By: Kara Headley
The way today’s society is set up, it is incredibly hard to produce as little waste as possible, especially as a broke college kid. Unless you have the money, it is nearly impossible to live waste free, seeing as many environmentally-friendly products are either expensive or hard to find. For example, biodegradable, environmentally friendly toothbrushes exist, but- on amazon.com- a four pack of these cost between $11-13, whereas a four pack of normal, plastic toothbrushes cost about $8. Since environmentally friendly products like these toothbrushes are either expensive or not well known to the public, I’m here to propose 3 ways you can be more environmentally conscious at very little cost to you.
- Take Shorter Showers!
A ten minute shower uses about 40 gallons, or about 4 gallons a minute. By deciding that hey, maybe I don’t need to stand under the water and contemplate the meaning of life for those extra 5 minutes, you can save 20 gallons of water per shower. There are other, less wasteful ways to ponder what’s wrong with the world.
- Ditch the Plastic Water Bottle!
Americans use 50 million plastic water bottles a year. “Well, I recycle mine,” you say. However, only 23% of plastic water bottles are recycled every year, putting 77% of these bottles into landfills. The key to cutting down this waste? Just stop using them!
On amazon, a case of plastic water bottles costs about $8, while a reusable water bottle costs anywhere from $8-15. So, for $8, you can either have 24 bottles of water and a bunch of waste, or as many bottles of water you want (all you have to do is refill!) and zero waste. The choice is yours.
- Plastic Bags? Who’s She?
When you go to the store to buy groceries or clothes or party supplies or anything, the cashier packages your items in layers of plastic with handles. You carry your items home, then get rid of the bag. Seems pointless right? Why use all this plastic on a one-time use item? Well worry no longer!
Reusable grocery bags are a great alternative to these plastic bags. I have found that many stores sell these bags for about $2 a bag, or you can go to the dollar store and get some real cute ones for only a dollar. Stores like Target even give you 5 cents off for each reusable bag you bring. So if you get a dollar store bag, after 20 trips to Target, it’s paid for itself. Seems like a worthy investment, doesn’t it?
Reducing waste isn’t some mountainous landfill to climb, it’s little actions in our everyday life that add up to the bigger picture. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars of biodegradable toothbrushes (although, if you can, they’re pretty nifty); instead, you can start small. Cut down your shower time or say no to plastic products. Change starts with a conscious choice- the choice to change.