The Green Hope Falcon

Five Easy Ways to Start a More Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle

Audrey Compiano, Staff Writer

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In a world with every-growing pollution and climate change, it’s important that everyone does their part. Society has developed an unhealthy mentality that if you can’t do everything, you shouldn’t do anything. That is not true. A collective effort is what cultivates change and it’s all about starting small where you can and doing your part. Making a change depends on all individuals willing to make mindful decisions towards the environment and understanding how we all impact it.

As students, it can sometimes seem hard to understand how we can make changes when we are busy and overwhelmed with our own lives, but it doesn’t take a lot to make a difference. Here are five simple tips on how to start making a positive impact on the environment:

  1. Bring reusable bags to stores

As students, we might not always go to the grocery store but we all shop at somewhere. Whether you’re getting groceries or going to the mall to get a new pair of jeans, it’s so easy to bring your own tote bag. You can find cute ones on places like Etsy which support small businesses, but there are also cheap alternatives at places like TJ Maxx which sell bags for $0.99. By leaving your bag(s) in the car, they will always be there when you need them. This small act makes a big difference. Think of all the times you buy something and imagine all the plastic bags that won’t end up in the garbage!

2. Bring reusable utensils for lunch at school

Not only will you be ensured to have what you need if you bring your own spoon, fork, and knife, but you’ll reduce on everyday plastic use. It’s one less thing that you could find in landfills. Kits are sold on Etsy that are easy to keep in your bag or purse, but it can be as easy as putting utensils in your lunch bag that came from home. This practice can also extend farther than school. If you create this habit, you’ll realize how often you use plastic cutlery at different restaurants and in different situations. Cultivating mindful practices like this will help you better understand your effect on the earth.

3. Use a reusable water bottle and coffee mug/tumbler

A great way to reduce on waste in your day-to-day life is by owning and using a reusable water bottle and if you are a frequent Starbucks-goer, then a coffee mug or tumbler. Bottled water accumulates single-use plastic very quickly and is very expensive in the long run. This also allows you to fill up throughout the day instead of throwing away a bottle after you use it. My personal favorites are metal ones like S’well or Hydro Flask because they keep your drink cold for longer and don’t grow mildew or mold like some plastic ones may if you do not wash them consistently. Bringing your own cup to coffee shops will act in similar ways by reducing on single-use plastic and adding one less thing to the trash can. Another cool bonus about bringing reusable cups is that a lot of coffee shops will provide discounts on drinks. Starbucks takes $0.10 off your drink order each time you bring in a reusable cup which may not sound like a lot but it really does add up, especially being broke high school students.

4. Thrift shop

Most people don’t realize it, but there’s a lot more to thrift shopping than looking hipster. Thrifting is a very cool way to recycle. By recycling clothes, you are helping reduce on waste, pollution caused by the production of synthetic fabrics and transportation of resources and products, and chemical pesticides used when growing cotton and flax for linen. Other personal benefits to thrifting are saving loads of money and having unique pieces in your wardrobe. It can take persistence to find things you like but some places to check out are Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, Uptown Cheapskate, and Rumors. There are some online thrift stores too– Depop and Poshmark being the most popular. Their apps are free to download. In addition to buying clothes at these places, you can also sell them to make some extra cash and recycle your own clothes.

5. Make food instead of buying prepackaged

Not only will you reduce on waste by not having extra waste, but it’s much healthier and saves a lot of money. Making your own lunch can be really simple. It doesn’t just have to be sandwiches and fruit; you can make things like homemade granola bars or muffins. A great place to look for simple and quick recipes is Pinterest. By making your own food, you reduce on waste that comes from individually wrapped foods and in turn, you aren’t eating preservatives or extra additives.

Something to keep in mind as you engage in everyday activities is that plastic never fully biodegrades because of the way it is manufactured and loads of fossil fuels and energy go into creating it. Plastics also tend to make their way to oceans, harming the ecosystems. It’s our responsibility to start treating our Earth with care. It is not just our home and if we do not give back to our planet, we will continue to degrade the land, water, plants, animals and air– all of which we are dependent on.

About the Contributor
Audrey Compiano, Staff Writer

Audrey Compiano is a junior at Green Hope high school.  She was born in Iowa, but moved to North Carolina as a child.  This is her first year on The...

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Five Easy Ways to Start a More Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle