6 Ways YOU can Help the Environment
By : Santiago Melendez
1. Get a reusable straw!
It may seem inconvenient to carry around a straw, but when you think about the fact that any and all plastic ever created on the planet is still here, it’s alarming! Starbucks has announced that they will be switching to paper straws by 2020. Disneyland now only offers paper straws at any and all locations where you might need a straw.
Some might think: Won’t the straw get wet and mushy? It’s paper!
It is. And it might. But the minor inconvenience is nothing compared to the harm it has on turtles. A few years ago, a video went viral that showed a turtle with a straw that broke its beak because it was floating in the ocean.
Straws are small. They escape easily. Most waste doesn’t flow directly into the ocean, but it is incredibly easy for a straw to slip out and fall into a completely different stream that does lead into the ocean.
2. Get a reusable water bottle.
When getting a reusable water bottle, make sure to get one that is not made out of plastic!
If you buy a case of water at the grocery store and refill those water bottles, you are still supporting the industry.
Again, all the plastic ever made is still on the planet. None of it has decomposed.
A reusable water bottle can range from $5-$50. It all depends on what you want. But a case of water bottles at the grocery store costs around $5. So if for the same price, you can fill up your water bottle for free and you’re saving money in the long run, why not? California State University, Long Beach has refillable water stations all over the campus. Each floor on the library has one by the bathrooms. Save your money, and save the environment!
3. Take your own reusable cup when you go out for coffee
I know...another thing you have to remember when going out. However, many companies offer a discount whenever you bring your own cup! Starbucks, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Pete’s, and many more places offer a discount whenever you bring your own mug/cup. It’s a small gesture to do, but you can always carry it in your car or backpack so you have it ready to go when needed!
On campus, you can get your CSULB student discount as well as an additional $.10 off your Starbucks order!
4. Bring your own bags to the grocery store!
With this one, you don’t get any discount, but it is incredibly easy to do!
Keep a few bags in your car that you can reuse, or if you don’t have any, they are normally very cheap. They can range from $1-$5. They are relatively cheap and make a big difference in the long run!
Many stores have begun charging $.10 when you get a bag at checkout. So think about it this way: you save $.10 for a bag, you save $.10 at Starbucks, thats $.20. Do it five times, there’s $1.00. Do it five more times, there’s $2.00. Do it five more times, there’s $3.00, and another cup of coffee. Think about it as your own rewards program for the environment!
5. Stray away from plastic utensils when going out.
Yes, this one is harder. It’s hard to not use plastic utensils because it is so easy to just use a fork here and dump it afterwards. However, if you get take out and eat at home, just ask for no utensils and use your own at home!
If you want to take it a step further, take your own utensils. There are many on Amazon.com that you can order. They cost around $10, and make a huge difference. You can also just take a set from the ones you have at home and carry them around with you. Yes, it is something to carry around, but it takes up very little room and will, you guessed it, make a huge difference for the environment.
6. Fast Fashion
This is a big one that many people are not as aware about. Fast fashion is incredibly harmful to the environment. The fashion industry is huge on trends, what celebrities are wearing and what the most instagrammable piece is. However, in an article posted on The University of Queensland website, about 80 billion new pieces of clothing are produced each year.
Here’s a question: how many pieces of clothing do you actually wear?
When purchasing new clothing item think to yourself “will I wear this more than five times?” If your answer is yes, go for it. If it is no, then why buy it? It’s a waste of money and you can probably find the same article of clothing at a thrift store for a much lower price. Forever 21 and H&M are two of the most wasteful companies today, so when possible, try to avoid them!
It’s fun to turn thrift shopping into a game. How much can you save in one trip? It is sometimes looked down upon because it is second-hand and used clothing, but it is actually not that bad. Thrift stores have a lot of fun, vintage and cute clothing pieces. Instead of buying that $20 dress from Forever 21 that you may wear once to a dinner, why not spend $5 on a dress from a thrift store? All of a sudden you’re saving $15 that you can spend on your dinner later that night!