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How to go green without much green

Updated: Nov 8, 2019

Ways to go green without having a lot of green

By: Anna Dory

There are three main reason college students claim they aren’t more eco-friendly. Let's call them the three B’s: Broke, Busy, oBlivious (I'm reaching on that last one but stick with me). This month on the 22nd, people in communities all across the US will be celebrating earth day by planting trees, making art out of trash, and holding open forums about how to be eco-friendly. But what can we do when we have, like, $4 and no time? We can’t buy a tree. We don’t even own property to plant a tree. Don’t worry! Here are a few ways you can make an impact.

Reduce at home (don’t just save the world but save your savings)

1) Turn off the water while you brush your teeth (if you don’t brush then give yourself a high five! Who needs teeth if the world gets destroyed?)

2) Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Make sure all the lights are out when you leave your house. Make sure that the porch light is off when you go to bed. Turn off the light on your friends and family while they shower. Open all the blinds and let some natural light in; you’ll be surprised by how bright it is. No, no one will be watching you; their blinds are probably closed, and even if they aren’t, they probs don’t care about watching you play on your phone.

3) Unplug any electronics that aren’t currently in use--toasters, speakers, lamps, and that long-abandoned panini maker.

4) Look into those wooden toothbrushes (or switch to your finger yo) Check out not just for more eco-friendly toothbrushes but to get a grip on all the little ways we can change our lifestyle to produce less waste! Be awesome.

5) Bring your own bags to the grocery store; this will reduce plastic waste and consumption😊 Plus, they look way cooler! You can get one with a funny cat on it or something.

6) Look into container-less cleaning and self-care products! Or make your own😊. If you don’t have time to make your own products switch to products that are micro- plastic free. Below are a few suggestions for homemade supplies.


1/2 cup coconut oil

3 tablespoons baking soda

2 teaspoons of stevia powder (optional, for taste)

15-20 drops of peppermint or cinnamon essential oil


3 tablespoons coconut oil

3 tablespoons baking soda

2 tablespoons shea butter (or more coconut oil, or mango butter, or avocado butter, etc.)

Optional: 2 tablespoons arrowroot or 15-20 drops essential oils (lemongrass or lavender)

Surface Cleaner

1-part baking soda and 2 parts vinegar

Bathroom Scrub

¼ baking soda, 1 tablespoon of Castile liquid soap, and add white vinegar until the texture is creamy and smooth

Body scrub

Like Coffee? Don’t throw away those old coffee grounds

Spread then out to dry on a cloth

Store them in an old (clean) tin can or a cute mason jar

Use in the shower as a body exfoliator! (no that’s not gross its cool)

7) Use cloth rags instead of paper towels… save money on paper towels and save nature! Also, no need to buy rags; just cut up old shirts instead of throwing them away😊 This way you are reducing and reusing! Give yo self a high five.

8) Bring a cool travel mug instead of getting a plastic or wax covered paper cup every time you buy coffee. Many coffee shops would be happy to fill your travel mug. I personally just sport a coffee mug. On-the-go coffee mugs are dang cute; just don’t forget them on the roof of your car.

9) For look for reusable filters to replace the paper filter (bonus you save money on filters!)

10) Do you have a Keurig? Get rid of it. But if that’s a no go, then reuse! The second cup will still be strong😊.

11) Make sure your car tires are at the correct pressure; this will help your car burn less energy to get around.

12) Decorate your new pad with retro (second hand) decorations! You never know what you’ll find. Rugs, couches, paintings, those gawdy “life, laugh, love” signs.

Reduce What You Buy

1) Buy staple products in bulk; you will always need more toilet paper, so buy the awkwardly large stash. It reduces packaging waste and plus you won’t have to add toilet paper to the shopping list all the time.

2) Get yo self-one of them cool hydro flasks instead of buying plastic water bottles. Bonus, you look cool and finally have somewhere to put all those stickers.

3) When you go out to eat, which you probably shouldn’t cause you broke, grab just one napkin. Don’t grab 13, just to throw away 12 of them. Or bring your own fancy cloth pocket napkin and feel like a snazzy old English aristocrat while you munch a burger. Also, bring your own Tupperware for to-go food😊. Stop using straws…you don’t need straws…. but what about Boba tea or drinks with lids? Step one: remove lid…if step one doesn’t work, get one of those eco-friendly forever straws😊.

4) Not only are second-hand textbooks cheaper but they are more! Even better, rent your textbook. Books are always better when they have a story.

Recycle Undesirables

5) Sort your trash, and bring your smashed aluminum beer cans or soda water cans straight to the recycling plant. Bring old newspapers, magazines, and junk mail. Look up the Fort Collins recycling plant to see what they can take…you can stop by and drop stuff off yourself!

6) Don't throw away chemicals. Your city has a regular collection. (Next one is on May 18

7) Don't throw away old medications. Police stations will properly dispose of them. So will most Walgreens. List of locations:

8) Don't throw away old electronics. Best Buy recycles them for free.

9) Check out the recycling plant on Timberline in Fort Collins. It's open 7 days a week during daylight hour. It's free. You can learn about recycling and volunteer opportunities, and overall be encouraged that people are working to make a difference. Something new I learned was frozen food boxes can’t be recycled! It contains a plastic-y polyethylene that won’t break down in the liquid that they use to break down other card-boards.

10) Old mismatched socks or undergarments that Goodwill doesn’t want? Bring them to H&M. They send old clothes to recycling textile plants! Don’t believe me? Take a look…

Good luck! Now go outside and hug a tree or remind a flower how beautiful it is.

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