5 new ways you can help the planet—today

Every day we find new ways to conserve Earth’s resources.

From your closet

Your cast-off blue jeans could become home insulation: Those beloved jeans served you well. When it’s time to let go, don’t trash them. More than 11 million tons of textiles went to U.S. landfills in 2018—nearly 8 percent of all waste. Now retailers such as Levi’s and Madewell are collecting used denim to be turned into building insulation you can buy at home improvement stores. Find information on donating denim at bluejeansgogreen.org.

On the road

Would you get an alternative-fuel or hybrid vehicle if it bested your car in emissions, cost, and performance? See how vehicles compare, using the U.S. Energy Department’s online calculator: afdc.energy.gov/calc.

In your kitchen

Pop the cork—and donate it: When you recycle wine bottles, don’t forget the stoppers. ReCork has collected over 110 million natural corks for reuse as shoe soles and other items. recork.com

As you shop

Reuse the containers: Is guilt-free Häagen-Dazs possible? Wastewise, maybe. Online store Loop sells the ice-cream brand and other staples in packaging you can send back for refills. loopstore.com

In the ocean

If you dive, join over 90,000 others worldwide who have picked up more than 1.8 million pieces of marine trash—so far. Learn more about this “dive against debris” initiative at projectaware.org.

This story appears in the May 2021 issue of National Geographic magazine.

For more stories about how to help the planet, go to natgeo.com/planet.

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