Celebrating Earth Day | 10 Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Impact

rowan university water bottle on the beach

Today’s story is from Dominique Fiorentino, a junior public relations major from Washington Township, NJ (Gloucester County) who rents a house off-campus with friends.

Living a greener lifestyle is something everyone should aspire to become better at. Reducing your carbon impact, creating less waste, and focusing on sustainability – all of this is much easier than you may think. That is why I am here to provide 10 simple ways to reduce your environmental impact in your everyday lifestyle.

  1. Use a reusable water bottle.

    The cost of the average reusable water bottle is about the same price as three cases of water. Imagine all of the money you save and plastic waste you avoid from this simple change. Rowan provides water bottle refilling stations in each of their buildings to keep your bottle full. You can take the extra step and purchase a water filter for your dorm to ensure you always have clean water!

  2. Find alternative ways of travel.

    Rather than always driving to class, find an alternative! You can soak in the fresh air and get moving by walking or biking to class. Not only are these environmentally friendly alternatives, but they are also good for your own well being. If these aren’t an option, you could take the Rowan Shuttle or carpool with friends! Any of these options allows you to help reduce CO2 emissions and contribute to a cleaner planet.

    Jelani leans against a fence, hands in his pockets, with bikes next to him.

  3. Refuse plastic utensils and straws.

    Single-use plastic utensils take an average of 1,000 years to decompose. That means every plastic fork, knife, straw that has been used in our lifetimes is still polluting the planet. When dining at home, stick to reusable silverware. You can take it a step further by refusing plastic utensils and straws when ordering take out food. This simple switch will go a long way. 

  4. Take shorter showers.

    The average shower head uses about 2 gallons of water per minute. By making a conscious effort to shorten your showers, not only will you be saving water but also energy used to heat the water. 

  5. Shop with reusable bags.

    Don’t contribute to the billions of plastic bags used worldwide each year. Most of these bags end up polluting our waterways and harming sea life. Think of all the waste we could reduce by simply switching to reusable bags every time we shop. If you have difficulty remembering your plastic bags when shopping, try keeping them in your car!

  6. Thrift or borrow clothing.

    Believe it or not, the fashion industry contributes 10% of the global carbon emissions. Rather than buying a new outfit for every occasion, borrow something from a friend or visit your local thrift store. And trust me, your wallet will thank you later!

    Costume shop staff sifts through racks of clothes.

  7. Support companies with sustainable business practices.

    If possible, buy from companies who are certified B corporations. Companies who use renewable energy and recycled products, and strive to reduce their environmental impact.  The more green companies are supported, the more likely other companies will soon follow. 

  8. Turn off and unplug.

    When not in use, unplug and turn off your chargers, fans, lamps, etc. Although these objects may seem like they’re “off”, they are still using plenty of energy. The planet and your wallet will thank you later. 

  9. Limit your meat and dairy.

    It can be difficult to completely cut out animal products. This is why I suggest choosing vegan/ vegetarian options when possible. Items such as almond milk, dairy-free yogurt, vegan snacks, and meat alternatives. If you would like to take it a step further, dedicate your Mondays to Meatless Mondays! This way you can ensure that you are truly making an effort to limit your animal product intake.

    Hannah lays on the ground with colorful fruit and vegetables surrounding her head like a halo.

  10. Educate others about what they can do!

    Spread the word to those around you on how they can do their part! The more of us practicing environmentally friendly habits, the more of a positive impact we will make. 

Although these are just a few minor adjustments in your everyday lifestyle, they can go a long way. Imagine the positive impact we would make if we all made the effort and did our part to help keep our planet clean. Whether you decide to implement just a few or all of these mindful tips is up to you. It is all about being consistent with these habits that will make a difference. 

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