Posted April 19, 2019

Bye bye plastic: How to use less on campus

Between balancing heavy workloads, trying to stack funds, exploring Philly and catching up on The Act every Wednesday (even though it makes us anxious), reducing our plastic usage isn’t always our No. 1 priority. Though it probably should be. Here’s an Earth Day challenge: Go plastic-free on campus! Don’t worry, we have tips for making it happen.

An illustrated Bell Tower with reuse arrows around the top of the tower.

1. Fill, sip, repeat
Yep, we’re talking about using reusable bottles and mugs—the most obvious of all sustainable tips. We know it will be hard to give up lugging those huge, awkward cases of plastic, non-biodegradable water bottles from Fresh Grocer back to your apartment. Though, for Mother Earth (and your wallet) it’s worth a try.  There are filtered water bottle fillers in every building on campus and some coffee shops will even give you a discount if you bring a reusable mug. Radish in Ritter Hall will even give you a free coffee if you bring your own mug. 

Bonus tip: Regarding the fashion in which we sip, avoid plastic straws.  Instead, let’s sip out of our reusable cup sans straw, or bring our own paper/metal straw that you can buy online or at somewhere like Target. 

2. Dine and ditch the styrofoam 
Next time you dine a place with predictably huge American-style portions, which are probs enough for three meals, bring one of those plastics containers we all keep for way too long after ordering takeout. It’s eliminates having to use one of those non-biodegradable styrofoam clamshells. The squeaky sound they make is ear-splitting anyway. 

3.  Be scent-sationally sustainable
Take a note from your granny and whip out a soap bar! Those plastic bottles with very specific locative scents, such as Fiji Nights  and Belize Sunrise, actually build up more germs than bars of soap. And they can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. Flaunt your shower caddy full of your new, eco-friendly soap bars.

4. Fresher at the Grocer
Instead of succumbing to plastic bag usage, you can easily freshen up our look with a reusable tote bag. We know you have one that’s been tucked away in a closet for months, even years. Though, if you forget to bring your back to the store, don’t worry because there’s a plethora of reusable bags to buy right by the check-out aisles. And they’re usually about a dollar. And you can fit a TON in just one bag. 

Pros: saving the planet, donning the most fashionable grocery bag around and being deemed the Fresh Grocer Icon. Cons: None. You will look tote-ally awesome!

5. Print wisely
When you’re last-minute printing your homework at the TECH, be sure to check off the double-sided printing option and cut our sheet usage in half. You can even do that when you’re NOT last-minute printing. And, you caught us, this one isn’t a plastic-based tip, but it’s important and easy to start doing, like, today. 

Learn more about how to go green by checking out Temple's Office of Sustainability

-Nicholas Eiser