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Sustainable Living: Minimizing Waste One Choice at a Time

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

To me, sustainable living is a lifestyle that involves taking initiative to reduce my environmental impact and damage. It encompasses a series of positive choices, and though it is not a practice that is easily achieved, every step in the right direction will impact the planet tomorrow. It is not difficult to look around and find small ways to meet needs without hurting the environment. Some common examples include using metal straws, reusable water bottles and carpooling, but I’m here to share some fresh and unnoticed ideas that everyone should try!

Plastic has been a growing hazard to the environment for hundreds of years. With its slow decomposition rate and containment of hazardous chemicals, ditching single-use plastic is essential to protecting the environment. Minimizing plastic is a great way to live sustainably and is an easy initiative to adopt. Stopping the purchase and use of one-time-use plastic products such as plastic produce bags and water bottles makes a huge difference in preventing plastic in landfills and oceans. Plastic produce bags can easily be replaced by mesh produce bags. There are various high-quality, washable and lightweight options, so a plastic bag never needs to be ripped open and thrown away again. Mesh produce bags are also versatile and can be used for storage and collecting vegetables from a backyard garden.

Speaking of gardens, the practice of planting and growing produce such as vegetables and fruits is a great sustainable living practice. At my home, I have my own apple tree and raspberry bush, and in the garden, I grow potatoes, peppers, basil, green beans and cucumbers. If growing produce is too time-consuming or not of interest, another sustainable practice is shopping from a local food market.

Though I haven’t had the opportunity to test too many organic or reusable period products, I have had the opportunity to try reusable pads, and spoiler alert: they’re amazing! As a person who prefers pads over tampons, cloth-based reusable pads are a great way to reduce waste, they last many years and are pocket-friendly. I have been using reusable pads since 2019 and the thought of going back to disposable pads has never crossed my mind. My reusable pads are still in great quality and offer the comfort, absorbency and affordability I require. Purchasing cloth pads are also a great way to support small businesses that care about the environment. Reusable pads are easy to clean and not as horrible as one may imagine. Simply rinse with cold water, wash with unscented soap and then throw them in the washing machine as normal. Personally, as I change my reusable pads I rinse and clean them, and then wait until my period is over to throw them all into the washing machine together.

Remember, it is not sustainable to purchase eco-friendly and reusable items that are already owned. For example, buying bamboo cutlery is great, but when reusable cutlery is already available for use, it is not helping to protect our environment and stop overproduction or overconsumption.

Despite the effort that goes into maintaining my sustainable lifestyle, I feel that that it is important to help out where I can!

Isha Pabla

Wilfrid Laurier '24

Writing has always been a passion of Isha's, and while pursuing a major in business and computer science, she finds it wonderful to be able to exercise her creativity and activism with Her Campus. Isha enjoys writing about social justice issues, community engagement and social wellness.