Tallahassee Should Follow In Gainesville's Footsteps

Tallahassee Should Follow In Gainesville's Footsteps To Strive For Zero-Waste

The Plastic Ban and Zero-Waste Policy is one small step to saving the turtles.


Global warming. Climate change. Deforestation. Loss of biodiversity. Air pollution. Water Pollution. Dying sea turtles and whales.

These are only a few of the many, major environmental issues that the world is faced with today. It doesn't matter how you look at it, environmental issues can make or break our future. It dictates how healthy we'll be in the future. It dictates the world our future children and grandchildren will live in. It dictates how many marine animals die. It dictates the percentage of waste that currently, and will eventually, cover our land.

Let me put it into perspective for you. About 8.3 billion tons of plastic has been produced since the 1950s. This equates to the weight of roughly a billion elephants or 47 million blue whales. Some of you may argue that we reuse most of this plastic or dispose of it properly. Incorrect. Of that 8.3 billion tons of plastic, only about 9% is recycled, 12% have been burned, and the remaining 79% ends up in landfills or the environment.

We need to focus the paradigm from constant plastic production and usage to ceasing the use of plastic entirely. In other words, Tallahassee, as well as every other city in the world, needs to follow in Gainsville's footsteps. Slowly but surely, we all need to decrease our plastic use in order to strive towards a better life, environment, and planet.

Believe it or not, there is a variety of alternative eco-friendly options besides plastic. There are so many easy and simple lifestyle changes that one can live by to make an impact. In case you need some ideas, check out this article for some easy tips and tricks.

By the year 2040, Gainsville plans to be completely waste-free. I think that everyone should commend them for taking the initiative to instill change. Gradually, Gainesville went from a 'zero-waste' policy to a complete waste ban. While partaking in eco-friendly measures may cost more, it benefits everyone in the long run. It's not always about money. Life shouldn't, and doesn't, revolve around the aspect of dollars and cents. If anything, start with compostable and biodegradable plastic products. While styrofoam may be the go-to options for thousands of restaurants due to it being the cheapest option, it doesn't break down. As a result, it negatively affects both wildlife and humans.

In an interview with Wuft-FM, the Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos stated that "It's time to make Gainesville a leader in protecting the environment." Additionally, while I am an avid Noles fan (boo Gators), I applaud the University of Florida for taking steps in reducing waste as well. The Director of the UF Office of Sustainability, Matthew Williams, boasts that Gator Dining eliminated all usage of foam containers back in 2011. Better yet, they continued to eliminate the use of plastic bags back in 2013.

While I commend Gainesville for taking the important and necessary steps to abide by the 'Zero-Waste' policy and pushing for its plastic ban, they are not the first to do so. In terms of Florida, Key West has adopted this policy as well. As for other states, some examples include certain cities Texas, Colorado, and even California.

I think the issue here is that most people follow the idea of "out of sight, out of mind." For many people, being eco-friendly isn't a huge concern. For many people, they are concerned with saving the planet. However, simple practices and easy changes can result in large transformations. Use a reusable water bottle. Stop using plastic bags. Invest in reusable (metal) straws. The list is endless. Take the time to instill change.

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30 First-Apartment Essentials College Kids Forget To Buy At Target And Later Order On Amazon

Don't wait until you need to take something out of the oven to realize that you don't have any oven mitts.


If you're anything like I am, you're beyond excited to start planning and shopping for your first apartment. It's easy to get wrapped up in the fun stuff for your first apartment, trust me, as a former Bed Bath & Beyond employee I could spend hours wandering through shower curtains and bedding.

Before you get too carried away there are just some essential things that you'll need, but they aren't as much fun to pick out. Don't wait until you need to take something out of the oven to realize that you don't have any oven mitts, because I really don't see that ending well for you (I may or may not know that from personal experience).

1. Oven mitts

Gets those oven mitts because the sleeve of your sweater might seem like it will work, but I'm living proof that it won't, most sweaters have holes.

2. Trash bags

Don't wait until you need to throw something away to realize you don't have them.

3. Hand soap

It's not like a dorm bathroom where the maintenance staff refills a soap dispenser that's drilled into the wall. You're on your own kid.

4. Toilet paper

Again, no staff replacing it for you. Stay on top of it and make sure you always replace an empty roll, especially if you have roommates.

5. Water filter or pitcher

This one depends on whether your water is safe to drink or not, but be prepared. You don't want to move in under the summer sun only to realize you don't have any drinkable water at your snazzy new pad.

6. Tools

Hammers, screwdrivers, all that jazz. If you're moving in some furniture you're probably going to need tools to put it together.

7. Lighting

You don't want to be unpacking and stumbling around a new space in the dark your first night. Know what lighting is built in and where you might need to add some light.

8. Silverware organizer

Ok, so you probably remembered to pack the silverware, but do you really want to throw it all in a pile in a drawer? That's a good way to grab the wrong end of a knife by accident, maybe get some dividers to keep your silverware nice and sorted.

9. Dish towels

Most people think about bath towels, but if you're not used to having a kitchen you might not have thought of dish towels. You're going to need those when you're whipping up your favorite dinner.

10. Measuring cups

I'm a huge advocate for estimating and guessing in the kitchen, but if you're baking anything at all you should probably at least have some measuring utensils as a guide.

11. Bottle opener and corkscrew

You're going to want to crack open a drink and celebrate your first night in the new place. Wouldn't it be a buzzkill if you couldn't even get the drinks open?

12. Sponges

You have to be able to clean the counters and the dishes when you're done being an expert chef!

13. Paper towels

Spills happen, and you don't always want to clean them with your nice towels.

14. Toilet plunger

It's one of those things you never really think about... that is, until you need one.

15. Air freshner

You know, for after you use the toilet plunger.

16. Extension cords

You probably have a larger space than you're used to, sometimes those cords that come with all your new electronics just aren't quite long enough.

17. Utensil container

A little round pot or bucket is the perfect place to put all of your kitchen utensils. Things like spatulas and whisks will take up space in your drawers and create clutter. Plus, keeping them out makes them easier to grab when you're whipping up some food.

18. Batteries

There's nothing worse than getting your new TV all set up and realizing you can't use the remote.

19. Curtains

If you need darkness to sleep, you want to make sure you get those bedroom curtains up and ready to roll.

20. Toilet bowl brush

Sorry, but I'm certainly not reaching in there with my hands.

21. Ice cube trays

To keep you cool as a cucumber during this stressful time.

22. Can opener

Try prying a can open with your hands. I dare you.

23. Stain remover

For when you try to pry the can open with your hands and manage to spray tomato sauce all over yourself.

24. Carbon monoxide/Smoke detectors

Cause we don't want any tragedies here.

25. Collander

We both know you will be making pasta every night, so you're going to need to drain it.

26. Coasters

You definitely don't want to ruin your super fancy new Ikea table.

27. Dry erase board

No need to argue over who should take out the trash, just make sure to write down everyone's chores.

28. Underbed storage

On a college budget there's no way you can expect a walk-in closet, those clothes and shoes will have to go somewhere.

29. Drying rack

For when the dryer in your building inevitably stops working.

30. Step stool

If you're short, like me, you need a little help reaching that top shelf.

Hopefully this list has helped you feel a little more prepared to move into your first apartment. The decorating and planning is so much more enjoyable when you know you have all of your bases covered. I wish you the best of luck with your first major endeavor in the world of adulting!

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Hardships Boosting Chances At College

The conditions of where you live, poverty rate, and rent versus home can determine if you get accepted into colleges and universities, alongside SAT scores and other factors.


Starting next year, another factor will be in consideration for high school graduating students when it comes to that college acceptance letter.

The Environmental Context Dashboard is a new scoring system where colleges and universities will have the option to consider a students living situation when determining their acceptance. According to Q13 Fox News, their segment on the issue done at the University of Washington Tacoma campus reveled the scoring system will be on a scale of one to 100 where the higher the number, the more difficulties that environment is for that student to live in.

College Board, a non-profit organization that "connects students to college success and opportunity" that was founded in 1900 to "expand access to higher education" has created the Environmental Context Dashboard as "a new admissions tool that allows colleges to incorporate context into their admissions process in a data-driven, consistent way".

This will not only include SAT scores in the context of 25th, 50th and 75th percentile from the high school, but it will also look into the context of the student's neighborhood and high school. In this context it will look at "typical family income, family structure, educational attainment, housing stability, and crime."


It will also look into the information of the high school, "Including AP opportunity at the high school" which will show the "number of AP Exams taken" and "average AP score" along with "percentage of students who meet federal eligibility criteria for free and reduced-price lunch; rurality/urbanicity; and senior class size."

However, even though all this information is going to be gathered, according to Q13 Fox News, College Wise Counselor Tom Barry said "The reality is no admissions decision is open to the public; I've sat in those committee rooms. There is a lot of debate, there is a lot of crying, there is a lot of yelling; it is a contentious time...Colleges will get to do what they want with this number, including ignore it."

Q13 Fox News also stated that "students and schools were not able to see the numbers they were assigned in the dashboard, only college admissions officers saw that data. But the College Board says they are looking into ways to possibly make it available for families."

Showing the data of a student's neighborhood, crime rates, poverty levels and family structures will being giving colleges and universities intimate knowledge of not just the students academic standing such as graduating GPA, honors received, etc., but will allow the school to make assumptions based on the data. For example, if it is a lower-income neighborhood, they can assume the student will have less money and therefore need more financial aid than other students.

While this is intended for colleges and universities to have more information to give kids who have "environmental struggles" a better chance at gaining admission, it could also allow colleges and universities to discriminate against those in certain types of environments by seeing which areas have higher income and less crime activity and allowing them to choose selectively. It can also take away opportunities from those who come from families who have a high enough income to where they don't receive financial aid but can't afford to pay for college out of pocket.

It shouldn't matter where a student comes from or what their neighborhoods are like. The determination of admission to a college or university should be based on academic merit, just like it has been. But with 50 colleges already using the data in a pilot program, including the University of Washington Seattle campus, it looks like where you come from will become just as important as you academic standing.


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