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Looking for unique ways to celebrate Earth Day in Arkansas on April 22, 2023? We’ve compiled a list of 12 surprising ways to honor our planet and Arkansas companies impacting local communities. So, grab your reusable water bottle and let’s dive in!
You could host a seed swap, book or clothing exchange, toy trade out or grocery swap for new ingredients. Swapping is an exciting experience where you exchange what you have with another family. These can be people you know, a group of neighbors, or a public exchange. This is often a helpful way to exchange seeds and do garden planning to try new crops or flowers, but recently it’s become an excellent way for families to recycle toys and cut down on boredom.
Some will tell you the best products to use are the ones you make yourself, especially those chemical-based products like household cleaners. But you can make timeless recipes by mixing regular products like baking soda, vinegar and water. Other options include shopping at stores like The Green Corner Store, Overfill, The Natural State Market, Maison Terre, or Sleepy Hollow to find similar products made from sustainable and eco-friendly materials. And residential cleaning companies like NWA Green Clean use plant and mineral-based products.
Photo used with permission from Arkansas Parks, Heritage and Tourism
Eco-friendly festivals are a fantastic way to learn about sustainable living practices, broaden your knowledge of environmental issues and connect with like-minded individuals. For example, the Fayetteville Roots Festival promotes sustainable agriculture, local food systems and cultural heritage. This festival offers a range of events, including cooking demonstrations, workshops on composting and gardening and live music performances. Community partners like Food Loops offer production assistance for community events and nonprofit fundraisers. The City of Little Rock provides a Green Guide for sustainable practices for events held in the city.
Gather friends and family and spend the day picking up trash and debris. Not only will you be improving the area’s aesthetics, but you’ll also be helping protect wildlife from harmful litter. Make it a competition, give prizes for the most bags collected, the youngest participant, the largest piece of trash, etc. Be sure to bring gloves, trash bags and sturdy shoes. Great Arkansas Cleanup and Keep Arkansas Beautiful offer helpful tips and resources.
Most people are familiar with the concept of recycling. But what can be recycled, and how is a complicated process unique to each area? Communities like Eureka Springs are leading the way in educating their community and offering easy ways to pick up recycling and teach a younger generation what products and packaging fit into safe recycling. Locations like Plantation Arkansas Museum in Scott offer monthly glass recycling drop-offs to help consumers eliminate this hard-to-recycle material.
You can easily make dirt from your kitchen scraps with a simple plan at home. Of course, companies like Ozark Worm Farms, Food Loops, or Ozark Compost create compost for purchase, but this is an easy project you can start at home to eliminate waste and create a helpful, chemical-free product at the same time.
A fascinating aspect of the recycling movement in Arkansas is how small towns are making a big impact. While larger cities might have more resources and population, small towns are still stepping up to the challenge. For example, DAR Pro Solutions collects and recycles used cooking oil from restaurants and turns it into biodiesel fuel.
Other towns across Arkansas hand-sort their recyclables, creating local jobs and diverting waste from the landfill. But the most significant impact comes from energy savings, resource preservation, pollution reduction, collection and safe disposal of hazardous waste and other related factors.
As Arkansas strives to become a more environmentally friendly state, sustainable agriculture and waste reduction initiatives have taken center stage. Through the use of eco-friendly farming practices and the proper management of food waste, farmers are not only able to reduce their carbon footprint but also increase their crop yields. Additionally, these initiatives have created opportunities for farmers to participate in sustainable energy production, such as converting agricultural waste into biogas or using solar panels to power their farms.
Gardening is not only a relaxing and rewarding hobby, but it can also positively impact the environment. By using organic methods, composting and planting native species, you can create a thriving ecosystem in your backyard. Consider starting a vegetable garden, planting flowers for bees and other pollinators, or even creating a rain garden to help manage stormwater runoff. The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers a wealth of information on sustainable gardening practices, including soil management, pest control and water conservation tips.
Rather than buying everything new, consider thrift and consignment stores for clothing, shoes, furniture and toys. Most of us do not really “wear out” anything before we throw it out. So why not save money and keep non-biodegradable fibers out of landfills? Bonus, many resale shops like Samaritan Shop, Compassion NWA, Potter’s House Thrift, and ReStore often benefit local nonprofits.
Shopping locally reduces the number of fossil fuels used in producing and distributing a product. Restaurants like The Parsonage, Bombaldi’s or Stilwell’s Restaurant use herbs, meat, fruits, and vegetables from local farmers versus a large truck distribution.
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