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5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Eco-Friendship

1. Consume beverages smarter. 
Water: Invest in a long-term-use water bottle and avoid purchasing plastic ones! If you must purchase a plastic waterbottle, try to refill and use the bottle multiple times before recycling it.
Coffee: How many times have you visited Dutch Bros/ Starbucks/ Flying M/ (enter your go-to coffee shop here) this year? 

Check out the video below; it shares a few interesting and shocking statistics, including the following…

  • 65% of North Americans drink coffee
  • The paper cups used at places like Starbucks are not recyclable
  • The average coffee drinker throws away 250 cups each year, so…
  • 58 billion cups are thrown away each year in North America
  • It takes 20 million trees and 12 billion gallons of water to produce the paper for the cups each year
2. Recycle old electronics. 
Most people end up simply tossing out retired electronics. But with landfills nationwide already overflowing, it’s important that we capitalize on every single opportunity to recycle. Often, people are unaware of the necessary steps for recycling old phones, televisions, or computers. However, there are countless accessible options for recycling these materials! An easy starting place for disposing of your electronics is this Environmental Protection Agency site; it connects you to the resources you need to properly dispose of a variety of electronic items. 
Want to know more? Here are some great thoughts from Better Homes and Gardens on how to go green:
“The average American household has three cell phones stashed in a drawer. Sell unused cell phones to greenphone.com. You’ll receive about $35, and the phones will be refurbished and resold. If 1 million people recycled one cathode-ray tube TV this year, we’d keep 4 million pounds of lead out of the ground.”
4 MILLION pounds– that’s crazy! Get your million back, America! 
3. Support local farmers.
This is especially pertinent to Idahoans– we are literally surrounded by agribusiness! If your food could talk, it would tell quite a tale. Typical grocery store produce travels nearly 1,500 miles before it ends up on your plate. All of this traveling burns valuable fossil fuels resulting in carbon emissions– which is just a fancy term for pollution. Buying from local farmers means you’re getting the freshest food possible AND saving energy. Visit LocalHarvest, Sustainable Table, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture websites for information on farmers near you. 
4. Be a smart consumer: support eco-friendly products.
This great Upworthy video shows how being aware and intentional about the products we purchase can really make a difference over time.
Check products for the green frog label! It’s all about the simple changes, ya’ll.
Did you know? A household with Energy Star products uses about 30 percent less energy than the average household– amounting to annual savings of about $570.
There are plenty of simple ways to switch your everyday purchases to eco-friendly options. Websites like Buy Green can help you get started– make your home a better living space for yourself AND the rest of the planet!
5. Resolve the laundry quandary. 
  • Do full loads! Save water, save energy, save time…
  • Hang dry! It keeps your clothes in good condition for much longer, and helps conserve a great deal of energy. The results are exactly thesa me– you just have to be a little bit patient. A cheap drying rack can be found at most general “Home and Goods” stores (Walmart, Target, etc.).
  • Make your own laundry soap! Not only will this save you some green, but also helps keep harmful chemicals out of your clothing and the water system. It may seem difficult or strange at first, but it’s actually quite simple! There are plenty of great recipes on Pinterest boards and elsewhere on the internet. Check out a recipe like this one and give it a shot! 
Are you interested in learning more? Simple lifestyle changes can have a potentially HUGE environmental payback. Check out the resources below for more information. There are literally countless little changes we can make as individuals to create a more sustainable system of living– but all of this can seem overwhelming, at least at first. The key is baby steps: find out how you can make a difference in your immediate, everyday choices. Good luck! 
  • Help out with clean water initiatives. 
  • Take a stance on the Keystone XL pipeline issue. 
  • Learn about how we as society can make progress towards a more sustainable future.
  • Find out about what the government is doing to help. 
  • Eat your fruits and veggies!
Know any outer tips to improve your eco-friendship? Let us know! Email Katie Meikle at katiemeikle@hercampus.com with your ideas.
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Kara Stefani

Boise State

Hey there!   My name is Kara Stefani and I am in my third year of college, majoring in Psychology from Boise State University as well as minoring in Sociology, Family Studies, and Dance.  I currently work at the Women's Center on campus (not affiliated with HerCampus) as a Healthy Relationships Peer Educator, and enjoy it thoroughly.  I'm involved on campus as Vice President of the Psi Chi Honor Society as well as an active member of the Boise State University Secular Alliance.  Recently I have joined an organization called The Representation Project, and hope to encourage the representation of women as dynamic, leadership characters in the media.  This message is important to me, as I believe the future begins with our understanding of reality from a young age; what impacts young people more than the constant bombarding media?  On that note, EVERYONE fo EVERY age should go see Frozen. (:   As a writer for Boise State's HerCampus chapter, I hope to gain writing experience, as well as be a part of a fun team promoting involvement and community here at Boise State!   This is just a bit of what I am passionate about!  Don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions, ideas for an article, or comments about my work.Thanks and enjoy!-Kara Stefani (:
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