Each January, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, more commonly known as MLK Day, is recognized as a day of service, taking time to give back to the community. While this year’s MLK Day of Service may not involve large groups and projects, you can still make an impact on the environment and your community.  We’ve listed easy projects you can do right at home that make a big difference and honor the spirit of service.

1.Recycle Your Plastic Bags

Did you know that Americans use more than 14 billion single-use plastic bags a year? And only 1% of them are recycled. While plastic bags cannot be recycled in typical curbside recycling programs, many retailers and grocers have plastic bag return centers. Collect the disposable plastic bags in your home and recycle at a local drop-off center. Click here to find a location.

2. Become a Virtual Naturalist

This joint project with National Geographic and the California Academy of Sciences relies on citizens to help document our country’s flora and fauna through the platform, iNaturalist. With millions of observations recorded, this information is used by educators, researchers and environmentalists.  Download the iNaturalist app and record your observations about wildlife around you.

3. Start Composting

According to the EPA, food and yard waste account for 30% of our waste. Composting is a great way to put your food scraps to good use and help save the planet in the process. You’ll first need to identify an area either inside or outside your home to collect food waste and devise a plan for what and what not to compost. Find easy how-to steps, educational resources and uses for your composted material here.

4. Plant a Tree

Trees work hard to make our environment better. Trees absorb pollutants and produce oxygen, improving air quality. In addition to improving water quality and reducing erosion, trees also provide necessary habitats to a host of wildlife. Planting a tree not only helps the environment but enhances the beautification of your community. Find easy guidelines and a step-by-step guide here.

5. Take a Cleanup Walk

You don’t need an organized cleanup to help keep your community clean. Safely take a walk and bring a bag for collecting garbage with you. As you walk, collect any litter along the way and dispose after you walk.

6. Choose Renewable Energy

Power your home with solar and wind energy for as little as $5 per month. With Greener State,  it’s easy – no equipment necessary, just simply purchase Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Click here to pick the plan for you.