In many ways, our personal health depends on the health of our planet. Air quality, water quality, and our ability to be outside and appreciate nature are vital to our mental and physical health. That’s why it is important to help preserve our planet by integrating sustainability into your everyday life! You can do just that with the following tips and tricks:
- Live Zero waste!
Recycling can be tricky because it can be difficult to remember what goes in your recycling bin and what does not. Luckily, the City of Tempe has put together a comprehensive recycling guide that you can save and look back on when you’re unsure where to put what. Click here for more information.Compost.
Composting in addition to recycling is one of the best ways to bring yourself closer to a true zero-waste lifestyle. Have a garden? You’re already halfway there! Here are the City of Tempe guidelines on composting at home. But, did you know that you can compost your leftover food items even if you don’t use compost yourself? There are composting programs right here in Tempe that pick up your composted items at your door and do the rest of the work for you! All you need to do is pay a small subscription fee. Try Recycled City. which includes a compost bin, step-by-step instructions, AND a two week free trial! Replace single-use items with reusables.
Have you ever noticed how many things you just use once and then throw away throughout the day? What about all the plastic items in your house that last a little longer, but eventually end up in your trash can? If you really stop to think about how much you inevitably have to throw away, you may realize you’ve probably personally generated a mountain of plastic waste that will stay in the environment for years to come. But don’t worry – that mountain doesn’t have to keep growing. With a few simple replacements, you can cut down your waste by half! Here are some ideas:
- Next time you go to the dentist, say no to the goodie bag of plastic replacement toothbrushes and say hello to the bamboo toothbrush! Bamboo is a biodegradable material that is aesthetically pleasing AND good for the environment. You can even subscribe to get a replacement toothbrush mailed to you every three months! Here are some options:
- Plastic bags are probably the worst thing you can use. Opt for cloth grocery bags and beeswax, recyclable paper, or other reusable bags instead of Ziploc.
- It never hurts to stock up on reusable straws! Try metal or bamboo straws today!
- Dryer sheets are harmful to the environment because, like plastics, they take a long time to decompose. Instead, try dryer balls, which can be reused each week.
- Instead of throwing away empty plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner every few months, try shampoo and conditioner bars! These are truly zero-waste alternatives as once you finish the bar, there’s absolutely nothing to throw away!
- Looking for a one-stop shop for all your environmentally-friendly goods? Don’t go to Amazon, try one of these ethical plastic-free online shops:
How to thrift ethically
Textile waste is one of the biggest polluters out there. Instead of buying clothing and other thriftable items new and throwing away clothes that don’t fit you anymore, try not to generate additional waste by buying and selling at thrift stores! While this is one of the easiest (and trendiest) ways to be sustainable right now, there are some important ethical considerations to keep in mind when it comes to thrifting:
- If you can afford to purchase clothes retail, keep in mind that thrift store prices are the only option for some. Some ways to avoid depleting valuable resources for your community include:
- When you buy, sell too! This way, your impact on clothing availability for your neighbors is net zero.
- Take only what you need. Don’t buy out the whole store just because the prices are low.
- Don’t size up. Inclusive sizing is hard to come by, and thrift stores often have wider size ranges than retail stores. While the “oversized” look may be in, try not to purchase outside of your size so that there’s something for everyone at the thrift store.
Online thrift stores
- It makes sense to feel unsafe going out to a thrift store while COVID-19 is still an issue. If this sounds like you, you might be interested in trying online thrift stores where you can have items shipped right to your door! Options include:
- Depop – best for unique styles.
- Mercari – best for non-clothing items.
- Poshmark – best for designer items.
3. Say no to fossil fuels!
Driving is often the most convenient way to get from here to there. If you must drive, compare schedules with friends and family and see if you can do your part to reduce the number of cars on the road.
Use public transportation
Public transportation is already available, especially here in Tempe, so you might as well take advantage of it! Plus, riding the light rail or the shuttle gives you the opportunity to relax, read, and get things done that driving does not. Here are some options for public transportation here in Tempe:
- Light rail
- Campus shuttles
- Tempe Orbit neighborhood circulator
Biking is a great way to get some exercise while you travel. On campus or off, a bike is a great investment for your health and the health of the planet.
The coolest way to get around, skating gets you there AND makes you look good doing it.