to embrace Earth Day. Let’s begin with understanding and considering the entire life cycle of a product called the Cradle-to-Grave Assessment. This is part of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
What is the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)?
The Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT explains,
An LCA is a systematic analysis of environmental impact over the course of the entire life cycle of a product, material, process, or other measurable activity. LCA models the environmental implications of the many interacting systems that make up industrial production. When accurately performed, it can provide valuable data that decision-makers can use in support of sustainability initiatives.
The theory is based on the long-term effect on our environment and how recycling is just a tiny part of the process. “LCA involves a holistic cradle-to-grave assessment approach to evaluate environmental performance by considering the potential impacts from all stages of manufacture, product use (including maintenance and recycling), and end-of-life management (von Blottnitz and Curran, 2007).
When a product is manufactured, its impact on the environment begins. Recognizable consumer and business brands have embraced methods to mitigate and minimize environmental impact, starting with how the products are made, focusing on these six stages:
- Raw materials.
- Processing Raw Materials.
- Manufacturing process
- Product use/Retail
- Disposal of the product
Understanding what we buy and being responsible beyond recycling and how products are made makes us better consumers. Knowledge is power in spending dollars on products produced with an environmental focus.
What can you do to celebrate Earth Day?
You may be unaware of the impact manufacturing has on the products we purchase, thinking we are helping the environment. As we celebrate Earth Day, considering the life cycle of the everyday products we buy and use puts us on a path to make everyday Earth Day. It really does not take much. Start with small steps like:
- Purchasing from local, sustainable companies that minimize the carbon footprint of their products and services.
- Consider shopping at local farmer’s markets.
- Compost food waste to divert them from landfills and incinerators.
- Switch from plastic bags to reusable bags.
- Swap out toxic household cleaning products for natural cleaning products like lemon, vinegar, and baking soda.
- Walk or bicycle instead of driving.
- Use glass bottles instead of single-use plastic bottles.
- Conserve water. Be mindful in the garden when watering lawns and gardens. Look for resources such as rain barrels to capture nature’s rainfall for lawn and garden use.
We are committed to responsible and environmentally sound services.
Exquisite Property Services believes that building a solid and healthy community begins with taking pride in each property, using environmentally safe products, and sharing our knowledge with our communities.
We offer the following services in support of the earth, our environment, and the people and communities we serve:
- Compost Services. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that 94% of the food we throw away ends up in landfills. We offer backyard compost plans that are simple and cost-effective ways to learn about composting.
- Waste & Recycling Disposal. Exquisite Property Services offers reliable and convenient disposal options that help you minimize your waste and save money. Whether you need a traditional roll-out cart or a larger commercial container, we have specialized disposal programs to match the unique needs of every customer.
- Janitorial Services for your home or business. Where possible, all cleaning products used at Exquisite Property Services worksites are environmentally friendly and cost-effective. Priority is given to procurement products approved by certifying agencies, including EPA, ISO, Safer Choice, and Green Seal. We replace harsh chemicals and bleaches with natural products like vinegar, baking soda, lemon, essential oils, and other eco-friendly options.
Our cleaning equipment is also critical in our effort to increase productivity while lowering our carbon footprint. Our equipment is designed to use less energy. For example, our power wash machines use less water, and our disinfectant sprayers use 65% fewer chemicals per square foot.
- Proper disposal of appliances. Proper appliance disposal is critical to our environmental health and safety. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides information and guidance on understanding appliance disposal. In addition, companies like Exquisite Property Servicesoffer a solution as a Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) partner.
Contact us to learn more about what you can do to sustainably and environmentally manage your commercial properties, investment properties, or your own home.
Earthday.org Mission Statement
EARTHDAY.ORG’s mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, EARTHDAY.ORG is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 150,000 partners in over 192 countries to drive positive action for our planet.
Resources: National Geographic, Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT, Farmer’s Almanac, Earthday.org