Editorial: Small ways of helping the environment


The Iowa State Daily Editorial Board suggests incorporating small changes in your daily life to make a positive impact on the environment.

Editorial Board

We have all been guilty of throwing away items that could be reused in another way, shape or form. This has probably happened countless times, and many of us perhaps didn’t even give it a second thought.

Things like bagging your purchased items in plastic bags every time you buy something from the store, throwing away things around your home because you claim you don’t need it for its intended purpose and throwing away clothes that no longer fit you can be overlooked, and the list goes on.

There are simple solutions to these actions that we are always reminded of and most people should be familiar with. When it comes to bagging any items we may have purchased, consider using a reusable bag. 

For things around the home that we think we no longer will need, a quick DIY Pinterest search will give you multiple ideas to reuse that item. 

For clothes, if you have grown out of them or you simply won’t be wearing an item anymore, then you have the option of donating them to multiple different places or passing them onto another member of the family that can grow into them or may want them.

Many other things are suggested as a way to help our environment. Even if they are considered to be small things, they can still have a big impact if practiced regularly.

When baking, one should consider using a metal pan that you are able to reuse for other baking and cooking purposes. Buying tin after tin each time you plan to bake something can quickly add up. This also includes any other type of cooking that involves using single-use tools.

Instead of using a disposable cup each time you pick up your favorite coffee from a coffee shop, consider getting a reusable cup. Places like Starbucks and many other coffee shops sell reusable mugs under their own brand that you are able to use with when buying your daily dose of caffeine. On top of reusable cups, there are the famously known reusable straws.

Additionally when it comes to reusable items, instead of using plastic spoons and forks each time you go out to eat, consider buying yourself a reusable utensil set that you can easily carry around in your purse or backpack. A reusable utensil set can be found on Amazon at an affordable price of less than eight dollars. One particular eco-friendly set can come with a fork, knife, spoon, chopsticks, straw and cleaning brushes.

Another small way that we can all help the environment is to save meal leftovers. Having leftovers does not mean that you have to eat the same thing multiple times for more than one day. Instead of throwing them away, you can take any extra food and turn it into a completely new dish. A lot of perfectly edible food could be saved from being disposed of if people took some time to get creative with their cooking to create new meals. 

When you go out to eat, if you happen to end up unable to finish the rest of your meal due to the large portions some restaurants tend to serve, take it home with you. Most restaurants offer to-go boxes at the end of the meal for those that would like to take some home with them. Ask for a to-go box to enjoy your meal at another time or carry your own container.

Despite differing opinions on environmental issues, keep in mind that you do not need to completely change your lifestyle to help the environment. In whatever small way you are able to help the environment, it can add up to be impactful.