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6 Small Ways To Be More Eco Friendly Every Day

Happy Earth Day! 

We all want the best for this planet. One of the best ways you can help bolster the environment is to stop shopping at large corporations that contribute the most to air pollution, deforestation, and just the overall worsening of our climate. However, for other easy ways to break into a more sustainable lifestyle, here are some small, unexpected things you can do in your everyday life.

Donate your old mascara wands

This one is for all my makeup lovers out there. Apparently, experts say you’re supposed to replace your mascara every three months to avoid bacteria and ensure optimal product quality. If you actually follow through with this, that’s a lot of mascara tubes getting thrown away each year! 

Instead of throwing them in the trash, you can actually wash old mascara wands (and similar eyebrow spoolies) in warm soapy water to remove the makeup and mail them to a Wildlife Rescue organization. These wands are perfect to clean baby animals from the aftermath of oil spills or to get rid of any fleas or insect larvae that might have latched onto their fur. 

The original site providing this service, Wands for Wildlife, has currently paused their acceptance of donations due to COVID, but you could check any local rehabilitation centers to see if they could use these donations!

Reuse glass jars

Recently, I’ve been seeing all kinds of foods sold in glass jars—tiny jars of yogurt or larger jars usually used for salsa or sauces. Glass is an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic, and it makes for great storage containers, so rinse these jars and save them! I use glass jars on desks or tables to store pens, markers, coins, snacks, or anything else that you can fit! 

Glass jars also make great gifts (bonus eco friendly points if you wrap said gifts in newspaper or old magazines!) You can fill them with flowers, small presents, or little notes with memories for the recipient to open and read. 

Some beverage bottles already have pretty cool, designed labels; if not, you have a great DIY jar–decorating activity on your hands. 

Save those takeout containers

Ever since the beginning of quarantine, I feel like takeout has been a new saving grace to spice up a Friday night when you can’t go out. It’s been great to try new places and support smaller, local restaurants. 

In my experience with takeout, most of the food comes in reusable containers with lids—and you should totally save these! Depending on the size of your order, most of these containers actually fit a lot of food, which is perfect for meal planning, storing leftovers, or—let’s be real, college kids—stealing food from the dining hall. 

Bring a tote bag!

Luckily for us all, tote bags are back in style. They’re simple, laid back, and, most importantly, they hold more things than a tiny purse ever could. There are even foldable versions, so you can store one in a backpack or coat pocket just in case you need it. 

Several states have already banned single use plastic bags, and why would you ever need another plastic bag at the grocery store when you have a trendy tote? This, along with the recently movement to use reusable straws, is a great step to help #savetheturtles and keep plastic out of our oceans. 

Ditch the paper towels

Paper towels are super versatile for cleaning, but I recently stumbled on this Three Bluebirds Swedish Dishcloth that can serve as an alternative for paper towels and plastic sponges. The dishcloth is a piece of biodegradable, washable cloth that absorbs up to 20 times its weight. This product has become a go–to for me; every time I use it for spills or clean up, I can easily rinse it off and let it dry to use again. I recommend any sort of cloth like this (even a washcloth would work) for your cleaning repertoire to save some paper towels and make your roll last longer. 

Shop at thrift stores

If you needed another reason to go thrift shopping, here it is! With the rise of fast fashion, millions of tons of clothes end up in landfills each year. Donating to thrift stores is a great way to help reduce this number, and it gives us all more chances to spice up our wardrobes! 

Thrift stores are great places to find unique pieces, vintage clothes, or specifics for costumes and special events. If you’re into DIY projects, thrift stores can be a great place to find fabric or pieces to alter. Many thrift stores are also locally owned or donate directly to community groups or organizations. 

When considering climate change, it can feel like a lot of pressure for any one person to live a completely sustainable lifestyle. For many reasons, it isn’t a feasible option for everyone. However, I hope these few, easy changes were helpful, eco friendly inspirations! 

Sienna is a sophomore studying Neuroscience, hoping to also minor in Nutrition and Psychology. She grew up in Philly, so she knows how to have fun in the city, but is just as happy outside- if you're down for a road trip she's your go-to! There isn't much she won't try once, and can't wait to be able to travel to the next new place to meet new people and of course try more food! Sienna wants to study veterinary medicine, and used to foster several working dogs who are now certified narcotic detection dogs! She naturally is a big animal lover, but has a soft spot for kids too, as she tutors local West Philly kids through a tutoring club at UPenn.
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