Even though Earth Day isn’t officially celebrated until April 22nd, the full month of April is dedicated to appreciating the planet we call home, and there’s plenty to celebrate! It’s also an opportune time to examine the ways that we can be more eco-friendly both culturally and on an individual basis. This may seem like a daunting task at first, but there are a wide variety of simple actions to incorporate into your daily routine that can make a world of difference.
Reduce, reuse, recycle:
This is perhaps the piece of advice that is most often repeated, but it’s easy to forget when we’re also surrounded by a culture that encourages constant consumerism. When possible, try to make purchases based on quantity rather than quality to reduce waste, and consider donating or reselling products that are still in good condition when you’re done so others don’t have to buy new items. Try to buy products in recyclable packaging so that when you’re done, you can simply drop it in the nearest recycling bin.
Use toiletries with as few synthetic ingredients as possible:
As college students on a tight budget this can be difficult, since the products you use in the shower are quite literally money down the drain but try to opt for toiletries with as many natural ingredients as you can. Since many of the products we use are actually toxic, they harm biodiversity when they end up in the ocean, plus their plastic packaging creates more landfill waste. Try to buy products with natural bases, and consider using bars of soap, shampoo, and conditioner if possible to avoid plastic bottles.
Incorporate more plant-based foods into your diet:
Go green in more ways than one by cutting back on animal products and replacing them with plant-based alternatives! Animal agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases and the world’s biggest source of air and water pollution, so by reducing your demand you can reduce the damage. This is also a great opportunity to expand your palate and try something new, so look for some recipes and get creative!
Keep it local:
By buying from local stores, restaurants, and farmers, you reduce the transportation needed to bring products to you, and you support your community as well! You could also try to coordinate shopping trips with friends or family so you can carpool. (Just don’t forget your reusable shopping bags!)
Ditch single-use plastics:
While recycling is great, it’s even better to find alternatives that cut out single-use plastics altogether. Consider investing in a reusable water bottle or coffee cup, metal or glass straws, bamboo utensils to carry with you to avoid plasticware, non-liquid soaps, beeswax paper instead of plastic wrap, and more! If you find yourself throwing specific items away regularly, see if you can find a more sustainable substitute.
While these may seem like small steps, they add up over time, so consider taking some time this Earth Month to take care of the planet that takes care of us.
image source: https://www.seattleu.edu/cejs/events/earthmonth/