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Happy (belated) Earth Day!

You know that saying “celebrate every day like it’s your birthday?” That’s fun and all, but we really should be celebrating every day like it’s Earth Day.

Did you know that plastic takes a minimum of 450 years to break down? By 2050, it’s estimated that our oceans will contain more plastic than fish. Our trash consumption is atrocious as well; the average American produces 4.5 pounds of trash per day.

I’ve been getting really into sustainability and living waste-minimal. That means cutting down on plastic products and trash to swap for more sustainable, recyclable, and reusable items. It’s the end of the school year, which means trying to switch your lifestyle can be tricky, but these are some tips and tricks to implement over the summer and into next school year.


*Most products mentioned can be purchased on Amazon, Target, or at https://packagefreeshop.com


For the home:

  1. Use dryer balls instead of one-time-use dryer sheets. Supposedly, dryer balls work even better.

  2. Use beeswax wrap instead of plastic cling wrap to wrap your food. They’re washable and reusable!

  3. For my fellow coffee fiends, switch over to a French press or coffee maker. If you must stick to the Keurig (which I do), purchase a reusable K-Cup that you can fill with ground coffee (I just bought mine from Target!). This tip also saves a ton of money.

  4. Use glass or stainless steel containers instead of plastic Tupperware.

  5. Use towels instead of paper towels and cloth napkins instead of regular napkins.

  6. Composting! This can be intimidating but easy when you get the hang of it. If you don’t have a composter at home, look into your local composting center. (Note: still looking for ways to compost at Duke if anyone knows)


On the Go:

  1. Bring a reusable bag for shopping. Carry one with you all the time.

  2. Reusable straws, reusable water bottles, and reusable coffee cups. Easy.

  3. When you order food for delivery, ask for no plastic cutlery, chopsticks, or napkins. Instead, keep silverware and chopsticks in your dorm/home, or carry a set of bamboo cutlery with you.

  4. Some stores have areas to return your plastic bags to recycle.


Personal Care:

  1. Lush. One of my favorite stores. They make amazing, plastic-free products like shampoo bars, soap, lotion bars, etc. Also, if you bring empty containers back to their store, they will recycle it for you! https://www.lushusa.com

  2. For makeup removal, switch over to using coconut oil or micellar water with reusable cotton pads. This one is tricky because I do love my makeup wipes.

  3. Use a bath sponge instead of a plastic loofah.

  4. For hard to recycle beauty products, use the website https://www.terracycle.com/en-US to have them figure it out for you.


Love your planet, and don’t be trashy.


For more info:

5 days of living plastic free: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCY6F6X4dEk

20 ways to reduce waste: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXgELGBuMfA

A day in my life with zero waste: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rw4HQSS-lB0

Anna Markey is a first-year student and first-time writer for Her Campus. She's interested in studying Political Science and is passionate about human rights, advocacy, and coffee.
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