Observed by more than a billion people in 192 countries, Earth Day is the most celebrated holiday on earth. It’s a time when people reflect on our planet’s splendor, on human environmental impact, and upon ways individuals and organizations can take action to preserve and improve our world. In short, Earth Day is about inspiring people to make a positive impact on the environment.

It Isn’t as Hard as You May Think to Make a Positive Impact on the Environment

You might read this and wonder what you and your household can do to make a positive impact on the environment. After all, you represent only one person and one family; how much impact can you really have? A lot. You might be “only” one, but having an impact is about one person, one household, one community, city, region, state, country and continent committing themselves to making a positive difference in the environment and then taking action.

Taking individual action isn’t difficult or complicated, either. It doesn’t require donations to environmental groups, intricate planning, formalized commitments or membership in a club. Best of all, there are many measures one can take—some small, others more comprehensive—to make a difference in the environment. Since this is a technology blog, we are focusing on five tech-related ways readers can make a positive impact on the environment to celebrate Earth Day 2019.

Recycle Old Electronic Devices for Earth Day 2019

You can recycle old electronic devices a number of ways. The most obvious is to take or send them to a retailer, manufacturer or company that offers recycling. Retailers like Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot and others offer various options. The company ecoATM has established a nationwide network of standalone kiosks, where consumers can recycle old electronic devices and receive instant cash. Tech firms like Apple, Sprint, Amazon and others offer various incentives and programs that encourage consumers to recycle old electronic devices, too. Interestingly, Texas law requires television and computer-equipment manufactures to provide consumers with ways to recycle old electronic devices.

You can also recycle old electronic devices by donating them to nonprofit organizations like Goodwill, local senior groups, schools and others. These organizations will put your old tech into the hands of people who can still get lots of use from it.

How does recycling make a positive impact on the environment? First, virtually every modern rechargeable device uses lithium-ion batteries, which contain toxic, flammable chemicals and present a great fire risk if not properly disposed of. These batteries are not supposed to be thrown away and are a great hazard if they end up in a landfill. Second, desktop computers, handhelds and appliances can also contain hazardous chemicals that can damage the environment if they end up in a landfill.

Power down Your Technology Vampires for Earth Day

These days, virtually every gadget and device that plugs into an outlet uses energy, even when in the “off” mode. How can you know for sure? If the device has a light that remains on when powered down, it’s still using electricity after you turn it off.

The most obvious way to defang these energy vampires is to unplug them. We recommend connecting multiple devices to a single power-strip surge protector. This way, you can both protect your devices and conveniently cut power to them all at once before leaving the house.

Upgrade Old Devices for Earth Day

With each subsequent device model, manufacturers tend to improve energy efficiency. Over the years, this has been especially evident in the smartphone market; however, makers of larger devices like computers and smart appliances regularly improve product efficiency, too. If your desktop computer is more than five years old, you’ll definitely improve its efficiency (not to mention its performance) by upgrading. The same is true for large appliances over 10 years old. In regard to smartphones and other portables, carriers like Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and others allow consumers to trade in old devices for discounts on new models. Saving energy is a crucial step in if you want to make a positive impact on the environment.

Get a Nest Learning Thermostat for Earth Day

Handheld devices, computers and appliances aren’t the only products that have become brainier, more connected and more efficient over the years. The Nest Learning Thermostat is a primary case in point. This device connects into your existing HVAC system and, once powered on, logs onto to the internet via your home Wi-Fi. During its first few days of use, the thermostat tracks your daily adjustment routine and uses the input to create a usage schedule. It then begins making automatic adjustments to the temperature without further input from you. According to Nest, this thermostat can reduce monthly heating and cooling bills by up to 20 percent, which definitely help you make a positive impact on the environment.

If you’re a GVEC member, you’ll also become eligible for Rush Hour Rewards after connecting a Nest Learning Thermostat to your system. Rush Hour Rewards is our latest peak demand program, and we’ll give you a one-time $85 bill credit just for signing up. After that, we’ll give you an additional $30 credit each year you participant between May 31 and September 30. Plus, if you purchase a Nest through GVEC Home, you’ll get a special discount on the thermostat and on installation.

Go Solar for Earth Day 2019

At one time, the costs of solar energy were too high for the average consumer and even for most businesses. In the last decade-plus, though, costs have dropped and are now on par with and sometimes even cheaper than traditional generation technologies. With that being the case, we suggest that you go GVEC Solar for Earth Day.

At GVEC, we offer two options to help you go solar for Earth Day. The first, which we’ve offered through GVEC Home since 2012, is our rooftop solar panel systems. Since we began selling these systems seven years ago, solar technology has greatly improved, while the costs have continued decreasing. In 2017, we began doing in-house installations through our new Electrician services. This created a complete, start-to-finish, turnkey solution for customers, giving us greater oversight of quality control and of the customer experience. If you’d like to go GVEC Solar for Earth Day by investing in a solar panel system, call us at 855.898.8807 or visit GVEC Solar services on the web.

If don’t want to buy panels, but are still interested in solar energy and are a GVEC member, we offer a second option to help you go solar for Earth Day: GVEC SunHub Community Solar. Launched in 2017, our SunHub Generation Station facility is GVEC’s first renewable generation asset. It is comprised of 6,500 solar panels and can generate up to two megawatts of electricity, translating into four million kilowatt hours of clean energy each year. With SunHub, there’s no equipment to purchase or rent. All you need do is be a GVEC member and sign up. SunHub is currently enrolling, so it’s not too late to go GVEC Solar for Earth Day through our SunHub Community Solar program. For more information, call us at 800.223.4832 or visit our SunHub page at gvec.org.

Make a Positive Impact on the Environment Through the Power of Community

There you have it—five measures you should consider taking for a positive environmental impact in celebration of Earth Day 2019. Sometimes it’s tempting to think no one person can make much difference, but this is a misconception. It is the power of each individual that forms the whole of community, and by acting together, we can create a potent force for change, helping shape a greener, healthier world for everyone—now and for future generations.

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