3 Creative Ways to Jump-start Spring Cleaning, Boost Your Wellness & Help the Planet

April 11, 2024
A woman wearing a white and blue striped shirt waters flowers beside a tree in her yard

Stock photo posed by model, sourced by Getty Images

We are on Earth to take care of life. We are on Earth to take care of each other.

Xiye Bastida
climate activist

These eco-conscious strategies can beautify the environment, improve the planet's health, keep cancer in check, and make you feel good. 


Earth Day, recognized every year on April 22, is a time for us to celebrate our planet and consider how we can protect it for generations to come. But did you know that taking steps to protect the Earth can also support your well-being? 

Improving the health of the environment benefits you and your loved ones, from reducing the risk of developing cancer to boosting wellness after a cancer diagnosis.

This Earth Day and year-round, consider these eco-friendly ways to contribute to a healthier environment, promote healthy lifestyle habits, and celebrate the world we live in — all at the same time:


1.    Go on a trash walk for a clean and trash-free environment.

Cleaning up litter beautifies your community and reduces your community’s risk of exposure to harmful chemicals and pollutants. Trash or litter that isn’t properly thrown away can leach toxic chemicals into soil and water. Grab your friends and a trash bag and get moving. Try these tips:

  • Join a community trash walk or organize your own event. Find an area in your community that needs to be cleaned up, like a local park or greenway.
  • Protect yourself. Wear gloves and close-toed shoes, and don’t forget to apply sunscreen.
  • Have a disposal plan. Properly dispose of trash and litter to prevent further pollution. If you have questions, check with your local municipality’s waste department. 

Find a cleanup near you or learn how to host one


"To leave the world better than you found it, sometimes you have to pick up other people’s trash."

— Bill Nye, mechanical engineer, science communicator, TV presenter


2.    Spring clean with eco-friendly products and methods.

Spring is a popular time for deep cleaning and making donations. During this year’s scrub-down and closet clean-out, try these sustainable techniques:

  • Reduce your waste. Use reusable cloths instead of paper towels for wiping surfaces and polishing furniture.
  • Swap out harsh cleaners for non-toxic products. Don’t be wasteful and toss them — you can use these products until they are empty and then replace them with safer alternatives. The Environmental Working Group provides a consumer guide with safety ratings of cleaning products, from air fresheners to laundry detergents. 
  • Rethink before ditching clothes. Don’t throw that old T-shirt in the trash. Instead, consider donating gently used clothing items to local shelters or clothing donation bins. If your garments are damaged or worn out, you can repurpose them by cutting the fabric into cleaning cloths. 

Find more tips to donate and repurpose used clothing.


3.    Get planting!

Plants, both indoor and outdoor varieties, are not only vital sources of health for our planet. They also offer health benefits for us earthlings. Indoor plants have been found to improve air quality, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being.1 Outdoor gardening can get you moving, providing low- to moderate-intensity exercise. And if you want to grow your own food, starting a vegetable and herb garden can increase the diversity of your diet.2

Gardening can also have mental health benefits. Research suggests that gardening can boost our mood just like walking and cycling can.3 Regular physical activity, proper nutrition, good air quality, and a healthy amount of stress are all important factors in reducing your risk of cancer and supporting your health after a cancer diagnosis. 


“All our wisdom is stored in the trees.”

— Santosh Kalwar, poet, writer, researcher


Gardening and caring for plants can be simple and small-scale. So, you don’t need a “green thumb” to get started. Here are a few tips if you are new to gardening: 

  • Get educated. Research native plants that thrive in your area. Pick a few that you can plant in your yard or in a container on your porch. Bonus if they support your local pollinators.
  • Plant a tree. Plant a sapling in your yard or take part in a local tree-planting event.
  • Start small. Add an indoor plant to your living space.

Sun Safety Tip

Make sure to protect yourself when you’re gardening in the sunshine. Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States.4 Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to the sun.

Get Tips to Protect Your Skin


Earth Day reminds us that our small actions can have a large impact on the health of our planet and our well-being. Let’s use this Earth Day as an opportunity to make the commitment to greener choices for healthier lives and a healthier planet.


  1. Kaitlyn Phoenix. 8 Healthy Benefits of Indoor Plants, According to Horticulture Experts. July 18, 2019. Prevention.com. 
  2. Jamie Reno. Cancer Prevention: How Gardening Can Lower Risk and Boost Mental Health. January 10, 2023. Healthline.com.
  3. Christopher Ingraham. Gardening boosts your mood as much as some types of exercise, study finds. May 15, 2020. Washingtonpost.com. 
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Skin Cancer. CDC.gov.