Every April, people around the world celebrate Earth Day as an annual reminder of our responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth. Here are five ways you can be greener and friendlier to the planet year-round.  

1. Use natural cleaners

Vinegar, baking soda and water can clean most surfaces. You can also buy environmentally friendly cleaners from brands such as Boulder Clean, Seventh Generation, ECOS and Simple Truth, all of which use naturally derived, nontoxic and biodegradable ingredients.  Click here for cleaning tips from Boulder Clean and other companies.

2. Ditch the plastic

For 2018, Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day worldwide, is rallying the world to End Plastic Pollution. Join the charge by switching to a reusable, insulated bottle instead of buying bottled water. Bring reusable bags when shopping. And skip using straws—every day. Americans use a whopping 500 million straws which end up in landfills and the ocean.    

3. Green your home

Improve energy efficiency in your home by turning down the temperature of your water heater to 120 degrees; replace lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lights; clean or replace filters in your furnace, air conditioner and heat pump. Visit energy.gov for more tips.  

4. Reduce food waste

It’s shocking: 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. is thrown away, half of which happens at home. Action points: Take leftovers for lunch, or incorporate leftovers into a future meal, such as frittatas, soups or casseroles. Reuse food scraps in broths. Store food properly (visit stilltasty.com for tips). Recycle food scraps into compost. 

5. Plant a tree

Trees filter the air, producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide, which in turn cools the atmosphere and improves air quality. Don’t have a place to plant? Donate to the U.S. Forest Service’s Plant-A-Tree program to have a tree planted on national forestland in your name.  

Support Good Companies

It’s nice to know when food companies are doing good things for people and the planet. Here are just a few of many wonderful examples, big and small.  

Kashi

The company sources certified transitional ingredients, which supports farmers across 4,200 acres as they convert their land from conventional to organic certification. The latest product: Cinnamon French Toast cereal 

Kroger

This year, the grocer is adding 10 new Fair Trade Certified products to its Simple Truth line. It already presently carries nearly 300 Fair Trade Certified products representing 60 brands. 

Muir Glen

Contributed to build a state-of-the-art communal composting facility in central California.   

Traditional Medicinals

Their manufacturing facility uses 100 percent–renewable local electricity, tapping into the company’s 1,450 solar panels and renewable electricity by a local geothermal facility. 

Unilever

The companywith natural lines including Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry’s, Knorr and Pure Leaffollows the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, a blueprint for all brands to reduce the company’s overall environmental footprint and increase its positive social impact. For the seventh year in a row, Unilever ranked number one on the GlobeScan SustainAbility survey as a global leader on sustainability. Patagonia ranked second.  

1908 Brands

Representing seven natural product brandsincluding Boulder Clean, CompoKeeper, Fruitivity Snacks and Schultz’s saucesthe company donates 1 percent of annual sales to support 1% for the Planet, which benefits nonprofit environmental organizations.