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7 Ways You Can Change Your Daily Life to Help the Planet

The Earth is our home, and we’ve only got one shot to take care of it. But we’re all busy college students on a budget, so how can we adjust our daily lives to help make a difference? Well, it’s a lot easier than you might’ve thought. Here are 7 changes you can make in your day-to-day life to make a difference.

1. Use a reusable water bottle or travel mug.

Everyone says this, but that’s because it’s simply the easiest way to reduce your plastic use. If that’s not incentive enough, you’ll save so much money by not buying plastic water bottles. Also, Starbucks gives you $0.25 off your coffee just for using a travel mug! College students need all the discounts possible. Plus, Society6 has so many amazing options to choose from. 

2. Try to avoid single-use plastic straws whenever possible.

According the The Last Plastic Straw, the U.S.’s straw consumption is enough to wrap around the earth’s circumference 2.5 times every day. That’s a lot of plastic, most of which ends up in landfills or polluting our oceans. One way to lower your consumption is to purchase a set of metal straws, like this one from amazon. 

3. Take the bus, walk or ride a bike to campus.

SLO’s transit system can sometimes be a hassle, but it’s worth it if if it means doing your part in lowering carbon emissions. You don’t need to get a rid of your car, but saving it for necessary Target runs and weekend adventures will lower your carbon footprint (+ save you gas money!). 

4. Bring your own lunch to work or class.

Not only will this save you money by avoiding the overpriced campus dining food, but it will help reduce your plastic usage and waste. Using Tupperware and your own utensils, instead of throwing out your Red Radish salad bowl every day, will definitely start to add up. Plus, maybe you’ll finally be motivated to try some of those Tasty recipes you’ve been sharing on Facebook for the last couple of years.

5. Limit your water usage in anyway possible.

The most recent California drought was one of the worst since the 1400s, according to a study done by the California Department of Water Resources. Even with some rainy weather, it’s always important to keep in mind how much water you’re using. Try keeping your showers shorter, or make sure your faucet is off while you’re brushing your teeth.

6.  Make sure you understand how to throw things away.

Some things are trash, some can be recycled and some can be composted. Do you know where your waste belongs? Cal Poly’s Waste Management website lays it out as follows: all food scraps belong in the compost bin; cans, plastic, paper and glass belong in recycling; and Styrofoam, plastic bags and candy wrappers go to the landfill.

7. Stay updated on what’s happening in the world.

Ignorance is definitely not always bliss. Keeping up to date on environmental issues and how legislation affects your every day life is super important. If you’re not sure where to start: Environmental Health News aggregates stories from all over the world, The BBC’s Science and Environment page is tried and true, and The Washington Post is great about explaining policy and executive action. 

Now that you know how easy it is to make a difference, you’re ready to help save the planet!

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Amy Rush

Cal Poly

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