The (Com)Post: Five simple ways to incorporate sustainability into your life

Give wooden toiletries a try, and other tips

The (Com)Post: Five simple ways to incorporate sustainability into your life

One sustainable choice you can make: repurposing your own clothes instead of disposing of them and buying new ones.

Climate change is a big and looming issue, but it doesn’t have to be so intimidating. The (Com)Post is The Eagle’s new sustainability series that breaks down topics in eco-friendly living in a fresh, actionable and fun way.

With drastic effects of climate change looming, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out how to make a difference. The truth is, anyone can live a more sustainable lifestyle by making minor changes in their daily routines. Reusing and recycling doesn’t have to be a chore—why not get creative with household items, or turn your clothes into something new? Here are some ways you can live sustainably:

Dispose of waste properly

First things first: It’s important to distinguish between organic and inorganic waste before throwing your trash into the recycling bin. Organic waste are things that are biodegradable and come from plants or animals, so things like food scraps, paper products and more. Inorganic waste includes items made out of mineral chemical substances, like plastic, glass and more. While both can be recycled or reused, they must be separated into different bins. Disposing trash properly can go a long way to reduce your impact on the environment.

Use sustainable products

If you’re looking to make a switch in your daily routine, why not give wooden toiletries a try? Unlike plastic, bamboo toothbrushes and hairbrushes are made of biodegradable materials that are price-friendly alternatives to living sustainably. 

Rory Shinnick, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, is passionate about sustainable living and shared other daily sustainable lifestyle tips. She said she cuts plastic rings from six-packs so that animals can’t get stuck in them. 

“I like to use reusable water bottles, stainless steel reusable straws, putting food in the sink disposal, recycling paper and plastics etc. to help reduce my impact on the environment,” Shinnick said. 

Shop and rent sustainably

The second-hand clothing industry leads to all kinds of environmental benefits, like reducing carbon emissions and waste. Free & For Sale is an open Facebook group where American University students can buy and sell used clothing and furniture for low prices.

Another way to incorporate sustainability into your shopping routine is to visit Rent the Runway, a fashion rentals company. It considers its service as environmentally-friendly since it encourages consumers to cut out the notion of making short-term purchases that won’t be worn again. 

If don’t want to eliminate fast fashion completely and would rather keep your purchases, consider heading to stores that have a passion for reducing their environmental footprint like H&M. The store engages in initiatives such as garment collecting that encourage consumers to take their old clothes to one of its stores and H&M will recycle the fabric and give the customer a 15% coupon. 

For the ladies out there who don’t know, Lola is a women’s personal care brand that offers 100% organic cotton feminine products, which are proven to be better for personal hygiene, and the environment. Other alternative organic brands are available across stores that are cheaper or more suitable to individuals with specific preferences. 

Repurpose your clothes

If you don’t want to run to the store, try repurposing old clothing yourself. Jean pockets keep your miscellaneous items handy while you’re on the go—why not use them for easy storage in your dorm? With an old pair of jeans, just cut up the pockets and use a glue gun to stick them to a sturdy surface to create a craft organizer. Fill it with office supplies like pens and markers, or accessories like scrunchies or key chains. 

Feeling crafty, but don’t need an organizer? You can go a step further and turn those same pair of jeans into a rug, a blanket, pot holders or so much more. Repurposing your old clothes is a great way to start a new trend at a low cost.

Go unplugged

Burning fossil fuels produces electricity, but can also produce large amounts of carbon dioxide which contributes to climate change. “Standby power” is the energy an appliance absorbs when it’s plugged in but not in use. That means your lights, chargers, laptops, TVs and any other electronic connected to power is still using electricity even when it’s turned off. You can make your home sustainable by unplugging cords from outlets when you aren’t using them. 

To learn more about American University’s sustainable living initiatives visit the Office of Sustainability in Spring Valley or visit their website 

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