10 Ways To Save The Environment

10 Ways To Challenge Yourself And Save The Environment

Some simple ways you can alter your lifestyle to help save the environment.

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The latest trend: Going Eco-Friendly. Everyone makes it look so easy, but if you're practically clueless as to which product goes into the recycling bin and which does not, saving the environment is not one of the top priorities on your checklist. I'm not asking you to do something too drastic, like going Vegan, but I have thought of some pretty simple but helpful ways to save the environment. Feel free to use what works for you and share to help a brotha out!

1. Say "no" to plastic straws.

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You've heard the latest debate about banning straws. If you don't need it, don't use it -simple as that. If you do need it, but are still eager to save the environment, there is a new straw that is reusable, unfolds itself, and attaches like a key chain.

2. Bring your own reusable cup, water bottle, and containers.

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Ok, so you may have to carry one of everything like a camel, but think about how much plastic you're not using! Starbucks addict? Buy a travel tumbler -if you're there enough, you'll use it. If you eat takeout three times a week through work, now you don't have any Styrofoam take-out containers clogging your trashcan. All the while the little fishies in the ocean are thanking you, too.

3. Eat at a cafeteria.

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I know cafeteria food can be gross, but if it's not (or if you're feeling like treating yourself by going out to lunch,) then eat in there every now and then. By using washable, reusable plates and silverware, you are saving the environment. Small, simple, and not that difficult to accomplish.

4. Stop releasing balloons into the sky.

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Everyone sees the sad Facebook posts with a turtle tangled in a rubber balloon. We all share it, saying how sad it is, but then doing nothing about it! Save yourself the guilt by not releasing balloons, or even better -don't buy them! They are literally just a waste of space and materials, and deflate after three days anyway. It's neat to wonder where it'll end up when you let go, but is it truly worth it?

5. Throw away one piece of trash a day.

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Outdoor parks, neighborhoods, and open areas for wild animals to roam are constantly littered from trash, which they ingest and it all goes down hill from there. If you're a germaphobe, I'm sorry; but if you're willing to help the environment by doing this one small thing, then good for you!

6. B.Y.O.B -Bring your own bags.

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Each retail store sells their own reusable bag, at this point. By bringing your own, you're saving countless animals the hassle of digesting plastic bags.

7. Organize your trash.

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One thing I learned from going to Europe -don't be an idiot about your garbage. Americans just pile everything into one place, saying "eh, someone else will organize it." The truth: no one organizes it. Divide your trash into three common categories: scraps, plastics/paper, bottles/containers -however you'd like. This makes life easier for the municipal county workers, but also for recycling purposes. Curious about what to do with those table scraps? Check out the next tip.

8. Try composting.

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Composting is using old food scraps, leaves, grass, and hay to build soil for your garden next year. It's not for everyone, but if you enjoy gardening or would like to begin, this is a great way to kill two birds with one stone, while also saving millions of other birds.

9. Make a challenge out of it.

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Challenge yourself and your coworkers to produce as little waste as possible. For example, pack a container lunch with as little cling wrap/foil/wrappers as possible. Don't print copies of things you won't use. Reuse every scrap paper you have. At the end of the week, compare trashcans to see who has the least/lightest amount of trash. The person with the least amount of trash is the winner!

10. Know where your garbage goes.

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As I mentioned in the beginning, it's embarrassing how many people walk up to three trashcans labelled for different things, and people look at each other like "where are you going to put your leftover tuna?" To prevent this terrible moment, read the labels of your salad containers and whatnot, so you can confidently throw away your trash without hesitation.

I urge you to stay motivated! Going green isn't easy as people say it is. If we get enough people to do even these simplest of tasks, we can make a difference in how we affect the ecosystems around us. We've only got one Earth (and don't get me started on the whole living on Mars crap), so let's slow down and be mindful of our footprints.

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The Plastic Straw Ban Is A Good Thing, So Slurp On That

It is positive any way that you look at it.

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vdurgin
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As Starbucks and Disneyland both announced plans to remove plastic straws from their offerings, the debate surrounding the effectiveness of plastic straw bans seemed to reach a fever pitch.

Critiques of the ban run from cries of ableism to shames of lazy activism. Along with that span, people have questioned whether one person not using straws can even make a difference and questioned if plastic even harms the planet all that much.

For the last two points, the answer is a resounding "yes". Approximately eight million metric tons of plastic ends up in the world's oceans every year.

Starbucks' planned ban on straws will eliminate upwards of one billion straws a year; Disneyland's similar plan will remove more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually. This will hugely benefit marine life that is threatened by the increasing amount of plastic waste in the world's oceans.

But the immediate effect on ocean health is lost among the noise of other concerns surrounding the debate on bans. According to some, the ban is ableist because many with disabilities need straws in order to drink beverages.

This argument overlooks two key points: that Starbucks will offer non-plastic straws as an alternative to those who ask, and the fact that reusable straws of several different material and size options are available for inexpensive prices on sites such as Amazon.

The wider concern comes from a place of apprehension; will this just encourage people to not use straws and then think that is enough to save the planet? Will this just lull people into a calming mindset that they are doing enough, and should do nothing more?

I'm far from an expert, but in my humble opinion, plastic straw bans are none of the above. Are they a final solution to the multitude of climate change-related issues we all collectively face? No, not at all.

But refusing single-use plastic straws is a step easy enough for people to take in their daily lives. No average Joe will be able to stop bug oil companies from polluting water systems on his own. Jane Doe can't directly and single-handedly change a country's environmental policies.

But Jane and Joe and all of us can stop using plastic straws and throw them to a landfill after one use. The ban, and the subsequent push to convince people to refuse all single-use plastics is accessible to all people.

It is one area in which every person actually does have the power to drastically improve the world for the thousands of species that call oceans home.

Plastic straw bans empower ordinary citizens with an extraordinary impact on the environmental problems about which they hear so much. I don't know if it will lull them into a false sense of security, but I do know that the end result will still be a greatly improved ocean system.

That should be celebrated; mocking "small" actions like this will only further isolate people from the movement to improve our planet. The last thing this world needs right now is more apathetic people doing nothing to fight climate change.

The plastic straw ban is not the end-all, be-all solution to the problems we face, but that doesn't automatically make it useless. We should all take steps as simple as not sipping from a one-use plastic straw while enjoying our coffee, or tea, or whatever you order from Starbucks.

In the long run, a higher amount of people participating in an act to help the planet will help not only Mother Earth but all of the people who call her home as well.

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4 Products To Keep Your Period Plastic-Free

C'mon ladies, let's save a few sea turtles during our crimson tide!

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Our plastic waste eats up landfills, oceans, and the environment around us. It's killing the planet and the creatures that inhabit it. If we all make small, easy swaps on everyday products, we can make one large change for Mother Earth! So I know we all dread that time of the month, but Aunt Flow visits us whether we like it or not. With some of these feminine products, we can change our habits to help our planet, our bodies, and our wallets!

1. Cloth pads

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Sanitary napkins can take from 500 to 800 years to decompose in a landfill. Reusable pads are an easy option when first starting your low-waste journey! The cloth pads snap around your underwear to stay in place, with an absorbing cloth inside to ensure that they don't leak. Most come with washable carrying cases so you can change out the pad out in public restrooms. If you're at home, you simply toss the cloth pad in your laundry basket. Cloth pads come in all shapes in sizes, even slim fit that are made for thongs. Not to mention there are adorable patterns and colors!

2. Menstrual cup

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I recently bought a menstrual cup and cannot wait to try it! Menstrual cups are known for being incredibly comfortable, so comfortable you forget they're there. They last all day long, don't leak, and are completely reusable! All cups will come with an instruction guide. The cup is easy to insert, but you'll want to make sure you have a good understanding of where your cervix is before you do it. Once home for the day, all you have to do is pull the cup out and rinse it in your sink. Cleanliness is the most important factor to remember when using the cup. Most companies sell a soap that is safe for both you and the cup materials.

If you are a regular tampon user, I recommend the cup for you. It's similar, saves money, and is a healthier option than the chemicals found in your tampons, and we've all feared toxic shock syndrome which is not something that occurs when using the cup. On a less important note (but the fun part), my cup came with the cutest pink carrying case so I can throw it in my purse for emergencies.

3. Period panties

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Period panties are the easiest option by far. They take no extra work— you just put on underwear like you do every day. The nice part is that they come in all kinds of sizes and styles, from hip-huggers to bikinis and thongs. When I used period panties, I always went for the hip-hugging style, which I would recommend for any girls blessed with a big booty like me. My favorite part about period panties is that you can buy different kinds depending on how heavy your flow is. Think of these like regular and super-plus tampons. I opted for the heaviest flow option, only because I was scared of spotting onto my pants.

I loved my period panties and will continue to use them on my lighter days, but I advise caution to girls with heavy flows. The one downfall is that if you're out in public and start to feel like you need a fresh pair, you're SOL. Now, I never had the issue of needing to change them, so maybe they just gave me flashbacks of middle school and the constant fear that somebody could see spots on my jeans...but understand that they take some getting used to. Just don't knock 'em until you try them!

4. Applicator-free tampons

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Although I am a fan of reusable products that are zero waste, I understand changing your habits can be difficult. If you can't make the switch and know tampons are the best option for you, try O.B. tampons! They reduce waste by not coming with the unnecessary plastic applicators. O.B. tampons are inserted by just using your finger, but don't worry about the mess they are designed to keep your tampon (and your finger) clean! O.B. tampons are a healthy, low waste option that won't disrupt the lifestyle you have today. They're easy to find online and in most stores!

All it takes are a few small changes in your lifestyle to conserve waste. Even though your period only comes once every month, think about how much plastic you'll avoid using over the course of a year!

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