Shrink your carbon footprint ~ DIY edition

Ranked from easiest to hardest to implement

Using reusable water bottles helps eliminate plastic waste.

Photo by Courtesy of Creative Commons

Using reusable water bottles helps eliminate plastic waste.

Ella Gartz, Managing Editor of A&E


1. Shopping

The easiest way to help protect the environment is by changing your shopping habits. Carry a tote bag instead of collecting plastic check-out bags, especially when you are only leaving with a few items. Donate your old clothes, toys, books, and furniture to charity instead of throwing them out. When it comes time to replace old products, try to find more sustainable versions of them and see if you can really notice much of a difference. Twist-up refillable deodorant containers, dish towels, rechargeable batteries, reusable water bottles, biodegradable garbage bags, and other items are made to be easy and can often be cheaper than their degrading alternatives. You should also look into online “ecological footprint” calculators (they assess corporate sustainability – in seconds!) to better inform your consumerism. 


2. Recycling & Composting

For the last few months, my family has been composting every apple core, banana peel, wet paper towel, and eggshell. The list trails on with what other things, that most of us assume to be waste, can really be composted. We keep a little bin under the sink where all of our compostable items live until they move outside, where we have larger designated containers for garbage, recycling, and composting. The recycling bin beholds our folded Amazon boxes and rinsed-out take-out containers. With a slight change of habit, we have come to find that our family of five only produces enough trash to be taken out once every two weeks. It is so important to adopt recycling and composting into your life, it makes all the difference and only asks you to think twice. I promise you won’t have to churn anything into soil or get your hands dirty! 


3. Electric Cars

Over the summer, my parents traded out their 2007 Acura MDX for a Model 3 Tesla, which to our surprise cost less than what a ubiquitous Subaru or Jeep would have. With a little coordination, our family has managed to make two cars work for three drivers. We have found our electric car to save the environment from gas and the bank from gas prices. I encourage you to research your projected “dollars saved” and consider making the investment in a more sustainable car one day, it may be worth your while.