EARTH (WTAJ) — We only have one planet, and keeping it healthy is a top priority for all its creatures.

There are many ways to better our planet and help reduce our carbon footprint. Below are five things you can do now. 

Take a walk or ride a bike

One of the most common things you’ve probably heard that cause air pollution is vehicles. While for some ditching your car doesn’t sound realistic, but if you live close to work, stores and other facilities, consider taking a walk. Carpooling also reduces pollution to the air and is often something people who live near each other and work at the same place. In general, walking or biking to places is the best way to reduce air pollution, according to the Department of Ecology in the State of Washington.

You can also consider going electric. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is helping drivers “Plan for the Future” by creating an electric vehicle roadmap. Electric Vehicles (EVs) don’t need gas and can be charged in your garage or at an EV charging station at multiple different gas stations, including Sheetz.

Consolidate online orders

Since the COVID pandemic, ordering online has increased more than ever. You might get a package from different online outlets like Amazon each day of the week.

While sometimes shipping can’t be changed due to the postal company, if you can, try ordering all your needs at once! Consolidating online orders will remove the amount of package waste and can save you money by lowering or eliminating shipping costs.

Use the internet, not the trees

Another way you can save some materials are by opting for paperless billing. Many billing companies offer discounts if you opt to go paperless. Going electronic can save you money monthly and reduce the amount of paper you are using.

What about mail you never read? Be sure to opt out of any subscriptions that continue to send you mail that goes right to the trash. You can also get your name removed from mailing lists that often is the source of “junk mail” you never even wanted. Details on how to do that can be found on the United States Postal Service website.

Shut off the lights!

This one might be simple, but it can be a huge help. When you aren’t using your electricity, you can reduce your bill and output by turning off the lights and unplugging nonessentials. This can be especially helpful if you are traveling a lot and don’t want to rack up a high electricity bill. Here is a guide to saving energy based on what type of lights you have. 

Reusable Items

Speaking of waste, when you go to the grocery store, take a reusable bag! Skip the paper or plastic the store has to offer and use your own bag to eliminate single-use plastics. While you are there, if you can, opt to get your receipt in your e-mail, that will save paper and that way they are harder to lose!

Our last tip is for those coffee lovers. Whether you are stopping at your favorite local coffee shop or a chain, get a reusable cup. If you use a reusable cup, you’ll be reducing waste that could end up in a landfill. This also gets rid of one-time usage materials.

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Love the planet and want to help out? Check out our Earth Month story filled with events happening all month long in Central Pennsylvania.