With environment crises like ocean pollution and global warming, here are 5 small ways to help out mother Earth, and save a little money along the way.
1. Swap Plastic For... Anything Else.
Plastic is often the go-to packaging for many items such as groceries, makeup, and all kinds of other packaged goods. Normally you use whatever is being packaged in the plastic, then throw away the packaging. But plastic is not biodegradable, and at the high rates at which plastic gets thrown away, choosing any other option is better for the environment.
Your cashier at the grocery store always asks paper or plastic, and you never give it a second thought? Try to swap plastic groceries bags for paper, or better yet, use reusable grocery bags, which you can buy in bulk for cheap. Always stopping by Starbucks for your morning coffee?
Those plastic straws can add up fast. Affordable metal straws can be bought in bulk, and often include their own cleaners. Better yet, throw away (recycle it!!) the whole cup and swap it for your favorite stylish water bottle! In most places where you can purchase beverages, such as fast food restaurants, you can request your drink to be put in your own cup, rather a disposable one.
Even buying fresh, uncut produce over pre-cut fruits and vegetables inside plastic packaging seems like a small change, but makes a big difference.
2. Shop For Pre-Owned Clothing
Looking for an outfit that will make you stand out at the party tonight? Your first thought might be to hit the mall, but is that the best option? Thrift stores sell pre-owned clothing often for much less money, and reuse of a garment is much better than contributing to fast fashion, an industry that pollutes the environment with greenhouse gases. You can also purchase pre-owned clothing through apps such as Depop and Mercari, or on the Facebook marketplace/Facebook groups.
3. Reusable, Reusable, Reusable!
Cotton pads, makeup remover wipes, paper towels, what do these all have in common? They are used once and thrown away, adding to the mass of earth's waste. Swapping out these simple items for their reusable equivalents not only decreases waste but decreases the money you spend as well. These items are a staple on many grocery lists and are purchased frequently as they are used once and then tossed.
Reusable cotton rounds can be bought in bulk and thrown in the wash to reuse over and over again. The Makeup Eraser is a washable cloth that just requires you to wet it and takes off all your makeup, eliminating the need for disposable makeup wipes. Any microfiber cloth will work and can be found at any dollar store. Simply cleaning your messes and spills with a rag instead of opting for paper towels is a simple change you can make without needing to go out and purchase something new.
4. Shop Local
Supporting your local vendors has many positive effects, including helping the environment. By giving your money to a local shop, you are not supporting larger corporations that gravely contribute to pollution caused by the transportation of goods and production at mass scales in factories. Investing in your community rather than chain corporations is a great way to uplift the place you and those around you call home.
Check out your local farmers' market, or plan a shopping day exploring your town with friends to find the most unique mom-and-pop shops. Who knows, you might discover a new favorite store or restaurant that's been right around the corner this whole time!
5. Pick Up Trash
This final tip costs nothing, and takes little to no time. It's this simple: if you see trash on the ground, pick it up and properly dispose of it. I walk past so much trash on the ground every day that it doesn't even seem abnormal, which needs to change. Encourage your friends and loved ones not to litter, and if you see a piece of trash on the ground, pick it up and throw it out. Simple, small acts like this make the difference between trash ending up in landfills or in bodies of water filled with marine life.
Earth is the only planet that can sustain life, and it doesn't seem like that's changing anytime soon. It is our responsibility to keep our planet healthy and safe for all lifeforms residing here. With these simple tips, you can make the first step in treating Earth less like a frat house, and more like a home.