Easy ways to be sustainable


Photo by Mert Guller (Unsplash).

Fairley Lloyd , Staff Writer

Sustainability is a hot topic, and rightfully so: with recent studies on climate change and environmental issues facing our community, it is important that we are mindful of ways we can be more sustainable.

However, sustainability can often feel daunting and overwhelming, especially in the larger context of saving the environment. No one person can do that, of course! Between school, work and extracurriculars, there is a lot of pressure to help the earth.

That does not mean we cannot do it, however, taking small but meaningful steps towards being more sustainable can make the world of a difference. Small steps are important regardless of their size. Here are some ways you can be more sustainable.

Reuse items in creative ways

We often throw away a lot of items that can be reused: plastic bags, bottles, containers and other often-discarded items can be reused. For example, I always reuse plastic bags from grocery shopping for bags for trash cans at home. My mom turned me on to reusing Mason jars and other containers, like peanut butter containers, and using them as containers for pencils, pens and other office supplies.

Something I also like to do is reuse items in creative ways, often known as upcycling. I have decorated aluminum cans with duct-tape, used cardboard to make flip-flops and remade old T-shirts into scarves. There is so much you can do to change an item into something you love.

Pinterest is also a great resource for finding ways to reuse items in fun ways. A lot of the ideas even have tutorials to walk you through the process.

Reduce your use of unsustainable items

Try to use less of items that are not sustainable (like plastic) and harder to recycle (like Styrofoam). Bring your own water bottles in exchange for buying plastic ones. Use cloth bags instead of plastic bags when shopping at grocery stores. If you bring food from home, use Tupperware and other reusable containers for your food.

What is great about reusing items is that you will often end up saving money. For example, using reusable water bottles costs less than buying bottled water. Some places, like Aldi, encourage using reusable grocery bags instead of plastic ones—in fact, they charge an extra price for buying plastic grocery bags.

Recycle whenever possible

The great thing about UNCW is that there are plenty of recyclable bins almost wherever you can find a trash bin. Granted, some of these options are limited—certain plastic bottles, containers—but a lot of these items you probably readily carry—plastic bottles, old food containers, pretty much anything you get from the pod

With all the environmental issues surrounding our country, it can feel like a lot of pressure to do our part. But as I have delved deeper into ideas, I have found that sustainability can be made easier. In fact, many times, sustainability is better for your health, your bank account and for your overall well-being.