The trends of metal straws, reusable water bottles and vegan food seem to be everywhere. However, practicing sustainably can be a challenge, especially when websites all recommend the same five tips. To help those who have run out of ideas on how to live sustainably, here are three easy, creative ways to integrate environmentally-conscious living into your lifestyle.
1. Reduce plastic consumption: You’ve probably already been told to buy a Hydro Flask or metal straw, but there are other ways to reduce plastic. A set of reusable utensils, found at discount stores like Daiso Japan, can replace the plastic ones many restaurants provide. Also, investing in a metal safety razor not only replaces the constant buying and throwing out of plastic razors, but it saves money in the long run, as replacement blades can cost as little as 12 cents, according to the Rockwell Razor’s website. This company has a range of selections available anywhere from $15–$100.
2. Be a discerning consumer: It is important to be conscious of how you buy products, said Mike Mooring, a biology professor at PLNU. Mooring said that an important part of being a discerning customer is minimizing the purchase of excessive packaging. Senior environmental science major Emily Jenkins recommends looking into stores like Package Free Shop. “You can get shampoo in a package free container. When it’s empty, send it in, and they refill it for you and send it back,” she said. You can find the store online at packagefreeshop.com, or follow their Instagram, @packagefreeshop.
Another similar store is Earthwell Refill, where customers can bring in empty bottles (or grab a free donated container!) and refill with products like lotion, soap, toothpaste and more, charged by weight. Earthwell Refill is located at 4114 Adams Avenue in the Kensington neighborhood. You can check them out online at earthwellrefill.com.
For hair products, Eco Chic Salon, located on 1727 University Avenue, offers “eco-friendly products and services in a luxurious and eco-minded environment,” according to their website. “[Their] singular focus is on creating sustainable beauty while celebrating individuality.”
3. Reduce waste: Reduce is the first R for a reason! Mooring said, “Don’t buy things that you don’t really need—get into the habit of justifying every purchase.” This covers everything from what you wear to what you eat. Food waste can easily be composted, and you can even take your uneaten food to the Flex compost bins by building 42. As for clothing, Jenkins said that she saves a lot of money making use of what she already owns, such as wearing old clothing and patching up worn down clothes. “You save money, and the earth is helped out because [it doesn’t] have to make as many things,” she said.
Remember, if you feel overwhelmed by this list and still don’t know where to start, freshman Sarah Hall says to just start small!