Sustainability is a movement that is becoming increasingly popular, and rightfully so. The Earth is our only home and taking care of it should be our top priority. Every effort makes an impact–no matter how small. This article offers a compiled list of top sustainability swaps that Manhattan students/residents can make today that your wallet will love.
- Utilize the Recycling Center
A massive recycling center is located on K-State’s Manhattan campus and is free to students and faculty. Just bring your recycling during the open hours and divide it up by cardboard, plastics and aluminum and glass. It doesn’t take long and is a much better option than throwing recyclable materials away.
- Turn Off and Unplug
Electricity sometimes may feel like an endless resource, but it’s not. Electricity takes a lot of resources to produce, and if you pay for utilities, it can easily rack up the bill. The electronics we have plugged in, even if they are “off” still use small amounts of electricity. Take a minute to walk through your space to see if any appliances can be unplugged or lights turned off. If you have an entertainment center or gaming systems, invest in a power strip so that you can easily unplug the strip when you are finished.
- Shop Second-Hand
. Fast Fashion is the growing market for cheap clothes. In 2014, the United States alone generated 32.44 billion pounds of textile waste from products such as footwear and clothing (Center for EcoTechnology). The next time you want to change up your wardrobe, stop by the local thrift stores or check secondhand options such as Facebook marketplace or Instagram thrifting accounts. You’ll be surprised at the great clothes available at a fraction of the cost.
- Ditch Your Plastic Razor
If you shave any part of your body, you’re probably using a plastic razor. While these can be cheap, they aren’t recyclable and the costs can add up quickly. Invest in a safety razor with replaceable blades. These bad boys can look intimidating but work better than a regular razor. I purchased my safety razor for $30 and a 100 pack of blades for $10. I haven’t had to purchase another razor or new blade for 3 years…. and I still have plenty of blades left for another year or so.
- Switch to Bamboo
Since switching to bamboo toothbrushes, I have vowed to never go back. I purchase bamboo toothbrushes in bulk from Amazon, which usually comes in packs of 4 to 16. These toothbrushes work just as well as a normal toothbrush and the only plastic found is in the bristles. Everything else is completely compostable.
- Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle
This is the oldest sustainability trick in the book, and yet plastic water bottles are in every trash can on campus! Make the switch today and go buy a reusable water bottle and carry it with you EVERYWHERE. By having water readily accessible, you can say no to buying a drink in the drive-through line, resist the urge to buy a disposable water bottle on the go, and you’ll get to avoid drinking from the water fountains (which most are closed because of COVID). Better yet, you’ll probably start to drink more water anyways, which is also a great habit.
- Bars over Bottled Soap
I grew up in a household where my mom bought bars of soap in bulk, and yet she bought the brand that made your skin feel filmy. Once I hit my teen years, I resented them. As I learned more about sustainability I discovered that bars of soap are not created equal. I found that a good bar of soap can last months, andcan be used to wash your hands, face or body (I even use mine to clean my makeup brushes). If you’re interested in trying different kinds, you can often buy one bar of soap for $1 at Walmart or Dollar Tree.
- When in doubt, DIY
This is the best way to help reduce the plastic packaging we consume while saving money. Making items from scratch can be therapeutic, and often doesn’t take much effort. Next time you are looking for a product, stop and ask yourself “can I make this?” and do a search on Pinterest or Google. Since making this change, I’ve started making my own dry shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and occasionally laundry detergent (it’s a bit more time-consuming). The possibilities are endless! Make the change today and help Manhattan be more sustainable so we can love our Earth for years to come