Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Making Sustainability Less Scary

article dream art
artwork
Sharon Horev
writer
Rebecca Maloof

In the last decade, the sustainability industry has taken off. It seems like every company is “going green.” Of course, the emphasis on this comes from the impending doom we all fear regarding our planet’s rapidly declining health. The truth is, our world is burning. It is heating up, and we are using our resources way too fast. 

Now, most of these issues caused by large corporations are draining our planet of its necessary fuels. But, just because a large amount of the contributions to climate change and pollution are from a small percentage of people, that doesn’t mean we can’t do our part in some capacity. 

With the influx of green brands and sustainable products, being eco-friendly is easier than ever. Here are some small ways to incorporate the classic “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra into your daily life. 

Reusable Coffee Cups 
Using reusable coffee cups, water bottles, and any bottle for that matter, is a simple and effective way to reduce your waste. Before the pandemic, most coffee shops would even allow you to give them a reusable cup for your drinks. You might not be able to do that now, but even carrying a metal straw can help eliminate waste. Pick out some cute, aesthetically pleasing reusable cups, and start carrying them with you, so that you can forgo the need to buy plastic. 

Recycle Empty Jars 
A mason jar is a perfect cup for an iced latte, and an empty pickle jar can double as a brand new pickling jar. Reusing glass jars and bottles is an excellent way to reduce waste, and they can serve so many purposes. Scrub labels off old jars with soap and hot water, and use them for whatever you desire. Propagate a pothos plant inside, pickle some red onions, or use the old jar as a cup. There are so many ways to get creative with it. Being sustainable doesn’t have to be a hassle. 

Shop Vintage 
Thanks to TikTok thrift hauls and Emma Chamberlain’s YouTube influence, thrifting is now cool. Although this can be problematic in some ways, as thrift prices are starting to go up, and those who solely rely on thrift for their clothing are forced to pay higher costs, there are other ways of shopping sustainably. Vintage shopping is a great option. By shopping vintage, you are not supporting fast fashion and are still allowing those who actually need thrifted clothes, to be able to have full access to them. Plus, wearing vintage clothes is just fun. No explanation is needed. 

Buy Sustainably 
It can be hard to determine what brands are actually ethical, and what brands are just “going green” in terms of their marketing. Do your research before shopping, and make sure to educate yourself on how your clothes are made and if they are truly sustainable or not. Some brands can be misleading, so make sure to double-check. But, buying from sustainable brands (if you can afford to) is a great way to add some eco-friendly pieces to your wardrobe. 

These ideas are just the beginning of what can turn into an entire life of sustainability. With these small changes, though, you can actively start to be more conscious of your consumption. 

After diving into the world of sustainability, it can seem daunting. But, remember to do your small part and continue trying and learning as much as you can. Who knows, pretty soon you might be planting your own garden, composting, and sewing your own clothes. Sustainability really can be appealing, so don’t shy away from these alternative methods. 

By Rebecca Maloof

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