Earth Day is over, but that doesn't mean we can't still help out the planet by adopting sustainable practices! Here are four easy ways you can help make a difference locally.
- Change your search browser to Ecosia
Helping the planet can be as easy as looking something up online! Ecosia is a Berlin-based search engine just like Google, only they plant a tree for roughly every 45 searches you make. I have been using Ecosia for more than a year now and according to my browser, I have planted five trees just by using their search engine. Cal Poly has its own chapter of Ecosia advocates to make Ecosia the default search engine at Cal Poly. They also have easy instructions on their Instagram for how to change your search browser to Ecosia.
- Recycle PROPERLY
Recycling is great, but it's important to make sure that you are informed on what is actually allowed to be recycled in your county. For people living in San Luis Obispo County, Refuse Reuse Recycle! Edu (RRR) is a great resource created by Cal Poly students to inform the local community on how to properly recycle locally. They also have a training available to Cal Poly students, which you can access by signing in through your Cal Poly portal to learn more about recycling laws in San Luis Obispo. "Wish-cycling" is one of the topics in RRR's training, and refers to the common practice of over-recycling, or recycling materials that can't actually be recycled. This is very harmful as one mis-recycled item can actually cause the entire bin to be put into the landfill instead.
- Reduce your meat consumption OR purchase meat locally
The meat (specically cattle) industry is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to our carbon footprint. You can reduce your meat consumption by trying out Meat-LESS Mondays or just cutting down your consumption overall. While the industry itself has its fair share of greenhouse gas emissions, the emissions that result from widespread transportation of meat is arguably even worse for the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, agriculture only accounted for 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, while transportation accounted for 29%. By purchasing meat locally, you can skip the transportation step and reduce your carbon footprint! If you want to get really local, you can even purchase from Cal Poly Meats.
- Get yourself some reusable product
Using reusable straws, bags and water bottles can make such a big difference in reducing the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill. These days, such resuable products are widely available in local shops and of course, online. Bliss Cafe in downtown San Luis Obispo has its own abundance of plastic-neutral items, from beeswax food wrap to mesh produce bags. They even sell toothbrushes made from recycled ocean plastic! Other great local businesses with sustainable products include Eco Bambino (located right by Giuseppe's on Monterey Street) and HumanKind Fair Trade. Thrifting is also a fun and sustainable way to shop, and luckily for Cal Poly students, there are tons of thrift stores here in San Luis Obispo.