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OPINIONS: A Girl’s Guide to Going Green

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Aluminum cans clutter the UA Mall Friday as part of the UA's Recycle Mania program. Students in residence halls compete against each other in a campus contest to decrease the amount of recyclables that end up in the trash.

Girl’s Guide to Getting Your Sustainable Shit Together

(Just kidding)

A Girl’s Guide to Going Green

I was once like you are now, young and unafraid, untouched by the harsh cruelty of the waste I produce each day. Despite my abhorrence for numbers, the most boring of all shapes, a statistic brought me to the light. 

Multiple studies have concluded the average American college student produces about 640 pounds of solid waste in one year. For context, that is slightly more weight than a vending machine.

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At the University of Arizona alone, there are about 45,000 vending machines filled with garbage on campus (no offense, but only if you get it together). 

Using that statistic, the total waste produced by UA each year comes out to around 29 million pounds. I know you just glanced over that number, go back and read it one more time. Riddle me this, Batman, as of 2018 there were a total of 4,298 Universities in the United States. Imagine how many vending machines there are filled with trash.

Unlucky for citizens of Earth, the time for “what if” is over. It is time to change. 

Right now, you are thinking one of two things.

1) Wow, she’s awesome! (Thanks, I know) Tell me more about how I can help. 

2) This sounds like too much work.

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Well, bucko, that’s just because things haven’t really hit the fan, so to speak. But honey, we got a big storm coming, so put on your big-kid pants and read this list of easy ways to be sustainable as a college student.

1. Plastic Bags

Chief called, he says this ain’t it. We all know the deal with plastic bags, yet they are still used in multiple stores around campus. Instead of taking a bag for your newly purchased items, place the items in your backpack, after checking out, of course. Don’t be sus. We are trying to start a movement here. 

Alternate uses for plastic bags include trash liners, which happen to perfectly fit the UA-issued trash and recycling bins in the dorms. They also make a sweet-looking shower cap. 

2. Cool down! Wash your clothes with cold water. It saves energy and is better for most fabrics. Your clothes will last longer, and so will the Earth!

3. Clothing swaps are an amazing way to save money and be sustainable.

The fashion industry is one of the top-three water-wasting industries in China alone, discharging over 2.5 billion tons of wastewater each year. China is just one country. I am not going to waste my time doing math for the rest (get it?). At this point, the numbers are too big to look at anyways. 

4. BAMboo toothbrush. The puns just keep rollin’ in, folks. I’m not gonna apologize either. I know you like it. Plastic toothbrushes take 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill. Bamboo, baby, it’s the future. 

5. STRAWS — GASP! You know this one too, but it’s still important! Skip the lid and straw altogether, and take a walk on the wild side, you little trendsetter, you. 

6. MAKEUP (wipes) BE GONE

Cleansing face wipes contain huge amounts of chemicals that help you maintain the fun and fresh feel, woo! No, don’t woo. Wet wipe products have become the fastest growing cause of beach pollution. Buy a cream cleanser, boo. They are gentle on the skin and only require any rag/cleaning sponge your heart desires. 

7. Recycle, DUH.

We know the classic slogan, but there’s a method to the madness. Paper and cardboard should be recycled separate from food scraps and glass, metal and plastic. Fear not: There are two recycling bins in each dorm. One can be used for paper and cardboard, the other for the rest. 

8. TupperWHERE? Right here!

This one goes out to all my Greek Life students. Instead of using to-go boxes provided by house chefs, bring Tupperware instead. On weekends or days without meals, take an extra serving the night before and save some food, energy and a walk to the union on a lazy Sunday. 

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, we all stand on the same ground. This planet is not ours to keep, this ship will sail on without us (@ the dinosaurs). In order for mankind and countless other living beings to continue living, we must look past our personal biases and take care of our home. 

Peace out. 


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