Living Green and Your Environmental Impact

Growing up, most of us have heard the magic three R’s in regards to taking care of the earth: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Though we’ve been taught some of the ways we can try to help the earth, there is plenty more we can do to help improve our impact on the environment.

One of these ways is saying no to the plastic bags we are given at the store. Have you ever been stuck with a dozen plastic bags after grocery shopping with nothing to do with them? A great alternative to these plastic bags, which pollute our oceans and landfills, is to start using reusable bags.

Cole Harrison, a senior business student, said, “I have about five big bags that I’ve collected overtime that I bring when I go shopping. I just keep them in the trunk of my car and whenever I go shopping I use them. I know I’m not completely changing the world when I do that, but I do feel better unloading my groceries and putting my reusable bags away rather than throwing away a bunch of plastic bags.”

Another way you can do your part in taking care of the earth is to buy products with less packaging. While opening packages, it may slip our minds the amount of plastic we are throwing away. While shopping or ordering products online, try to find products that do not come with a lot of packaging, or ones with packaging that can be recycled or are biodegradable. Etsy is a great website to search for products with eco-friendly packaging, as a lot of Etsy’s business owners are changing their packaging to eco-friendly to improve their impact on the planet.

A term that recently gained significant popularity is upcycling. Upcycling is reusing objects or materials that you may already have in your possession and using them to create another product of higher quality or value than the original. For example, some people take part in upcycling when they use mason jars for their flower pots, or when they use leftover fabric from old blankets or clothes for gift wrapping.

Though these small acts of upcycling may not seem significant in fixing the entire Earth’s environmental issues, they significantly help manage your local waste production. Larger acts of upcycling include things such as turning plastic bottles into shoes or repurposing wood to make quality furniture.

Kaitlin Fitzgerald, a sophomore health studies student, said, “I own a pair of shoes from Converse that uses recycling and manufacturer waste to create them. My mom got them for me a little while ago, and you honestly can’t tell the difference between them and a pair of new Converse shoes.”

Another great way to take part in improving Earth’s environment is to make sure that you are conscious of what energy your household is using. The energy from plugs, lights, and electronics add up when they are being used every day. Being conscious of what your household is using for energy can help you slowly use less and cut down on energy use as a whole.

Lowering your thermostat, unplugging appliances that you are not using, and washing clothes with cold water when possible are great ways to start taking your energy usage seriously. Not only will this help save the Earth, but it will also lower your energy bills.

When we take the slogan “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” seriously and implement it in our everyday lives, we are able to take part in making the Earth a better place.