By: Maya Smith
With climate change, wildfires, and plastic sustainability issues becoming more prevalent in our society, you often hear people asking how they can make a difference. Not everyone has the resources or location access to go out and clean the oceans or fight fires, but there are steps you take to help the world become more sustainable. Of course, one person changing a lifestyle habit does not compare to a large industry’s changes, but a small change is still a change, and it will definitely help put your mind at ease of answering that call of “What can I do to make a difference?”
As a college student, making financial decisions that support organic, sustainable and overall green movements continue to hold the stigma that they are impossibly expensive. But as more and more of these sustainable products are produced, they become more readily available and of course, cheaper. There are a lot of reusable products that will even end up saving you money simply by using them or benefiting from a company’s reusable reward policy.
Most of these tips aren’t unique to campus, but to you as a consumer, so students not living out of their dorms right now can still benefit.
People are buying more clothes now than ever, meaning the industry is growing and so is the pollution produced by this industry. Poshmark is a great way to slow the spread of fashion by buying already worn clothes and selling your own! This is just as easy as any other shopping app, and you can ship right to your house or to campus. Personally, I have made just over $200 selling old clothes I would’ve just recycled anyway.
For my dorm, I have metal reusable utensils that are easy to wash and store, as they all clip together. You can find reusable products like mine in kitchen and camping sections of most home goods/camping stores. I bought mine at Moosejaw, but nearby Oxford stores like Walmart and Target also have some available in plastic and metal. Using a product like this will save you money on having to replace single-use plastic and save you time throwing out the garbage.
Getting snacks is an essential part of college, and because it is done so often, reusable bags should definitely be put to use. Reusable bags can hold more items, a greater weight of items, and of course, keep single-use plastic bags from being thrown out. Most people just go ahead and recycle their bags, but many recycling plants can’t recycle plastic bags, like the company that Miami uses. There are stores like Kroger and Target who have special plastic bag recycle bins; likewise, these same stores reward customers with money off their order every time they use a reusable bag.
Because it’s so accessible on campus, most Miami students have spent some time studying at one of the Starbucks locations. Miami offers lots of recycling bins around campus, but Starbucks does not yet have recycle bins inside their stores for customer use. All those plastic cups take a large toll. When considering how many times over the course of four years a student will make a Starbucks purchase along with the benefit of a discount every time a reusable cup is used, the purchase will be worthwhile. I know buying a reusable cup has also stopped me from going to Starbucks so often, as I only go when I have my cup with me.
These are some simple steps you can take to reduce your personal waste. But keep in mind, these changes should be made based on what best fits your lifestyle and to share what works for you.
Photos courtesy of Maya Smith and Pixabay