I have been seeing many videos on Facebook lately about living a plastic-free lifestyle and it seems to be a new trend. People are becoming much more eco-conscious about trying to reduce their waste and I too have been on board with this movement.

Unfortunately, living completely plastic-free sounds like an unattainable task for most, let alone college students that are finally figuring out how to live on their own for the first time. As a result of this challenge, I am offering you three of my favorite, easy and affordable ways to keep your community green and even save yourself a few bucks:

  1. Invest in reusable coffee cups

My brother and I have been doing this for years. Our favorite Starbucks shop back home would always give us discounts if we brought in our reusable Starbucks coffee mugs and tea containers. Thankfully for everyone, this behavior is encouraged at all Starbucks and Caribou coffee shops – even the ones here on campus!

Think about all the plastic cups and cardboard containers we throw away after our morning caffeine fix. Doing this small act of investing in a reusable container not only saves you some money but contributes less waste in landfills. It’s a win for the environment and a win for you!

  1. Keep those plastic Wal-Mart bags

Studies have shown that when you throw away a plastic bag, it will take almost 1,000 years to fully decompose once it hits the landfill. By saving your bags after a grocery run, you can bring them back on your next trip and drop them in one of the plastic bag bins most grocery stores offer.

These bag drops allow for the unwanted bags to get recycled back into the system to be used all over again. If you’re okay with reusing them, you can do what I like to do and throw your lunch in one for those long days on campus.

  1. Re-grow your vegetables

One of my favorite things to do to save money and reduce my food waste is growing some of my own food. Now, this sounds like yet another challenge for some but I promise it’s as easy as can be.

Whole Foods has created my favorite vegetable re-grow direction chart. It tells you the quick ways to save the ends of your fruits and veggies and regrow them into more food in a short time. Most of these tricks only involve water and a glass or a small cup and a bit of dirt. Plus, you won’t have to spend more money on food!

If you think you aren’t ready to start growing vegetables on your own yet, begin by checking out the Sustainable, Edible, Education Discovery (SEED) Garden on campus!

“The Winona State University SEED Garden is a place where anyone can come and work, relax, or plunge their hands in the dirt.” – The SEED Garden Facebook Page

With our community being located in the beautiful Mississippi River Valley, us Warriors should feel extra inspired to preserve the beauty of our planet and keep our community in pristine condition. It is my hope that these quick tricks help you jumpstart your greener lifestyle with ease.

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Claire Bowman

Claire is from Crystal Lake, IL and majoring in English Literature & Language with a minor in Creative Writing. Her hobbies include music, poetry, hula hooping and a variety of outdoor activities.

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