10 ways to go green, NOW!

Photos by Caitlin Holmquist

Do you get as depressed as me by the headlines of animals filled with plastic and pictures of our ice caps melting? After logging onto Facebook and scrolling past yet another stream of headlines screaming about global warming and pollution I thought, “Ok, how can I become a greener person?”

This led me to reach out to biology professor Karen Talentino and senior Elly Moore who run our Sustainability Committee, as well as Brittany Johnson (head of Green-Up) to get their expert opinions. There are many small changes you can make to your daily habits that will help improve your environmental impact, but here are a few easy ones to consider:

1. Re-use containers. So often our groceries come in plastic or glass containers. Simply wash them out rather than buy new tupperware or overpriced mason jars down the road! This also applies to re-usable water bottles! “One plastic bottle takes 400 to 1000 years to decompose,” Johnson said.

2. Make the switch to bar soap. It cleans hands the same, but a bar doesn’t leave you plastic container that will never decompose at the end! But no need to worry about drying your hands because “all paper towels on campus are compostable”- Talentino reminds us.

3. Invest in reusable food covers! Beeswax wrap offer a great alternative to plastic wrap. They come in super fun prints and are a great way to support our buzzing bumbly friends! Best of all you can get a variety pack for about $15 and they last for years.

4. Convert to a menstrual cup. The average woman will use 12,000 to 16,000 disposable pads, pantyliner’s, and tampons in her lifetime. Switching to a reusable option has a big impact on waste, and your wallet.

5. Re purpose old t-shirts, sweatshirt or sheets as cleaning rags.

6. Instead of dryer sheets use dryer balls, which last for years! Or even better, just let your clothes air dry and save even more money and energy.

7. Buy second hand. Most people don’t think the clothing they wear has an environmental impact, but the clothing industry is one of the biggest consumers of natural resources and producers of waste.

8. Commit to meatless Monday. “This can reduce your carbon footprint by 50 percent”- said Johnson

9. Walk more. Do you really need to drive from your house to the gym? For every gallon of gas burned you are emitting 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global warming gases into the environment.Not to mention, the fresh air and exercise help your physical and mental health.

10. Get creative! If you forget your to-go container have no fear “people can just ask their Einsteins server to put the bagel right in their hand and save the little bag it typically comes in” -Moore said