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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

Shop Second-hand

This is one of the easiest, and cheapest, ways to live more sustainably. The clothes industry is a major contributor to water misusage and, often, with fast fashion, workers are treated unethically. Shopping second-hand helps reduce the market for clothes, works to fight against fast fashion, and stops old clothes from being sent to landfills. (Not to mention you can find some really cool vintage clothes at second-hand shops!) Shopping at stores like Goodwill and Plato’s Closet are often places where you can find cheaper second-hand clothes, while some online stores like Depop or thredUP can offer a wide variety of curated vintage fashion.

Depop: https://www.depop.com/

thredUP: https://www.thredup.com/

Trader Joe\'S Reusable Bag
Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

reusable bags

Plastic bags are an incredibly overproduced and wasteful product. Plastic bags are often used one time and then thrown away, but that’s not the end of it. Plastic bags take over 1,000 years to decompose. As they do decompose, they break down into microplastics that put animals, our soil, and our water at risk. An easy way to help reduce plastic bag usage is to buy a few reusable bags. They are a one-time purchase that will likely last you your whole life. If you’re worried about forgetting them when you leave the house, consider leaving some in your car or buy a compact bag (like from Baggu) that you can leave in your everyday purse or bag. Another great purchase is a market bag or reusable produce bag for your fruits and veggies. If that’s all too much for you, the easiest way to help is to save your plastic bags and reuse them for garbage or pet waste.

Baggu: Reusable Shopping Bags

beeswax wrap fruit punch
Courtesy of Superbee

Sustainable kitchen products

One of the simplest, but most impactful, changes to make is using a reusable water bottle. Plastic bottles are a major item of litter and garbage and the process of making them is a big contributor to releasing carbon dioxide into our air. They are incredibly harmful to the environment, and so easy to replace! Finding a nice, sturdy reusable water bottle will easily stop you from using single-use plastic and keep you hydrated. Tupperware is also a great investment to make as a person living on their own for the first time. They are a lifesaver when you have leftovers or want to give some food to a family member or friend. Another great item is beeswax wrap. This is a great eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap or aluminum foil when saving leftover food. It is super easy to use and is, again, a one-time purchase. Reusable paper towels/napkins are a great way to limit single-use paper. They work just like a regular paper towel or napkin, and you just put them in the washing machine after use!

Beeswax Wrap

Paperless Towels (Locally Made in Kansas!)

Sustainable Bathing Products

This was one of the first swaps that I made, and it was a great decision! Instead of buying plastic bottles of body wash, I started buying bar soap. The best kind to get for a body wash replacement would be a plain, unscented soap. You can also buy a soap bag to use for lathering or use a loofah or towel if you prefer not to buy something new. Bar soap is extremely cheap and works just as well as a regular body wash. In the same way, you can also use bar soap instead of regular hand soap to reduce plastic usage. If you want to take it a step further, you can switch out your regular shampoo and conditioner for the bar version. Swapping your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo version is another easy way to reduce plastic usage as well.

Bar Shampoo and Conditioner

Soap Bag

Bamboo Toothbrush

Sophie Sanders is a writer for the Her Campus at University of Kansas chapter. She has been a part of Her Campus KU since August of 2022. Sophie focuses on entertainment when writing for Her Campus KU. She enjoys writing about current films, TV shows and books. Sophie was awarded the Writing Member of the Month by the HCKU writing executives in February. Sophie is a sophomore at the University of Kansas and is double majoring in Film & Media Studies with an emphasis in Production and English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. Apart from Her Campus, Sophie is involved in the Film Department at KU. She works as an office assistant in the front office and she is involved with KU film clubs. Sophie enjoys reading, writing creatively, and watching movies in her free time. Some of her favorite books include Six of Crows, Normal People, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. She is a huge fan of the Scream movie franchise. Her favorite Scream is Scream VI. She also loves La La Land and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Sophie enjoys Yoga and board games. Sophie is passionate about issues pertaining to women and lgbtq+ people as well.