Kate Couch/ The Broadside
It’s no secret that young Millennials and Gen Z are a little bit more concerned about their carbon footprint and the waste they put into the world than the generations before them. Rightfully so, as the generations before us have left us with a multitude of problems when it comes to the environment. Be this as it may, many of us have a want and desire to help, which can sometimes be overthrown by not knowing what we can do or not knowing how to help the environment.
Below are products that you can get that are zero waste and some ideas to help you reduce your carbon footprint in your day-to-day life.
- Drive Less
The easiest and most simple way to reduce your carbon footprint is to simply drive as least as possible. Taking alternative modes of transportation is proven time and time again to reduce your carbon footprint. According to the Conservation Law Foundation, “Across the US, vehicle exhaust accounts for 55% of nitrogen oxides, and 60% of carbon monoxide emissions.” By simply riding your bike, taking the bus, or even carpooling you’re helping lower the emissions that your car is putting into the environment.
(If you’re interested more on the topic of cars and lowering carbon emissions consider watching this video )
- Stop using one-use products
It’s tempting, especially as college students, to want to use paper plates, paper towels, makeup wipes, baby wipes, Q-tips, flossers, plastic utensils, and straws, as well as many others. However, these things are horrible for the environment and for your wallet quite frankly. There are many reusable alternatives to all the products listed above. The Washington Post says that there are over 25 billion q-tips used each year!
Obviously making the switch to reusable cups, utensils, and plates will save you money and if you follow the simple trick of “dirty a dish wash a dish’’ you won’t have a buildup of dishes at the end of the day. As far as easily reusable products you can switch, here are my recommendations for the best alternatives-
- Make-up wipes (Rounds + Micellar water)
- Paper towels (these rags are super absorbent and way better than your average dishcloth)
- Ziplock bags
- Plastic or cling wrap (you could also try this beeswax one here!)
- Feminine products (option one, option two)
- Water Bottles
- Lower Your Waste and Switch to No Waste Containers
This way takes a little bit more open-mindedness to jump into. However, if you can successfully make this switch you are doing more than most people are. Things like shampoo and conditioner bottles make large plastic waste. Though it is very tempting to just buy new things, the biggest impact is going to be using up what you have and reusing it. We’re so focused on recycling that we forget the first R in the three Rs- reuse. You also don’t want to throw out things before you have used every drop, things like a toothpaste key will help you get every ounce out of your lotion bottles and toothpaste.
When looking for refills or reusable containers try the company Public Goods. They have reusable containers for sale as well as refills for all the items that have been listed above. You could even buy the refills and put them in your current containers. They have everything from dish soap to shampoo. If this company doesn’t interest you there are lots of others and you could always go to Amazon.
Making the switch to a lower carbon footprint can be difficult but there are lots of little things that you can do overtime that will add up. Making even one switch a month will make a huge difference. By asking your friend to carpool to an event, choosing to take your bike, or not using paper towels, all the little things will add up. Hopefully, our generation and others will make a huge impact for the better on our environment.