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Simple Ways to Be More Sustainable

Ditch the Disposables

A 2018 study by the State University of New York at Fredonia found microplastics in 93% of bottled water (Mason, Welch, & Neratko, 2018). Reduce your intake of microplastics and save nearly 1,500 plastic water bottles from ending up in landfills annually by switching to a reusable bottle. Check out these reusable cups and koozies from our collaboration with Cafe Virtuoso!

Plastic-Free Toiletries

It can feel impossible to go about your day without using something packaged in plastic. This is especially evident in the bathroom. Transition plastic out of your personal care items by opting for bar soaps and conditioners. If you can’t go without liquid soaps, head to your local refill shop and fill up your empty containers!

Bulk Bins

A lot of the plastic waste we produce originates from the grocery store. Most grocery stores have bulk bin areas where you can fill up on staple foods like rice, dried fruits, nuts, pasta, and even candy for cheaper prices. Ask your local grocer if they will weigh your heavier containers before filling up or utilize lighter containers such as paper or cotton bags. Your pantry will also look much more organized with everything in reusable containers.

Shop Secondhand

The fast fashion industry is a large resource consumer and polluter with underpaid factory workers often operating in unsafe conditions. Buying secondhand clothing reduces the demand for new goods,  lengthens the clothing life span, and reduces the amount of microplastics that come off clothing in the washing machine. Plus, it’s a great way to find unique and vintage items for a bargain. Check out this Intern Research Paper for more information on the fast fashion industry.

Giving New Life To Old Clothing

Have you worn your clothes until they were worn out? Try turning what cannot be donated into cleaning rags, napkins, quilts, or creative patches to spice up other clothing. This diverts textiles from landfills and gives clothing a new life.

More Plants, Less Animals

Switching to a plant-based diet can greatly reduce your environmental footprint. Did you know cows are one of the leading producers of methane, a major greenhouse gas? According to Dana Hunnes at UCLA Sustainability, individuals can cut their water use in half by ditching meat and dairy. Consider trying meat-free Mondays or only eating one meal a day derived from animal products. When you do eat meat, opt for more sustainable options such as grass-fed or pasture-raised.

Using Every Last Drop

It may take some time for your shower to warm up, but that water doesn’t need to go down the drain! Put a clean bucket in your shower to collect that extra water until you’re ready to hop in. This water can then be used to water plants, wash your car, cook, etc. Additionally, running a full dishwasher can use as little as 3 gallons of water compared to about 27 gallons per load when done by hand. If you do not have a dishwasher, fill up your sink with water to do dishes rather than continuously letting the water run.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

The next time you are in the market for a new household appliance, check out energy-efficient options that will cut back on your energy bill. Many areas offer rebates for switching out old, inefficient appliances. Make sure you recycle the old, and consider purchasing good-as-new refurbished appliances. Less costly energy-saving swaps include air drying laundry, switching to LED lightbulbs, and unplugging small appliances when not in use.

Water Diversion Systems

Utilizing rainwater and greywater is a great way to cut back on water costs and conserve treated tap water. Most rainwater diversion systems involve collecting the water that runs off your roof and into your gutters. Greywater systems involve repurposing water used for laundry, showers, and handwashing. This non-potable water can then be utilized for watering plants or filling up pools and fountains. In more complex systems you can source your toilet and laundry water solely from rainwater.

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