Earth Day: 5 Simple/Cheap Ways to Become More Sustainable

With Earth Day just around the corner, many people are working to make their week more sustainable. But many times, these practices are either quite expensive or take a good amount of work and time, causing people to look in the other direction when asked to be more environmentally friendly. This is a short list of simple and/or cheaper ways to help you become more sustainable.

1. Bring Your Own Cup

Did you know you can bring your own cup to fast food restaurants such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts? If your cup is clean and you’re in the US or Canada, workers can fill up your mug/cup with your preferred beverage. Not only are you being kinder to the environment—but you also save money. Starbucks actually gives a 10¢ discount and 25 Stars to Starbucks Rewards Members. Next time you go somewhere for a drink, remember to ask whether or not they have a reusable cup policy so that when you come again, you’ll be prepared.

2. School Supplies

At the end of the year, many people have folders, binders, and leftover notebook paper in their notebooks. Instead of throwing out your items, keep them to be able to use them for next year.

    • Plastic folders are quite reusable, so there’s no need to throw them out at the end of the year. Paper folders are less durable, but they can be recycled and are cheaper than plastic ones.
    • Same thing for binders–you can reuse them many times if they are durable. But if they become worn out, you can still recycle them by following these steps
    • For used notebooks, if you have leftover paper, tear those sheets out and put them in a box to use as scrap paper or as filler paper for your binders. If you don’t want to keep them, simply recycle them or donate them to a teacher. (Try not to avoid the second option as all that paper could still be used if not by you.)

3. Eco-Bricking

Eco-Bricking is a simple practice that can become a habit. Avoiding plastic is quite difficult. So, instead of sending them to landfills, you could start eco-bricking. This is when you stuff clean and dried plastic into a plastic bottle. When you fill it up to the top, you can use it to barter, as they can be used for construction. Learn how to make them here.

4. Know Recycling

There are specific methods to recycle certain things. If you’re recycling something that you wouldn’t normally put in the recycling bin (such as a binder) make sure to find out how exactly to recycle it properly before simply putting it in the recycling bin. Some items even require at least a rinse and to be dried before getting thrown out. Other items need to be thrown away in a specific spot. In Cary and Apex, we have Waste Wizard to help us find out where to throw out certain things. Use them next time you need to dispose of something unusual.

5. Recycle Your Contacts

Not many people know this, but you can actually recycle your contacts. No–this doesn’t mean that you reuse them. You actually drop them off somewhere so that they can be recycled. Using the site terracycle, you can find where to dispose of them and they should be taken care of.