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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bloom U chapter.

Today’s society uses a large amount of disposable goods. We all know how harmful this is for the environment, but frequently aren’t given the options of environmentally friendly alternatives. Here are a few tips and tricks to reduce the number of single-use items that you consume and dispose of (along with some links to some of my favorite environmentally friendly alternatives)!

Straws– plastic straws are bad for the environment for several reasons. Many alternatives come with complications, glass straws have the habit of breaking, and we all heard about what happened to the woman who fell on her metal straw… On the bright side, I have another suggestion. Silicone straws are easy to clean, can be used for hot and cold beverages, and if ordered from GIR (https://gir.co/products/silicone-straw?variant=26883518005312) they come with a carrying case, as well as a squeegee for cleaning purposes!

Shopping Bags– plastic grocery shopping bags are harmful to sea life, and not good for the environment when they end up in the landfills either. For this one I suggest cloth reusable bags. These can be found at your local grocery stores and basically every other store.

Ziploc bags– these pose the same dangers as plastic grocery bags, although their reusable counterparts are not as easily found. Stasher bags (https://www.stasherbag.com/) are silicone reusable zippy bags that are top-rack dishwasher safe.

Plastic flatware– you know the kind, it’s in every bag of take-out, every fast-food joint, and all over our landfills. These can be switched out by hard plastic reusable sets, or bamboo sets. Also, if you know that you will be taking the food home to eat, request that they do not add any plastic flatware! This link is a bamboo set (that comes with a straw and chopsticks too…SWEET!).


Plastic cups and bottles­- almost every coffee shop, fast food restaurant, and gas station that you would buy a fountain drink from will gladly allow you to fill your own reusable cup instead of using a plastic or styrofoam one. Reusable cups, as well as reusable bottles can be found almost everywhere. Including dollar tree.

Dryer sheets– not that these are inherently the most harmful items to the environment, there is an easy switch for a reusable alternative. Wool dryer balls help remove static and can be scented with essential oils. For those with wool allergies they also make reusable plastic ones. I prefer the wool because they are all natural and it is necessary to shear sheep in order to keep them healthy. These may be found at certain farmers markets, Amazon, Target, and some craft stores. (They’re probably found at more, but these are the locations I notice them most often.)

This is an incomplete list, if there are any other objects that you are interested in replacing with reusable alternatives, I suggest searching them. You would be amazed what all you are able to switch out for more permanent items.

My name is Emily Andrusko and I am the Campus Correspondent here for the BloomU Chapter. I am a senior and a Marketing major at Bloomsburg University. I love eating chipotle burritos and binging FRIENDS! This club is perfect for you if you believe in inspiring young women!