Living green is a personal choice. Below is a list of ideas that will greatly benefit our environment, however, it’s up to you to implement them in your life.
Reduce, reduce, reduce. Simply avoiding buying more new things is good for the environment and your wallet. It can also bring peace of mind as you are not being weighed down by so much STUFF.
- Keep track of your purchasing patterns. What do you buy? How often? What would be an easy enough area to begin reducing excessive purchases?
- For an entire day before purchasing anything, ask yourself: do I really need this? Getting into this habit will help curb your unnecessary purchases.
- Use a carbon footprint calculator to know where to focus your reduction efforts in your daily routine.
- For every single-use item you find in your daily routine, such as a disposable coffee cup, find a reusable replacement.
- Share or trade reusable items with friends. Sharing is caring.
Caterpillars aren't the only things that can go through a miraculous transformation. Think outside the box for nifty ways to reuse old, unwanted items. Obtain the help of a crafty friend for more complex projects.
- Choose durable, long-lasting or used items when you shop. Many used items are just as high quality (if not higher) than many cheaply made single-use products, and buying durable new products will save you money in the long run.
- Don't let seemingly single-use items, like to-go containers or Ziploc bags, go to waste! Wash and keep them to be reused many times over.
- Repurpose or repair old items, including clothes and furniture. You can search Pinterest for cool upcycling and/or repurposing ideas.
What do light bulbs, mattresses and car batteries all have in common? They, along with many other everyday items, can be recycled! If you can't reduce or reuse something, chances are that you can recycle it in Tucson.
- Recycle common items (i.e., paper, plastic, metal) at home or on-campus; for less common items, check out where you can recycle them throughout Tucson at Tucson Clean and Beautiful's Recycling Directory
- Notice the items you cannot recycle and remember this when shopping. Is there a different product you can buy that has reusable packaging? Or no packaging at all? Farmer's markets are a great place to buy products that are minimally packaged or that you can bring your own container for.
- Sign up with TerraCycling©
- If your workplace does not have recycling, bring it to the attention of your boss. Many businesses have recycling initiatives offered in their waste contracts, but don't know it. If that does not apply to your company, it is still useful to bring awareness to the issue of recycling. The lack of recycling may not necessarily be due to apathy, but the company's unawareness that recycling implementation is something its employees care about.
Sometimes it's hard to find another use for an item. It can also be a hassle to keep something that you just don't want, such as that lumpy sweater your Aunt Rowena knitted for you in eighth grade. Items like this can always be donated to a local charity or traded in at a secondhand store. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
Donate to any of the charities around town, including:
- Casa de los Niños (1302 E. Prince Road)
- Goodwill Industries of Southern Arizona (300 N. Fourth Avenue)
- Big Brothers, Big Sisters (290 W. Fort Lowell Road)
- Deseret Industries (605 E. Grant Road)
Or sell your used clothing and appliances at places such as:
- Bookman's Entertainment Exchange (1930 E. Grant Road)
- Bookman's Sports Exchange (3330 E. Speedway Boulevard)
- Buffalo Exchange (2001 E. Speedway Boulevard)
- Tucson's Free & For Sale Facebook page
From whence the banana peel came, so shall it return... with your help! Composting your plant-based foods (no meat, dairy or fats, please) works to return nutrients to the soil and provide an organic alternative to chemical fertilizers for growers. It also helps to ease high levels of methane emissions from food waste in our landfills.
- Utilize an enclosed container with a tight lid to collect food scraps (i.e. banana peel, potato skins, rotten avocado, etc.). This compost can then be dropped off at multiple locations, both on and off campus; such as:
- If you live off campus, you can start your own composting operation in your yard (if you have a landlord, check in with them first to make sure it's ok)
- Off campus livers can also sign up with Scraps on Scraps for biweekly pick-ups
- If you work in a restaurant, or are helping with any large on or off-campus event with food, ask them about signing up for commercial composting with the City of Tucson and the UA Compost Cats
- OVERALL try to reduce the amount of excess food that you buy and end up throwing away!!