Looking for easy ways to become more environmentally friendly? If you are tired of living a wasteful lifestyle, it’s time for an eco-friendly makeover. Whether it’s swapping plastic coffee cups for reusable mugs or buying thrifted clothes instead of fast fashion, the small changes we make each day will give a helping hand to the planet.

Going green and adopting sustainable habits does not necessarily mean becoming a hard-core vegan or an avid tree hugger, but rather choosing to live with the intention of inflicting less harm upon mother earth. Aside from recycling and ditching plastic, show some love by swapping everyday routines of convenience for a more sustainable impact. Here are some easy tips and ways to help decrease your carbon footprint:

Thrifting is in, fast fashion is out

In a society dominated by fast fashion, it's easy to neglect the harmful process behind clothing manufacturing. Thrifting is a viable solution that will not only help you save money but the earth as well. Ironically, stores such as Urban Outfitters, H&M, Forever 21 and other retailers thrive off of processing mass production for a cheap price, which is in turn making environmental costs extremely high. 

Using second-hand clothing has become an increasingly popular alternative for shopping, making your new sustainable lifestyle all the more trendsetting and affordable. The simple switch from fast fashion to thrifting will not only help you save money and find unique vintage finds, but decrease your carbon footprint and help the environment as well.

Use a reusable coffee mug when buying coffee

Daily coffee runs not only burn a hole in your wallet but ultimately increase your carbon footprint as well. Save the earth one coffee cup at a time by choosing a reusable mug over plastic. Although disposable cups are recyclable, the plastic is never recycled indefinitely and eventually becomes trash. In terms of eco-friendly changes, the switch from single-use coffee cups to reusable is a small but impactful change in terms of helping the environment. 

But what happens when you forget your reusable mug? Don’t fret. Another eco-friendly choice is to ask for a strawless lid that coffee shops such as Starbucks and Court Street Coffee are now offering. By forgoing the single-use cup, you will also find yourself saving money as some coffee shops offer discounts for bringing a reusable mug. 

Invest in a reusable straw

When going green, a good first step to make is investing in a reusable straw. From metal to silicon to bamboo… the options are endless. It’s no secret that plastic straws are wreaking havoc upon the environment with 500 million used every day in America that are polluting oceans and killing marine life and ecosystems. If the trend continues, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. 

Reusable straws are a small but important switch to make when making the well-being of the planet a priority. Luckily, reusable straws can be found priced as low as $3.99, making this swap an affordable way to incorporate eco-friendly and sustainable practices into your everyday life. Next time you find yourself reaching for a straw, forgo the plastic and come prepared with a reusable one. 

Eat less meat

When becoming in tune with the green movement, it can be refreshing to adopt new health practices that will boost your own health and the well-being of the planet at the same time. Eating less meat plays an instrumental role in mitigating climate change issues and environmental destruction. No, you won't have to become an avid tofu eater if you want to save the planet, but a simple decrease will provide impactful change. 

Strain the environment less by having a meatless day out of the week, consuming more plants on a regular basis or simply swapping one meal a day that is vegetarian or vegan. Although there may not be an easy way to curb slow climate change, being conscious of your consumption and adding flexitarian choices into your diet provides an easy way to help cut greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts.

Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle

Needing to freshen up your wardrobe the eco-friendly way? Thankfully, you won't have to go further than your own closet. Upcycling offers the perfect opportunity to reuse old clothes into customized and trendy fashion staples. Grab a pair of scissors and transform an old T-shirt into a halter top, a two-piece set or cut-off, or add some personality to your favorite jean jacket with handmade acrylic paint designs. At the end of the day, you’ll be much more satisfied with something customized to your own style that you didn’t have to buy at a steep cost for your wallet and the planet. 

@maadilewellyn

ml203417@ohio.edu