10 Zero-Waste Practices You May Not Have Thought Of Doing

10 Zero-Waste Practices You May Not Have Thought Of Doing

You've given up plastic straws, but where do you go from there?

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Sure, you know how easy it is to buy a reusable water bottle or coffee cup, and you always bring your own grocery bags to the store with you, but what about the less well-known parts of a zero-waste lifestyle? There are plenty of wasteful day-to-day habits that we don't even think about!

Here are a few simple starters to really feel like you're making an impact in reducing your waste.

Ditch your cotton balls!

If you're like me, you have a need for two or three cotton balls or cotton rounds every day. This is an incredible amount of waste produced by just one person in a month or in a year. There's an easy solution — washable cotton rounds! Not only will you save money on disposable cotton balls, but you can find these replacements in many types of fabric that come with a laundry bag and are easy to wash! Plus, they can serve as makeup wipes when paired with micellar water or other types of makeup remover — reducing your waste in that area as well!

Buy local soap and shampoo bars.

A nice bar of hand soap always looks nice in a dish by the sink, but you can step up the aesthetic by adding in a facial wash bar, shampoo bar, and even conditioner bar! Buy local, unpackaged soaps and check natural grocery stores or community farmers markets to find natural washes of all kinds! Not only will you be supporting local businesses and reducing your plastic consumption, but you'll also be treating your body with natural ingredients.

Find a compostable bamboo toothbrush.

This one's easy! Next time you go to buy a toothbrush, instead of buying a plastic stick packaged in plastic, reach for a bamboo toothbrush instead. At the end of its life, it can be composted and will decompose literally hundreds of years before a plastic toothbrush would. You can even get a subscription from companies like Giving Brush. Plus, check out brands like Bite for toothpaste tablets that come in refillable glass containers to cut out the plastic and nasty chemicals from your dental routines.

Grab a set of bamboo utensils.

When the drive-thru bag is void of any utensils, you won't have to dig through the glove-box for an old plastic fork, you'll be ready to dig in with your bamboo set! These literally come in handy all the time! Buying yogurt at Starbucks? Don't pick up one of their plastic spoons. Picnicking? Grab your light set of bamboo utensils so you don't have to drag along heavy silverware or waste plastic ones! Plus, you can find them relatively cheap, and the sets are well worth the lifespan of the product!

Switch to a menstrual cup or washable fabric pads.

A menstrual cup may not be the most comfortable idea for everyone, but switching from disposable tampons to a cup is a huge reduction in waste. They can be a bit of an investment initially, but can literally last you your whole menstruating life. Or, if you're not ready to take that leap yet, opt for reusable fabric pads. These can be easily washed, and are incredibly more sustainable than the massive amounts of plastic that goes into the production and packaging of disposable pads.

Buy - or make! - beeswax food wraps.

Stop struggling to stretch cling wrap over your dishes and switch to beeswax food wraps! These wraps can be found from companies such as Bee's Wrap, or you can easily make it at home with some wax and cloth scraps. Plus, check farmer's markets or community #ZeroWaste hashtags to see if you can buy it locally. They're easy to care for and are long-lasting, so they're a good product to start collecting.

Use a biodegradable glitter!

This one's a bit more abstract. Glitter is something that literally flies under the radar, so most people don't think about it. However, glitter is generally a PET plastic material, so it's actually contaminating the environment when it gets loose. This glitter from the Package Free Shop is plant-based, so it's biodegradable. All the more reason to sprinkle on that little sparkle!

Ditch deodorants in plastic containers.

There's no reason to be buying a stick of deodorant completely covered in plastic when the plastic-free alternative is easy and safe! Buy or make your own deodorant in glass jars or reused containers for a natural alternative to the stick deodorants that literally block your sweat glands to stop your underarms from smelling. There are many companies such as Schmidt's (they even refill your empty containers when you send them in) that will keep you smelling nice without adding to the linear economy of plastic production.

Swap your plastic razor for a metal one.

Many of us are in the habit of reaching for our plastic razors on a day-to-day basis (at least in the warmer weather when our legs are exposed to the world), but these razors have an incredibly short lifespan and end up abundantly present in landfills. The easiest alternative? A metal razor, that will last forever and works just as well, if not better, than a cheap plastic razor. The replacement blades are cheap and come packaged without any plastic.

Pick reusable cloth diapers over disposable ones.

Anyone who's been around babies knows that they go through a lot of diapers, which end up directly in landfills. What's more, diapers aren't even supposed to be tossed. It can take up to 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose, and the fecal matter inside of them can contaminate groundwater and spread disease. The best option here is clearly to ask for cloth diapers at those baby showers and wash them between uses for an environmentally (and baby) friendly solution!

Every little bit counts. These everyday products might not seem like a lot, but you'll soon realize that many alternatives save you money in the end and are healthier than the plastic products and practices we're surrounded by. There are many creative low- or zero- waste people out there with tips, tricks, and products to use to avoid creating waste.

Follow hashtags on Instagram or subscribe to YouTubers who practice living zero-waste lifestyles. Do your part by supporting brands whose goals and methods you agree with and by switching to alternatives to the disposable stuff we use so much of today.

Keep learning, try your best, and hold yourself to your values.

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20 Fun Facts To Use When Introducing Yourself

As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!
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After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

3. I look up to...

Is there someone you adore? Who mesmerizes you? Who do you wish to learn from? After watching "A Ballerina's Tale," I discovered Misty Copeland. In 2015 she became the first African American ballet dancer to become the Female Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her passion, grace, and strength continuously motivate me to better myself as an athlete and an individual.

4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

8. I'm afraid of...

Your personality can be revealed by your likes and dislikes, including the things that you fear. I am terrified of change and the unknown, hence, the future is an anxiety-inducing topic to discuss for me.

9. I am the way I am because...

What have you gone through in life that has shaped you into who you are today? Remember to be open minded and allow yourself to open up to your peers. You may be surprised by how others respond and/or what others have endured as well.

10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

12. My hidden talents are...

Angelina Jolie is a knife thrower. Kendall Jenner can produce bird noises. Amanda Seyfried can crochet and knit. Is there anything special you can do? Some people have rare and unique talents, maybe you can think of some hidden talents of your own!

13. My guilty pleasure is...

I will say it a million times: don't be shy when introducing yourself to new people! I'll start by divulging my guilty pleasure: Youtube's family vlogging channel, "OKBaby"!

Check them out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvUCbnwzySKgbKiB_...



14. Some activities on my bucket list are...


This is an easy way to grab people's attention and find others with similar desires as you. Be an adventurer! Go out of your comfort zone!

15. Talk about your best friend...

How would your best friend describe you? What do you love to do with your best friend?

16. Talk about an accomplishment of yours...

You are incredible and have achieved so much! Reveal something that you are proud of — show off a little!

17. This one time at my job...

Bosses breathing down your neck. Curious coworkers asking personal questions. Cursing customers who never leave you alone. Your job can be filled with tons of hilarious situations that can easily entertain a crowd.

18. During the summer...

Any scars with stories? Any summer flings? Any lessons learned from the tanning too long? Now that summer is over, disclose memories that can leave positive impressions on others.

19. I volunteer at...

Do you do any community service? Share a funny moment while you were volunteering. What did you learn while there? Would you continue?

20. [blank] is meaningful to me because...



What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

Finally, remember to be outgoing! Reveal that three-mile smile and open your arms to learning about others. Spread smiles, love, and happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Being Sustainable Is Hard But It's Not Impossible

Although we've all heard of climate change and have witnessed the disastrous effects that humans have had on the environment, it still seems like most people are not subscribing to the ideals of sustainability.

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Sustainability is a tricky term. Most people that hear about it eventually put in the back of their minds, the same place they put "student loans" and "crippling depression." Most people know that to adhere to this ideal would mean to change how they live.

Sustainability is about adopting behaviors and systems that will ensure that the Earth is around for many generations after ours. Sustainability aims to preserve the Earth in terms of seven generations ahead. Seven generations after ours and societies on Earth will be using entirely different systems than what we do now, therefore, we should start this process now to ensure that they will be able to live comfortably and sustainably.

This is where most people tune out, understandably so. It's hard for us to think about the implications of our actions and how they will affect life on Earth much after our own deaths. It suddenly seems like an incomprehensible problem that no one person can ever solve.

"My actions won't make a difference," most people say, convinced that just because they stop eating meat or buying plastic or start drinking from paper straws, that nothing will change. However, what they fail to consider is how their actions will influence the minds of others around them, and one person who stops eating meat or using plastic sends a ripple effect through the people surrounding them. One person making lifestyle changes in the name of sustainability leads others to suddenly consider, "maybe I should eat less meat?" or "maybe I won't use single-use plastics anymore?"

The idea is not that any one person picking up plastic on the beach is going to save the planet, but rather that through education and awareness, we will all take small steps to preserve our home. Large groups of people all taking small steps leads to big changes, and politics and the economy will follow the demand of the people.

The most difficult thing for most people to do is to adopt those small behavioral changes. Not everyone can afford to stop eating meat, but everyone can afford to opt out of single-use plastics. Buying a personal water bottle is one easy way to do this. Stop buying plastic water bottles just to throw them away. If you need to buy them, make sure to recycle them. Instead of taking plastic silverware and straws from restaurants, bring your own reusable set.

Understandably, most of you are already cringing. It's hard to go against the grain and commit to living a plastic-free lifestyle for the sake of sustainability. And what about when you go to Chipotle with your zero-waste kit and somebody asks you a question about why you have that? Fear or convincing themselves that it's "inconvenient" will keep most of you from adopting these little changes that, over time, make a huge difference in the amount of plastic we put in our oceans.

Although we can't all be leaders of huge sustainability efforts to clean our oceans or buy an electric car, we can all make small changes to mitigate this tragic problem. On our current track, the last half of our lives will be starkly different from the first half, for the worse. Educate yourself and be part of the solution instead of the problem.

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