4 Easy Ways to Help Sustain the Environment

1. Change your mindset

The first thing you need to know about sustainability is that every little thing matters. Every small act of recycling or using a hydro works. Getting into the mindset is just acknowledging how much plastic or waste your using. I did this when I first started and turns out I used to use about 4 plastic straws a day. That’s 28 a week. That’s not even counting the GCBC or Starbucks runs. Or the plastic from the cups. As I started to get in the mindset I began to see how I carelessly used single use plastic. 


2. Get a reusable water bottle

Nowadays, it is so easy to get a reusable water bottle. Amazon, Starbucks, Target, REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.), Ross, Walmart, and the Lopes store all sell reusable bottles. Some bottles can run to about $50 (we are talking about the hydros that every GCU student seems to have). Luckily, I received mine at an REI store in Oregon, as they were having a 50% off sale. But you don’t have to purchase these expensive water bottles - any brand works. Luckily, GCU has refillable water bottle fountains. I’m from California, so I didn’t know those even existed until I came here. Having a reusable water bottle truly helps because when I was a freshman, my roommates and I used to go through a whole case of water in one week. That’s A LOT of waste. We started switching to reusable water bottles and Brita filters and ended up saving a whole lot of money in the process. 


3. Get reusable straws

Since the whole turtle video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wH878t78bw), I’ve started to refuse straws at restaurants. With family, I would also pressure them into refusing them as well. It truly became amazing to see after a summer of refusing straws and pressuring my family, they caved and refused to use them as well. So, to my surprise, when I bought a bundle of reusable straws from Amazon, my family began fighting one another for a straw. Using reusable straws allows me to feel like I’m making a difference. It’s a small difference, but with my single impact, I got five other people to do it, and maybe they will pass it on and so forth. Also, maybe they’ll purchase the silicone ones, because there was an incident where a stainless steel straw impaled a woman to death (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/11/world/europe/metal-straws-death.html). 


4. Bring your own bags

Honestly this task really surprised me. California banned plastic bags; they now sell them for ten cents apiece.  I always forgot my bags in the car or at the house this past summer, so I always had to buy the nice, reusable ones. So now that I’m back in Arizona and have a whole box full of reusable bags, shopping is so much easier. Honestly! I remember last year; my roommates purchased a wagon to help carry the many grocery bags as four of us couldn’t carry them all. Using the reusable bags, I carried all my groceries in one trip. It was amazing. The only downside is that I have no more plastic bags for my trash cans. 


All in all, if you were thinking about helping sustain the envoronment, or even just wanting to make a small difference, I encourage you to try one of these steps. I promise that you’ll feel a million times better.