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How to Be A More Eco-Friendly Consumer

With Earth Day on April 22nd fast approaching, there’s no better time to stop and think about your environmental footprint––especially in relation to more ethical consumption.  I’ve compiled a list of four simple tips that will hopefully inspire you to think critically about how and what you consume!

Thrift-Shop or Buy Used

This is something that’s easy to do at Bryn Mawr––there are a multitude of lovely thrift stores in Philadelphia and in town to explore.  Paying greater attention to the free boxes in the dorms has also served me well––sometimes you find items that you don’t even realize you need.  Lastly, joining Bryn Mawr’s “For Sale or Free!” Facebook group has been a lifesaver. Students are always trying to get a variety of items off their hands.  This is undoubtedly a more convenient, environmentally-friendly route to shopping than contributing to the waste associated with much of the clothing industry.

Check Your Makeup

Makeup brands can be stealthy about testing their products on animals, but a database that I use to prevent slip-ups is linked here.  Sifting through PETA’s collection of companies that do not test on animals is a quick, easy way to confirm that the purchases you’re making aren’t supporting companies that harm living beings solely for the purpose of making a profit.

Use Reusable Coffee Mugs

Paper coffee cups take roughly 20 years to decompose in landfills, so investing in a reusable coffee mug is something that has a tremendous impact in the long run. One of my personal goals this year is to bring my reusable coffee mug to Starbucks and Uncommon Grounds more often––the quantity of plastic I’ve used over the course of the school year feels irresponsible to me.  If you have the means to get a reusable mug, do it.

Diet and Food Consumption

As someone who was a vegetarian on-and-off before committing to it over the past couple of years, I understand that taking the first leap can be an interesting journey.  My advice, whether you want to become vegetarian, vegan, or just a more intentional, ethical consumer, is to do some research and understand the tangible differences that actually come with altering your diet.  You may be surprised at how much limiting your meat intake saves water, reduces greenhouse gases, and pushes back against the use of harmful antibiotics, growth hormones, and chemicals on animals.

Avery Matteo

Bryn Mawr '22

Avery Matteo is a junior at Bryn Mawr College from Charlottesville, Virginia. Her interests include reading, traveling, and sleeping during every available moment. In her free time, she is either listening to podcasts, indie music, or sprinkling Disney Parks facts on her unsuspecting friends. She can be found as @memeteo on Instagram.
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