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 generations before have left a multitude of problems when it comes to the environment. Be this as it may, many 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 are zero waste and some ideas to help reduce carbon footprint in everyday life.
1. Drive less
The easiest and most simple way to reduce carbon footprint is to simply drive as least as possible. Taking alternative modes of transportation is proven time and time again to reduce 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 a bike, taking the bus, or even carpooling it will help lower the emissions that a car is putting into the environment.
(If you’re interested more on the topic of cars and lowering carbon emissions consider watching this video )
2. 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. However, these things are horrible for the environment. 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 money and by following the simple trick of “dirty a dish wash a dish’’ there won’t be a buildup of dishes at the end of the day. As far as easily reusable products some can switch, here are some 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
3. Lower your waste and switch to no waste containers
This way takes a little bit more open-mindedness to jump into. 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 one already has and reusing it. Everyone is so focused on recycling that they the first R in the three Rs- reuse. It isn’t advisable to throw out things before every drop has been used, things like a toothpaste key will help get every ounce out of lotion bottles and toothpaste.
When looking for refills or reusable containers one reliable company is Public Goods. They have reusable containers for sale as well as refills for all the items that have been listed above. The refills can even be put in current containers. They have everything from dish soap to shampoo. If this company isn’t of interest, there are lots of others such as ones on Amazon.
Making the switch to a lower carbon footprint can be difficult but there are lots of little things that one can do overtime that will add up. Making even one switch a month will make a huge difference. By asking a friend to carpool to an event, choosing to ride a bike, or not using paper towels, all the little things will add up. Hopefully, the current generation will make a huge impact for the betterment of the environment.