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Why everyone should try low-waste living

Photo Courtesy WikiMedia Commons

By Lou Crossan
Associate Arts & Culture Editor

It’s that time of the year again! Flowers are sprouting, trees are getting their leaves back, that pair of fuzzy socks you wore all winter are being put in storage, its spring! Morale tends to bloom as our seasonal depression goes into hibernation. Amidst all this new growth, it’s the perfect time to capitalize on new beginnings and use that motivation to try something new and healthy. My recommendation: low-waste living.

I’m not one for cutting meat out of the diet or hitting the gym more often, but when it comes to reducing my carbon footprint, I’m so there. Everyone should try this at least once in their life. Those who I’ve spoken to who have committed to this kind of lifestyle are constantly surprised at how some simple changes can make such a difference. I know we’re all just trying to get through the semester as painlessly as possible, but trust me when I say making some of these adjustments will absolutely enrich your life.

The first thing I did when going low-waste was ditch water bottles! Switching to a reusable water bottle and filling up on the go has not only saved me money, but also forced me to drink more water and be healthier. This can be applied to getting refillable starbucks cups as well for your coffee needs! Of course I still love a Dr. Pepper on a rainy Tuesday from the Cove. However, I’ve saved recycling around ten water bottles a week since switching.

The next easy change is trying out solid shampoo and conditioner instead of buying bottled. I am super picky about what kind of products go in my hair, so I was wary about this at first. However, I fell in love with the shampoo and conditioner bars at LUSH. Yes, they’re a little more expensive than a bottle of shampoo, but last up to eighty washes and use all natural ingredients.

If you’re one who likes to cook, I highly recommend going to goodwill and getting some mason jars. Bulk buying things like rice, beans and nuts save money and packaging waste! Additionally, purchase a few assorted sizes of reusable grocery bags. Those plastic nightmares take literally centuries to decompose. Plus, reusable bags are much sturdier and easy to pack with groceries!

Finally, and this is probably the easiest transition, buy a bamboo toothbrush! I know you’ve seen those ads on instagram! You can get four toothbrushes on Amazon for $8. Give one to three of your friends! It’s so simple and the soft bristles are heaven for your gums.

These are just five simple adjustments to give some love to mother earth. You don’t have to uproot your lifestyle to make a difference with waste production. We have to be responsible for how we leave this shared place, and trying some of these easy things will truly make you feel good about how you’re helping. If you try some of these recommendations, you’ll notice just how much waste you’re actually contributing to every day, and be proud of your choices to reduce.