Features

Going Green, One Item at a Time

Save our planet by saving your wallet

Lily Song ASSOCIATE FEATURES EDITOR

Image: The Globe and Mail

Have you ever thought of becoming eco-friendlier but never knew where to begin? Have you ever hesitated making your first steps due to its potential costs?

Going green might be easier than you think and more financially friendly too, if you give it a chance to change your lifestyle, one item at a time.

Here’s my list of some of the short-lived items that can be replaced with a greener twist:

Bottled waters you might buy in bulk or get from the convenience store cost you money every purchase and end up in landfills. Investing in a permanent bottle and filling it up with one of the many water fountains on our campus exempts you from making your daily water purchase. Same goes with getting your daily tea/coffee runs at your favourite coffee shops. Try bringing your personal mug today at places like Starbucks, which will give you a 10-cent discount for not having to use its paper cups all while supporting a good cause. That’s a lot of saved plastic bottles and paper cups that could have piled up in landfills, thanks to your new reusable bottles and mugs.

Similarly, your packaged lunches in a paper bag with a plastic spoon and fork can definitely become greener… and cuter! Your lunch fits very nicely in a magical item originating from Japan called a bento box, a reusable washable boxed plate. The box is smartly divided so you can place different kinds of food without worrying that they’ll get mixed up. Bigger bento boxes come in multiple boxed plates that you can stack on top of each other, so it takes up minimal space in your new lunchbox, replacing your flimsy paper bag with a fashionable bag capable of both heating and cooling. Of course, you can top it off with your steel spoon and fork that last you a lifetime and come with a portable case these days.

This all requires shopping, and speaking of shopping, it is time to put an end to plastic shopping bags. Unless you have a specific reason, you will usually never reuse your plastic shopping bags, and they as a result end up in the landfill. Not to mention, you sometimes pay extra to purchase them at select grocery stores. Instead, get yourself a couple of grocery bags of your choice and use them to carry your products home. You will get to save extra coins every visit (that quickly add up as we all know), and you won’t have to ever worry about your thin plastic bags getting ripped by the sharp edges of your milk carton. Many brands already endorse reusable shopping bags, so you can be sure to find your dream bag with the brand in mind if you so choose.

There is one more thing you can do when you are out shopping, and that is when asking for your receipts. Some places like Starbucks have an option to not print out receipts, so kindly let them know beforehand if you are someone who does not need to get receipts for every purchase. Places like Sephora have a digital copy version as well, so let them know beforehand that you would much prefer a digital copy. This is great if you want your receipt in a non-paper form, and they will immediately send you your receipt via the email address that’s linked with your Sephora points card.

These ideas are my take on some daily items that can stay with you for a long time, instead of the one-time usage products you’re probably using right now. They are easily accessible to purchase from anywhere and are both physically and financially appealing. So what is there to lose? Get ‘em and go green today!