12 Plastics To Ditch To Live A More Sustainable Life

12 Plastics To Ditch To Live A More Sustainable Life

Did you forget to reduce, reuse, and recycle?
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Society is constantly changing an improving, but we still tend to hang around plastic. So many eco-friendly options are becoming available, but people are still using items that we should've said no to from the start. Below, you will find plastic items that you can cut out of your life and what you can replace them with.

1. Straws.

I have preached this so hard to everyone around me. Cut straws out of your life. As a college student that eats on campus, we get drinks that come in paper cups, with a plastic lid and a straw. Why not use that paper cup like you use just about all of your cups? Drink right from the edge. Easy solution there. Are you picky though? "You don't know who has touched the rim of that cup." Well, think again, because I've heard all of the excuses.

You can use straws without using plastic. Surprise! Stainless steel straws exist, and they're here to change your life. They are reusable, and they come with a cleaner. Easy dishwashing on the go.

2. Plastic silverware.

Everyone needs to eat and unless you're at home, or at a restaurant, you're most likely using plastic utensils. Well not anymore, because I have two options for you. Silverware can be reusable and come in a case for storing, it all depends on whether you would rather use stainless steel, or bamboo.

3. Toothbrushes.

Your toothbrush needs to be replaced every 3 to 4 months. That is 3 or 4 times in a year. If you replace your toothbrush as often as you're supposed to, after 20 years that can add up to 60 toothbrushes. And that will go on for the rest of your life, and not just for you. But for everyone around you. Bamboo toothbrushes are completely sustainable, for you and the environment. If you want to go the extra step, you can even get a bamboo toothbrush infused with charcoal to get those pearly whites. Traveling? You can even get a bamboo case for your toothbrush

4. Grocery bags.

Do I really need to include a link? Your local grocery store is most likely selling reusable grocery bags. Invest in some, please.

5. Plastic bags in general.

Like I just said. Grocery bags can be used just about anywhere. If you bring a reusable bag into a store and kindly ask the cashier to put it in your bags, they won't turn you down.

6. Cling wrap.

Cling wrap can get pricey, and you might not even want to buy it. So here's a tutorial on how to make your own reusable cling wrap out of cloth.

If you're not as talented, or just lazy, click on this link and order it straight from the internet. The good news is, it's washable, reusable, and compostable.

7. Cotton pads.

No more taking off your makeup with a cotton pad and throwing it away. Use these makeup remover pads that you can put right in the wash with your other towels, and use the next day. If you're feeling extra fancy, they come in multiple colors.

Another alternative is to use coconut oil to take your makeup off. I just dip my finger in the container, and smooth it around my face and then use a normal washcloth to wipe the extra off. Coconut oil acts as a great moisturizer, so it won't hurt if you leave any on your face.

8. Dryer sheets.

Ditch those dryer sheets. Dryer balls are in. They don't just get the job done, but they reduce drying time and are reusable!

Not a fan of how large they are and still want to use dryer sheets. That's fine... as long as you use these compostable dryer sheets.

9. Water bottles.

This is another one I don't need to include a link for. If you're still going about your day without a reusable water bottle, you're wrong. You can go in just about any store and buy one, whether it's a reusable plastic, glass, or stainless steel water bottle. Even a reusable plastic water bottle is better than a single-use plastic water bottle.

10. Garbage bags.

Garbage bags are a thing you can't reuse. Instead, composting options are available. Hefty makes a compostable garbage bag. Hefty. You read that right. Not everything has to be a small name company where you're not really sure if you can trust it or not. And, they just so happen to be one of the cheapest options on Amazon.

11. Tupperware.

You get your bang for your buck with this glass Tupperware set. Plastic Tupperware isn't the worst thing you could do. It's still reusable. You might as well go big or go home. With glass Tupperware, you can put it in the oven to cook delicious dishes.

12. Packaged produce.

Please, start bringing your own containers to put food in. First off, it is so much healthier for you to buy fresh produce. Secondly, when you buy packaged produce, you're wasting so much plastic. Those bags that you would normally toss your apples and bananas in? They can be replaced. Bonus: they're machine washable. Buy reusable produce bags.


Some items really aren't reusable. I get that. When you're shopping for daily needs, look at what can be reused multiple times. Read the labels to see if it is machine safe to wash, or even if it's compostable. Composting can be a chore, but it will pay off in the long run.

The list could really go on and on and on and on and on. You may only be on this Earth for a few decades, but you might as well do what you can to save it for the future.

Cover Image Credit: Mali Maeder

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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Educate Yourself And Spread Facts, Not Bias

Do you know the truth? Or are you allowing rumors to cloud your judgement of the political arena?

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In our society, the government has grown to be a capitalistic effort. Payout, backroom deals, we are unaware of many actions those that represent us take behind closed doors. The transparency we think we see is unrealistic and just not the way that politics actually work. In the entire world, governance has become essential to the survival and future of society. No two governments are the same, and they are essentially ever changing as many people of power change constantly.

This being said influence from these individuals rule the political sphere. Whether it be a local councilperson, senator, governor, or even the president.IN the U.S. our daily lives and wellbeing rest in the hands of the few. Some of these politicians are honest and work genuinely for the people. However, agenda frequently takes over the arena and leaves the decisions of our livelihood to the gains of politicians.

Our generation has the lowest voter turnout, leaving the decisions that we do have to older generations. Some of those hold ideologies that are not relevant nor acceptable to the climate we live in today. This is not a call to action but more of a thought. As someone who was incredibly uninvolved in politics, I wanted to look at why I lacked the care that other people my age held so passionately. I believe it starts with my distaste of conflict, which many people my age also agree with. Politics can lead to confrontation and negative conversation.

Therefore, who would want to make friendships and interactions awkward with an avoidable subject. I found myself straying from these conversations and becoming uncomfortable when friends assert opinions that I do not agree with. However, in taking classes where this environment hinges the change in industries I study. I was forced to form some type of opinion in the matter.

From here I decided to change the lens on how I looked at politics. Instead of shying away, I really listened to what my professors felt about it and their assertions. I then did my own research, looking into the history of matters that my peers and professors talked about. Educating myself on what the facts were, versus believing in rumors that I heard through the grapevine.

I started engaging friends in a positive manner, as opposing opinions are valuable in a holistic situational viewpoint. I became comfortable in the discomfort of politics and worked to learn what may be in store for our world. My point for this is to educate yourself on genuine fact. Do not assert opinions based on information that your friend or even a professor gives you, keep your knowledge on the subject relevant.

You never know when legislation may come out that seriously effects your way of life. Most importantly, knowledge is power and power is what those that leave us in ignorance have over us.

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