By Melissa Breyer, Mother Nature Network
The first Earth Day in 1970 led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts. We've come a long way in 42 years - green has gone mainstream and Earth Day has become a day to celebrate all things earthy. It's also become a day to celebrate freebies, coupon codes and sweepstakes. Here's a sampling of some of the promotions available.
• In true Earth Day spirit, Alternative Apparel has announced its "Buy a tee, plant a tree" initiative. Until April 22, they will have a tree planted for every item you purchase … in addition to a 20 percent discount.
• Caribou Coffee Company will reward sustainable coffee drinkers by offering free coffee to all customers who bring in a reusable mug on Earth Day.
• Target is giving away one reusable bag per customer on April 22; check at your store's guest service desk.
• Origins is offering a trade-in program on Earth Day. Fill out this form and bring it to any Origins store along with your (empty or full) skin-care cosmetic bottles, and receive a free, full-sized moisturizer.
• All Energy Star appliances of $299 or more are on sale by 10 percent at Lowe's through April 23.
• Whole Foods Market is asking people to share one simple change they're planning to make for Earth Day. Everyone who enters a comment until April 22 will be entered to win a year's supply of Eco-Scale rated cleaners from Better Life.
• Get a free "organic bunny toy" from Babo Botanicals with an order of $20 or more and coupon code EarthBabo (also free shipping in April with coupon code SPRING12).
• Receive 20 percent off all Earth Friendly toys at Barnes and Noble. No coupon code required. (Also, free shipping on any order $25 or more.)
• Cascadian Farm has created an Earth Day sweepstakes for five people to win a year's supply of Casacadian Farm products; another 100 winners will win a bag of organic goodies.
• Your kids can take home a free tote bag after completing a "Make-It-Take-It" project on April 22 from 1-3 p.m. Go here for details.
• Pangea Organics has a special Earth month sale with 20 percent off all orders in April (no coupon code).
• Pottery Barn Kids is giving out free packets of flower seeds on April 21 and April 22.
And once you've reaped the discounts and free swag from companies celebrating Earth Day, you can wish the honoree herelf a happy day by spending a mere $1 to plant a tree with The Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees Initiative. The rain forest - and the planet - will thank you.
Happy Earth Day!