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Being sustainable isn’t always easy, especially when you’re on a tight budget. It can also be very difficult to stray away from convenience in favor of a low waste option. 

I’m here to tell you that there is a solution! These methods aren’t going to singlehandedly save the planet, but they’re important stepping stones to living an environmentally friendly life. Getting takeout from a fast food place or grabbing Starbucks on the way to class can be a go-to, but it creates a lot of waste. Here’s how to make these easy options more sustainable! 

1.) Get a reusable water bottle! This is such an easy one! Did you know that humans buy about 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute in total? To make matters worse, only about 23% of plastic bottles are recycled within the U.S. Practically everyone has a water bottle these days! Avoiding plastic water bottle waste is an incredibly easy way to decrease your plastic usage. 

2.) Meatless Mondays The agriculture industry produces a profound amount of greenhouse gas emissions, and that’s no good! Doing Meatless Mondays (or even more days a week) also helps decrease your carbon footprint. 

3.) Reusable plastic utensils/containers We’ve all heard this one. Metal straws are a huge trend. While buying a metal straw isn’t going to save the planet, you as an individual can really cut down on your single- use plastic consumption by getting reusable straws and utensils! Buying a reusable mug/cup can also save a lot of plastic waste and money. Many places are happy to fill your personal mug, and at some places it’s even cheaper! 

4.) Go thrift shopping! Buying second-hand as much as possible is a great way to avoid supporting the fast fashion industry and corporations that have environmentally detrimental practices. When you buy second-hand, you reduce landfill waste and your carbon footprint. 

As I mentioned before, these habits are not going to save the planet or completely get rid of your carbon footprint. You’ll probably mess up—I know I do—but don’t be to 

hard on yourself. Regardless, these habits genuinely help, and they’re great ways to transition into a low or zero waste lifestyle. These options are cheap, convenient, and accessible—exactly what us college students need!

Katherine Donaghy

Cincinnati '24

Katherine is a Fine Arts major at the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP Program. She loves art, music, the environment, and staying up to date on current events.
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