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5 Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Summer

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at George Mason University chapter.

Let’s face it– while it’s great to grab acai bowls and drinks with the girls, the impact those pastimes have on the environment can be deadly. We waste SO much plastic each year it’s kind of ridiculous. Here are a few ways to stay conscious of the environment and of how much waste you are producing!

1. Kiss those plastic straws goodbye

Via Giphy This one is self-explanatory and if you’re still using plastic straws by now, you need to get hip. Plastic straws are thrown out by the BILLIONS each year, washing up on shores and polluting our ecosystems. (I think most have seen that painful picture of that poor turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose) Next time you go out for smoothies, iced coffee, or even margs with your friends…think about bringing your own reusable, stainless steel straws. They last a lifetime and come in all sorts of colors and sizes! Plus, they’re easy to throw in your bag and you can grab a pack of them for as little as $6 from Amazon or Walmart.Via RootandRevel.com

2. Actually, also kiss plastic utensils goodbye too!

Via Giphy

Listen, my boyfriend and I LOVE to eat out. We are also fans of food trucks whenever we are in D.C. When we eat outside of the house, we typically need plastic forks and spoons..which we throw out..which leads to giant pile of plastic waste. Like plastic straws, plastic utensils are convenient, readily available, and are SUPER HORRIBLE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT!! (Plastic?? Bad for the environment? No kidding) It’s much better to just invest in bamboo utensils or pack up a set from your own home to keep in your purse! Yes, you’ll have to clean them each time they are used but at least you’re cutting down on your plastic use! These are also available for purchase online.

Via Pinterest

I just bought a set of these off Amazon that I now keep in my bag WITH my stainless steel straw!! (thriving)

3. Start bringing your own travel mugs and tumblers!

Via Giphy

In addition to the cute reusable water bottle you already have (you better), start using your own coffee mugs and tumblers when you go out! You actually get a discount at Starbucks for helping reduce the amount of cups and straws thrown out. If you know you’re going to grab coffee or iced tea, try to opt for mugs or bring your own cup. It’s a small step but it can make a big difference over the course of a year! Of course, you can pick and choose your own travel mugs..there’s a million of them out there..just invest in one!

4. Reduce your use of plastic bags and wrap

Via Giphy

Another easy peasy thing to switch out from your daily routine–plastic bags! Need to pack snacks for the road? Reusable bag. Packing for a picnic? Reusable bag. Need to pack lunch? REUSABLE BAG!! Nowadays there are tons of options for saving something as simple as plastic snack bags. Browse through Amazon or Target for ideas! There are also ways to stop using plastic wrap like using reusable sandwich wraps.

Via Target

5. Meal planning IS your friend

Via Giphy

Meal planning is not just for your fitness journey! When you plan your meals ahead of time, you save money AND cut down on your food waste. Planning your meals ahead of time can help you shop smarter and keep you from buying stuff that could end up being thrown out anyway. Plus, you can reuse old jars and containers to store your food in. It looks super cute and is a great way to reuse materials.

Via BigRedKitchen.com

This semester, I was truly THAT girl who brought her own mason jar oatmeal to her morning lecture and I am NOT ashamed.

Be smart and conscious this summer, ladies! It’s easy to implement just a few steps into your daily routine to cut down on your waste. All the effort counts!


Nancy Nyamaa

George Mason University '19

Nancy is currently a senior at George Mason majoring in communication (concentration in journalism) and minoring in conflict analysis & resolution. She's passionate about true crime podcasts, baking, and editing. After she graduates she hopes to pursue a career in journalism and eventually go to grad school.
George Mason Contributor (GMU)

George Mason University '50

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