My Small, Self-Proclaimed Mission to Help The Environment

Global warming is real, and we have been living in this carbon filled atmosphere for probably most of our lives. While we, as students, cannot simply impose a carbon tax or cap and trade system, we can make small efforts to reduce our waste. Here are some small things I have taken on as an environmentally friendly student that anyone anywhere can take on.

1. No more plastic straws

According to the plastic pollution collation, over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day in the United States. Many of these straws end up in the oceans, creating plastic straw pollution. They litter our waterways, and hurt marine life such as turtles. So the solution? Ask for no straws when ordering a drink and potentially bring your own plastic straw when going out.

Personally, I bought a pack of reusable straws from (Amazon is basically my brand). It came with 6 plastic straws, 2 metal ones, and little cleaning brushes. This is simply an easy way to reduce your waste and seriously help the marine life we have already badly damaged.

2. Compost Bins!

If you didn't already know, American University’s Zero Waste Club hands out compost bins for residents. Once the bins are full you can simply bring your bag to the drop off location (usually in the lobby of your residence hall). While I love being environmentally friendly by placing my tea bags and produce remains, the bin can get smelly, and often times can attract rats. To fix this problem you can place the bin right outside your door, or in the hallway. The rats are less likely to visit if it’s in the hallway with the commotion of people walking by. 

Additionally, it can help to remove the bag regularly so the smell isn’t prominent. Lastly to keep the unpleasantness away from your bin, try keeping the dry to wet ratio even to keep moisture low. If you want a compost bin for your room email [email protected] and questions can be answered here.

3. Reusable bags ma’am

The District it is known about the plastic bag tax. Five cents for every plastic bag sold at locations that sell food or beverages. This law incentivizes the use of reusable bags, as the plastic ones end up in rivers, once again hurting our marine life. According to, the bags can take up to 1000 years to decompose. The plastic bag you use to bring your food from the store to your home will out live you, and do more damage to environment in the exceeding years.

Therefore, it is so important that you invest in reusable bags! (It's also a plus because the reusable ones are less likely to break on you, unlike plastic bags which don’t care if you embarrass yourself in front of the entire grocery store.) You can do so much more if you bring a little one to different places you go, not just the grocery store. For example, take them shopping for shoes, clothes, socks, makeup, plants...etc. Having them on you all the time will really help lower your waste intake, and help save those ADORABLE turtles and marine life!


In our current political climate where not much change is being done to protect the environment or help clean it up, we the people need to take action into our own hands. Therefore, by limiting our waste, we can help out just a little. Also, by doing these steps you’re bound to get questions, especially if you whip out a reusable straw in the middle of Starbucks, and you can help educate more people. This is an act we all need to do, so please start small and move up in steps to help save the environment!

(Photo Credits: Cover1, 234567)