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So fresh and so green: ways for students to help save Mother Earth

Reducing your comsumption of red meat is any easy way to reduce water waste and pollution. Photo courtesy of Grace Stocksdale.

What weighs 2.2 billion tons and is swimming in the deep blue sea? No, it’s not Baby Beluga. According to the World Count Stats, it’s the estimated amount of human waste dumped in the ocean every year.

Using plastic products, not recycling and pollution is slowly causing drastic effects to the world around us. USF biology student Zac Winters believes that we need to not only halt the effects we have caused on the environment, but we need to reverse its effects as well.

“Scientists know that as our world population continues to grow, so too does the harm we’re inflicting on the earth,” Winters said. “The best thing that we can do is attempt to halt what we are doing by recycling, reusing products, and hope that scientists of today can figure out methods of reversing our anthropogenic climate change.” 

Here are a couple of really easy ways that you can do your part to save Mother Earth.


#1 Stop using straws

10-20-life doesn’t only apply to the Florida law.

Straws take about 10 seconds to make, get used for about 20 minutes and once you toss them, they are forever plastic trash. Straws take 200 years to decompose. To add, because straws are made of a byproduct of petroleum, they cannot be recycled. What can you do? Stop using them. When you go to a bar or restaurant just tell them “no straw please.” According to Cycle Bank, Americans are using 500 million straws per day, so doing this one small thing can make a huge impact.


#2 Stop using plastic water bottles.

Although this is a well-known way to help the environment, we need to understand the magnitude of how harmful these bottles are. Did you know it takes some water bottles up to 1,000 years to decompose? Using a reusable water bottle can help reduce plastic waste. The USFSP campus has multiple water bottle refill stations for you to fill up on water throughout the day. You can also save lots of money by using a reusable water bottle instead of purchasing plastic ones.


#3 Buy local foods

If growing your own food isn’t an option, shop for local produce. Not only is it typically the cheaper option, but it also reduces the amount of energy that is used during transportation. This cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions and reduces your individual carbon footprint. It is also great to support local business owners.




#4 Stop using K-cups

K-cups are not recyclable and used every day in a lot of homes. The inventor of the K-cup even said to The Atlantic that he wished he never made them.

Before you toss your Keurig in the trash, there is a solution. There is a reusable K-cup that you put your own coffee grounds into. It has the convenience of the Keurig without any waste and at a much lower price. Another great substitute is a french press. French presses have zero waste and debatably makes better tasting coffee.


#5 Refuse plastic bags when shopping

Substituting canvas bags when shopping will reduce your plastic bag consumption. This issue plays a big role in wildlife preservation. Animals will mistake bags for food or will end up trapped inside them. Stores such as Aldi and Nordstrom Rack give discounts to people who bring their own bags in efforts to help lower the amount of plastic bags used.


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