Earth Day 2020

The onset of the COVD-19 pandemic has changed the world and the ways we celebrate Earth Day. In the days leading up to Earth Day, April 22, we will share 50 ideas and actions with the campus community inspired by our natural world and aimed for healing and hope. This campaign is a partnership between UK Sustainability and UK Recycling!

We are also giving away a Sustainability Prize package! To win, follow @UkyRecycles and @Ukysustainability on Instagram, then post a photo of yourself doing one of our 50 actions to your Instagram story and tag both @UkyRecycles and @Ukysustainability! Winners will be announced on May 1.

 Please refer to the latest guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and your local public health agencies before participating in the actions below. Remember to observe social distancing to help prevent the spread of contagious disease. 


1 - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The three R's - reduce, reuse and recycle - all help us cut down on the waste we generate! By refusing to purchase items that aren't needed, reusing items more than once and properly recycling items can all help us cut down on waste generate. 

2 - Build a rain barrel. Capture rain water at your house by building and installing rain barrel at your house. Its a great way to conserve water and save some money on your water bill!

3 - Make your own sewing kit to repair your clothes. Need to replace a button or mend a tear? Check out our helpful sewing fix it guide to learn how to repair instead of throwing away.

4 - Put together your own outdoor gear repair kit. Extend the life of your outdoor gear by having a repair kit on hand. Simple repairs and maintenance can go a long way.

5 - Go canoeing or kayaking on a local river. Go for a relaxing canoe or kayak trip down one of Kentucky’s beautiful streams or rivers! Make sure to always wear a life vest while on the water.

6 - Turn the light off when you leave a room. Flip the switch on wasted energy. This simple action saves money and fights climate change.


7 - Make reusable napkins. Each person generates an estimated 4.5lbs of trash per day. Help cut down on single use items by making a reusable napkin.      

8 - Plant a tree. Planting a tree provides social and environmental benefits. Trees reduce stormwater, provides shade and produces oxygen.  

9 - Repair your bike. Riding your bike is a great alternative to driving and provides great health and environmental benefits. Check out our helpful bike repair guide to learn how to keep your bike in great shape!      

10 - Go for a walk to discover what’s around you.  Download iNaturalist and go for a walk to discover what's around you!       

11 - Take a hike. Taking a hike is a great solitary activity or limited to immediate family only; make sure to always practice social distancing      

12 - Make a basket out of plastic bags. Many grocery stores are requesting that we temporarily press pause on reusable bags to help prevent the spread of germs. You can repurpose the plastic bags you end up with during this time by making a basket! 


13 - Make new things from old t-shirts. T-shirt collections are often the scrapbooks of our closets, chronicling the events and places of our lives. Consider reusing your favorites as reusable shopping bags  or a quilt.  

14 - Take shorter showers. An average shower uses up to 5 gallons of water per minute. Shorten your shower by a couple of minutes to help conserve water.

15 - Pick up after your pet. It might not seem like a stormwater problem, but animal waste is one of the many
seemingly small sources of pollution that can add up to big problems for water quality, and even human health. 

16 - Commit to print on both sides of your paper! Commit to print on both sides of your paper or use the blank back page as scrap paper in the office.

17 - Go for a wildflower hike Go for a wildflower hike and take pictures of what you find. 

18 - Calculate your personal carbon footprint. Knowing is half the battle. Calculate your Personal Carbon Footprint with this Nature Conservancy calculator and make a commitment to shrinking your personal emissions. 



19 - Eliminate your use of single-use plastic bottles.  Single-use plastics cause major issues in our environment and especially our oceans. Eliminate single use plastic bottles by using a reusable bottle or mug!

20 - Pack a picnic. Need some fresh air? Pack a picnic to enjoy outside in the sunshine or under the perfect shade tree.

21 - Learn what is recyclable in your community and RECYCLE. Confused about what can be recycled at UK? Check out UK Recycling's website with all the inforamtion you need to recycle right!

22 - Switch your light bulbs to LED! On average, LEDs consume 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs. 

23 - Learn the KY State Tree. Learn the KY State Tree, or new trees if you already know that one, and go find one in your neighborhood or park!

24 - Make some eco-art - Spring cleaning is great healthy at home activity. If you find books that aren't fit for donating, create a repurposed book wreath for your front door. 





25 - Refuse to use a plastic straw. The average person uses 1.6 straws per day. Help to eliminate this waste by refusing a plastic straw or using a reusable straw!

26 - Make a donation to your local food bank. Check with your local food bank to see if they are open and accepting donations. Prevent food waste and help your local community. 

27 - Go out for a bike ride. Biking is a great way to explore the outdoors while also
practicing social distancing. 

28 - Buy local. Reduce the miles your food travels and support local producers by buying local!

29 - Go for a walk and pick up any litter you see. Go for a walk to get some fresh air and pick up any litter you see. Litter left on the ground ends up in our local streams, creeks and rivers. 

30 - Make some eco-art.  Are you spending more time in your back yard or patio? Take a left over mason jar (or any glass jar) and create beautiful laterns to light your evening outside. 




31 - Do a nature rubbing or press flowers in a journal. The emergence of spring is one of the most incredible times of the year in KY. Leaf and bark rubbings are a great way to get to know the trees in you area. You can also seek out spring wildflowers and preserve them by pressing in a journal or favorite book.

32 - Organize a family litter clean up.  Are you and your family staying healthy at home? Organize a quick family litter clean up and bring an extra bag to sort out recycling (bottles & cans). 

33 - Unplug items when not in use. Unplugging items, phone chargers, TVs saves energy and keeps money in your bank account! 

34 - Seek out a waterfall. Go explore one of Kentucky's beautiful waterfalls! Its a great way to practice social distancing and connect with the outdoors.

35 - Start a compost bin. Turn your prep and food waste in to a soil amendment that puts great nutrients back into the soil. Don't have a great back yard for a compost bin - Check out vermicomposting!

36 - Audit your waste for a week. Learn more about the waste you generate by monitoring your waste for one week. Follow these easy steps to perform a waste audit at your house.



37 - Use a reusable shopping bag. Over 100 billion plastic bags are used each year. Be part of the solution by using your reusable shopping bag.

38 - Sign up for a CSA for the summer. Want to eat healthy, local and fresh? Signing up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) will accomplish those goals, plus you get to know a local farmer and keep your food dollars in your community! 

39 - Learn to identify 5 native KY birds. Birdwatching is the perfect activity while practicing social distancing! Learn to identify 5 native Kentucky birds. Bonus points if you learn their songs too!

40 - Go meatless for one meal a week. Skipping meat one day a week can help your health, water & energy consumption and green house gas emissions. 

41 - Stop junk mail. The average person receives up to 40lbs. of junk mail per year! Here is a great resource to help reduce that!

42 - Sign up to take a virtual fitness class. Campus Recreation and Wellness is excited to offer virtual group fitness classes for all University of Kentucky students, faculty and staff. To participate, fill out the interest form.





43 - Go stargazing!  Take some time this year to enjoy the beauty of the night sky, it might just give you a whole new perspective on planet Earth!

44 - Hug a tree! Research suggests that being around trees is good for our mental and social well-being.

45 - Turn off faucet while brushing your teeth.  Did you know this could save up to 200 gallons each month?

46 - Purchase used items. Consider buying used (or borrowing) before buying new.

47 - Work outside. Put out a blanket or folding chart and set up your office outside. Studies have shown that short breaks outside have a wide variety of benefits, such as better focus and improved health.












48 - Discover a new sustainability focused podcast. Try Science VS by Gimlet Media, From Tree To Shining Tree by Radiolab, or check out one of these podcasts about the environment or climate change

49 - Read a sustainability-focused book. Need a good book recommendation to read during your time at home? Check out these 11 books to get you inspired and connected to nature!

50 - Watch a documentary.  Anyone looking for a new program to watch? Check out one (or all) of these sustainability-focused documentaries!