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Simple sustainable swaps to be more eco-friendly after Earth Day

Elana Jadallah, a photographer who uses her Instagram to promote environmental activism, shared some of her favorite sustainability "swaps."

PORTLAND, Maine — Eco-friendly habits do not have to stop after Earth Day.

Elana Jadallah, a photographer who uses her Instagram to promote environmental activism, shared some of her favorite sustainability "swaps," habits you can change to be more conscious of our impact on the environment.

1. Do a waste assessment

Jadallah suggests counting all the times you touch plastic in a day, or collecting all the plastic you use in a week and keeping it in a separate bin, and then laying it all out at the end of the week.

"When we see our waste, it's an 'aha' moment, it's a lightbulb moment. We can look at what the duplicates are or what we're using most frequently and find a reusable alternative," Jadallah said.

2. Shift your mindset: turn waste into a resource

For example, composting. The City of Portland just launched a new, free composting program. People can drop off food waste at one of five locations, four of which are open 24/7.

"I highly recommend people compost. Illuminate methane from getting into our atmosphere. Coffee grounds are one of the worst things to throw into our trash. All of our food scraps can be turned into beautiful, healthy soil that can help in so many different ways," said Jadallah.

3. Look at your buying habits and how you can reduce your consumption

Bringing your reusable coffee cup to your favorite coffee shop, or using a reusable water bottle are two quick and easy ways.

"Whether you consistently buy single-use plastics or whether you consistently buy fast fashion, wherever you are consuming a lot, look how you can buy less," said Jadallah.

"I don't want to tell anybody to go buy anything. I want people to look at how they can buy less, consume less," said Jadallah. "Finish up everything we have, use it to the end of its life, and then when we need to replace, buy better. Buy something that is reasonable. It's just more of a mindset shift than a purchase of anything."

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