January 18, 2021
Written by Maria Campanella, Assistant Director of Hydaway
Here at the Hydaway Outdoor Center, we do our best to take care of the environment and practice Leave No Trace principles. This has inspired me to live a more sustainable lifestyle and to be more aware of how things in our day-to-day life affect the environment. Making the jump to a completely sustainable life is a long process, but here are just a few things that you can start doing whether you live on campus or off to decrease your impact on the environment.
I know, this seems like a drastic thing to put at the top of the list, but this is actually a simple way to be more sustainable. Keeping fruit and vegetable scraps and dropping them off at a local compost station is a great way to reduce waste. We have a compost station at Hydaway now where people can bring in their waste!
There are so many recipes out there to make your own everyday items without chemicals. Here are some of my favorites that I have tried and some that I am hoping to try soon:
On top of these, it is helpful to use bar soaps instead of plastic bottles for as many things as possible.
I know many of us enjoy coffee, but K-Cups and coffee filters are a big contribution to waste. You can purchase a reusable K-Cup filter or coffee filter, whatever you prefer, at Walmart, Amazon, Keurig’s Website, or Kohl’s.
Eating fast food and using plastic utensils is something we probably do more often than we realize. Switching to reusable utensils is especially good for on-campus students when eating meals with plastic utensils is an everyday thing. There are affordable alternatives to this — like these!
This is such a little thing, but the amount of plastic grocery bags that you get at the store can so easily be avoided. Many places have them right at the checkout to purchase and they are way bigger than the plastic bags you get. There are also some places, like Kroger, that have a paper bag option at the self-checkout which is another good sustainable switch to make that is simple and easy.
Fast fashion is an easy trap to fall into. It is convenient, cheap, and trendy. However, so many fast fashion brands are unsustainable and make their products in poor conditions. This website is a great resource to see which brands you love are eco friendly and which brands you should consider withholding purchases from. GoodOnYou will also provide eco friendly alternatives to the fashion brands you love!
Buying things secondhand is a great way to reduce waste! This goes for clothes, books, household items, and more. This also goes for getting rid of things. When you have moved on from an item of clothing or a household item, donate it to Goodwill instead of throwing it out entirely.
Lastly, if you really want to make a bigger change towards sustainability, eating more plant-based is a great way to help the environment. Amazingly enough, one-fifth of global emissions come from the meat industry. Making a small change and eating less meat and more of a vegetarian diet can help the environment in a big way.
You can do all of these or just a few if you’re interested in helping, but these are all just some simple ways that anyone can make a difference.