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7 Ways You Can Help Save Mother Earth As A College Student

Many young people may think that they cannot make an impact on the environment. Some eco-friendly alternatives can be an expensive commitment; however, there are many cheap, easy alternatives to everyday waste that are perfect for young college students with limited space and money.

  1. Reusable Tote Bags: As a college student, this is one of my personal favorites. Tote bags can be incredibly cheap (as low as around $1). Tote bags can be found at your local grocery stores, Amazon, and most apparel stores, and you can choose from a variety of styles, sizes, and brands. You can reduce waste by using tote bags in place of plastic shopping or grocery bags. For me, they are easier to carry groceries in, more comfortable to use, and much more versatile than plastic grocery bags.  

  2. (Bonus: If you do accidentally use a plastic bag, save it and use it as a small trash bag in your bathroom, car, etc.)

  3. Reusable Cups and Straws: Many traditional coffee shops, such as Starbucks, offer reusable cups as opposed to their one-time-use paper or plastic options (and it can even get you discounts). Many companies have also started selling reusable straws as alternatives to plastic straws, which have made a recent appearance in the current media.

  4. Thrift/ Second-Hand Clothes: Making and selling new clothes produces enormous amounts of waste and pollution. I understand that all clothes may not be able to be purchased at your local thrift store or second-hand shop, but it is worth making a stop when you are out shopping. Plus, thrift stores save you money and offer one-of-a-kind pieces.

  5. Invest in a Brita Filter: According to Forbes.com, globally, we buy an astonishing one million water bottles per minute, 91% of which are not recycled. Investing in a Brita filter saves both money and the environment, and they come in a variety of styles and sizes to accommodate everyone.

  6. Eat Less Meat: There are several problems associated with meat and animal byproducts, however, I am not trying to get everyone to become a full-blown vegan. “Meatless Monday” is a popular practice, or you could simply make an effort to cut down.

  7. Alternatives for Red Solo Cups: College parties produce huge amounts of waste. If you are hosting a party, buy a variety of cups at the thrift store or the dollar store, or you can get creative and use mason jars or other reusable cups. If you are attending a party, bring your own cheap reusable cup for drinks. If it has a closable lid, this can also be more convenient and even safer.

  8. Recycle: Most buildings on campus provide recycling bins, along with many residential areas. You can also collect recyclables at your home and take them to your local recycling center. To reference what can and cannot be recycled, please visit your local recycling center’s website (Tuscaloosa/ The University of Alabama: http://recycling.ua.edu/right.html).



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