Six Steps Towards Sustainability

Sustainability can be hard, but have no fear: with these six easy steps you will be on your way to achieving your green goals in no time.


Kaylee DeFreitas, Deputy Arts Editor

Many assume that going green also involves spending a lot of money, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Instead of throwing away old glass jars that used to hold salsa, save some money by giving them a new life as mason jars after a quick wash. You can use these old glass jars as drinking glasses, food storage and lunch containers, among many other things.

One way you can use your jars is by bulk shopping at your grocery store or local co-op. Bulk shopping may seem confusing, but it can save money and prevent you from being forced to buy food in plastic packaging. Bulk shopping consists of buying things by weight rather than by package allowing you to decide quantity and price. But first, weigh your jars. By having the weight of each jar written on them you can subtract that weight from the product and prevent yourself from overpaying. Bulk shopping may seem like a hassle, but once you get the hang of it the results will speak for themselves through your reduced plastic consumption and the money you’ve saved. 

Composting may seem like something that is impossible to do in a dorm or small apartment space but it is actually quite simple. As long as you have a plastic bin or even a plastic shopping bag, you are on your way to the beginnings of composting. The basics of composting consist of turning old food scraps into soil. Most fruit and vegetable scraps can be put in your personal bin. A tip to keep your compost from attracting any unwelcome critters or smells is to store it in a freezer. Once your compost container is full, you can bring it to the Union Square Farmers Market where they will continue the process of turning organic matter into soil, which they sell. Side note: they also collect textiles to recycle so if you have an old ripped t-shirt or jeans they will take them and recycle them for you.

It can be tough to keep the air in your stuffy New York city apartment clean, but one way is to make your own cleaning supplies. Many of the big brand cleaning supplies have loads of chemicals, such as Phthalates, that hurt the Earth and stay in the air of your living space. By learning and finding cost-effective ways to make your own cleaning supplies you can keep toxins out of the air and help save your lungs. 

The easiest place to build up plastic is the bathroom. One way to start working toward a plastic-free shower is to use shampoo and conditioning bars instead of bottles, removing the need for plastic containers and offering more washes for your money. A typical bar lasts longer and is usually at least a quarter of the price of a normal-sized shampoo bottle. You can even make your own at home so you are aware of all the ingredients that you are putting in your silky locks.

One easy way to save money and be green this holiday season is to reuse old newspapers, magazines or brown paper bags to use as wrapping paper. This will prevent you from buying wrapping paper which is one of the most wasteful products as its main purpose is to be thrown away.

Email Kaylee DeFreitas at [email protected]