5 Ways to Make an Impact on Earth Day

These tips can help you do your part to save the planet.
Apr 22, 2015 12:50 PM ET


Forty-five years ago today, 20 million Americans gathered in parks, auditoriums and college campuses across the country to demonstrate support for environmental protection and reform.

Many consider that spring day in 1970 as the birth of the environmental movement, the first in a series of events that eventually led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

Today Earth Day is celebrated in more than 192 countries.

How can you make a difference on Earth Day? Small steps by individuals can add up to be as powerful as the changes a large organization can make.

1.    Skip the Drive-Thru

Instead of waiting in the drive-thru line for your morning coffee, find a parking spot and order inside. Idling for 15 minutes burns through an average of a quarter of a gallon, adding another $1 to the cost of your latte.

Another alternative is to opt for a vehicle equipped with technology that conserves fuel lost during idling. Stop-start technology, standard on the 2015 Chevrolet Malibu and Impala, helps customers conserve fuel by automatically shutting off the engine when the vehicle comes to a complete stop, such as at a stop light or drive-thru.

2.    Be More Energy Efficient

Energy efficiency helps consumers and the environment. Saving energy reduces utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a win-win.

There are a number of strategies and tactics for reducing energy use at home. Some require little to no investment, such as replacing incandescent lightbulbs with energy efficient LED light bulbs or turning the lights off when you leave a room. 

3.    Go Electric

While the current cost of fuel may be low, purchasing an electric vehicle has long term benefits – for consumers and the environment. There are a number of  plug-in based vehicles on the market today that can save green, like the all-electric Spark EV and extended range electric Chevrolet Volt .

Since the Chevrolet Volt debuted five years ago, Volt owners have saved over 35 million gallons of gas by driving almost 700 million electric miles. That’s equivalent to more than 28,000 trips around the Earth.

Current generation Volt owners go an average of 900 miles between fill ups, and the 2016 Volt will average more than 1,000 miles between trips to the pump. Those savings add up, which benefits you and the environment in the long run.

4.    Reduce, Recycle and Reuse

From recycling paper and glass bottles to switching to reusable shopping bags and food containers, there are countless ways to reduce waste – and reduce your environmental footprint in the process.

With a little ingenuity, you can even turn trash into treasure by finding a secondary use for waste materials. Have assorted plastics and scrap paper lying around? Turn it into an arts and crafts projectCoffee grounds and food scraps make for great composting. Why not reuse that discarded organic material to grow a vegetable garden at home?

5.    Take Your Car to a Professional Car Wash

On average, professional car washes use 8-20 gallons of water to wash a single vehicle, while people washing their rides at home will use anywhere from 20-100 gallons of water per vehicle .

Most professional car washes use computer-controlled systems and high-pressure pumps that allow them to clean your car thoroughly while conserving water. Many have also adopted water reclamation technology, which captures and treats water from previous wash cycles so it can be recycled for future use. We use a similar technology to recycle water used in weatherproof testing on the 2016 Buick Cascada.

How are you celebrating Earth Day? Share your green tips in the comments.