Five steps to a more sustainable life

Senior Maddie Dinowitz works at local Farmers Market

Maddie Dinowitz '19

Senior Maddie Dinowitz works at local Farmers Market

Abbey Alexander '19, Arts & Entertainment Editor

It’s easier than one may think to forget about the planet we live on. Everyday, we pass by green lawns, colorful flowers, and look up at a blue sky. Everything is seemingly fine. But, what we often forget is the tremendous effects humanity has on the Earth. With plastic levels in the ocean at an all time high, extreme weather patterns pointing toward worsening global warming, and air pollution affecting the world more than ever before, it’s becoming more and more important to be kind to our planet, and in turn, be kind to ourselves. While some people are taking the issue extremely seriously by adapting zero-waste and minimalist lifestyles, not every person sees that as practical. Still, there are quick and easy ways to adapt a more sustainable life; one that keeps you and the earth in great shape.


  1. Reusable Water Bottles

This first tip on being more eco-friendly seems like a no brainer. Still, many of us own reusable water bottles and often find ourselves reaching for a disposable bottle just for the convenience aspect. While every once in awhile is fine, constantly throwing away plastic water bottles takes a huge toll on our oceans. Instead, treat yourself to a Hydroflask or any other reusable water bottle and deck it out with stickers for a more personal touch. You can save the planet and have fun while doing it! This will also help keep you hydrated, as you can fill it up throughout the day. Keep an eye out for the water fountains at Xavier, which have a “plastic water bottle counter”, to keep track of how much plastic has been saved by the use of the handy fountains.

  1. Shop at the farmers market

Next time you go a grocery store, take a look at the produce section. Notice how many of the products are wrapped in plastic or held in bulky plastic boxes. Even things like cucumbers and bananas, which naturally come with protective skins, can be found covered in plastic nowadays. This produces mass amounts of waste that can easily be eliminated by just shopping from local farmers instead. Try going to one of the many Phoenix farmers markets, where you can find delicious fresh produce, among other goods. While it is more expensive than shopping at a standard supermarket, many argue the quality of local goods are better, and many prefer the experience of going to the market on a Saturday morning.

  1. Ditch the plastic

If you can’t make it to a farmers market or don’t have the money to spend on local goods, try shopping in bulk. Stores like Winco and even Whole Foods have bulk sections, where you can get necessities like rice, seeds, and beans for cheap. Instead of using the plastic bags they provide you with, come prepared with a couple mason jars and fill them up with whatever you need. It saves plastic and makes your pantry look straight out of Pinterest. Lastly, bring reusable bags to grocery shop rather than using the paper or plastic that they give you at the checkout. Sometimes, stores will even offer you small discounts for this!


While it may seem like these small efforts won’t make a difference, every little bit counts. By making a step toward a more sustainable life, you’re creating a better world for years to come.

  1. Buy reused items

In the past couple years, there’s been a large trend around thrifting. Many people have turned to thrift stores like Goodwill for cheaper and unique clothing items. But did you know that by doing this, you’re not only saving money, but also saving the planet? A well kept secret about the fashion industry is that many of the “fast fashion” stores we buy cheap and fun clothes from (Forever 21, H&M, etc), are doing awful things for the planet. Many of the resources used to make these clothes end up in landfills, which, of course, takes a toll on the environment. Instead, buy your clothes used, or look for brands that pride themselves in ethically and sustainably made clothing.

  1. Purge your goods


Going along with the theme of shopping, think about how many of the clothes in your closet or items in your room you actually use or have a purpose for anymore. Chances are, you’re hanging on to quite a few things that do nothing more than take up space. Take a minimalist approach and gather up all the items you don’t need. From here you have quite a few options, but throwing them away is not one of them. In fact, even donating your items to a store like Goodwill can be counter productive. Many of the clothes donated to thrift stores that isn’t sold gets put in a landfill as well, believe it or not. Check with your local thrift store and ask what they do with the clothes they don’t sell before you donate. Another option is to donate to friends or hold a garage sale. This way you know exactly where the items are going, and can make a fun experience out of it as well. In the end, you free up space and, if you do it right, can help save the planet one item at a time.

While it may seem like these small efforts won’t make a difference, every little bit counts. By making a step toward a more sustainable life, you’re creating a better world for years to come.