Happy 2018! The greater part of the western world has finally realized that we are overproducing at a rate that is creating an excess of plastic waste that has now polluted a huge portion of the world's oceans. I could not be more ecstatic that people are realizing the issue at hand; plastic is not a realistic option if we want to continue to nourish and live on the big, blue planet Earth.

As a result of this realization, most companies and restaurants are now either working to ban or eliminate all straws from production, as a result of consumer action. Yay! Our voices are being heard and production of plastic is decreasing as a result! This is a huge step for civilization and for the environment. The sea turtles are thankful.

So, you stopped asking for a straw at dinner or with your coffee, which is great! But, it doesn't have to stop there! There is still so much plastic waste being created and used at a nearly unsustainable rate. I encourage you to look for other non-plastic or low-waste alternatives in your lifestyle. Not using a straw is an excellent way to get your foot in the door of green living! Here are some great ideas to look into if you're interested in helping the turtles out just a little extra.

1. Try to cut down on eating out

The fast food industry produces so much sage-use waste. Think about the things you throw away after a McDonalds run that were used once and will end up in a land fill! Consider setting more time aside to make good, low-waste food a priority. Not only will you wallet thank you, but so will your waistline AND the sea creatures. Win, win, win!

2. Re-think your routine and consider waste-free alternatives

Take a moment and think about how much plastic you use in your daily routine, for instance, in the bathroom. There's a huge amount of plastic used both in most skin routines and in the shower. Now, companies are developing waste-free alternatives for the shower, like shampoo and conditioner bars as well as face cleansers that pack a whole routine into one face wash. Re-examine other areas of your life and see where you can cut out plastic! (There are so many smell-good options for shampoo bars out right now)

3. Watch your carbon footprint contribution

I know every once in awhile everyone likes to take a long, hot shower, but try to cut the majority of showers down to five minutes or less. Unplug electronics when they aren't being used. Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth. Utilize natural light. Spend more time outside by biking to class versus driving those 4 blocks. Get toned legs and save the earth in the process! You go sis!

4. Switch to non-plastic alternatives when possible

Plastic eating utensils, plastic bags, and plastic water bottles are all super easy swaps in an everyday routine. You can customize your new water bottle with Mo State stickers. Reusable bags at the grocery store means no more having thousands of plastic bags under the kitchen sink. Amazon has some awesome bamboo eating utensils on sale for cheap that are reusable, cute, and biodegradable when you are done using them. (These even come with a travel case)

5. Consider a minimalist or low-waste lifestyle

For those of you looking for a sure-fire way to cut out unneeded plastics or belongings in your life, minimalism is for you! It is a lifestyle prompted by the idea that human beings are supposed to be living with less than we currently do. An excellent place to start, if you are interested, is the minimalist documentary on Netflix or their consequent podcasts available for streaming on Spotify. You'll declutter your life, feel more productive, and create less waste in the process. (Super cool dudes living for the right reasons)

With a little extra effort, we can all take more steps towards living with less and living with less waste. Let's do it for those sea turtles!