Student sustainability: what steps you can take to be more eco-friendly

Izzy Wagener, staff writer

With climate change underway, some may be wondering how they can practice sustainability in their everyday lives. The conversation around sustainability is often filled with solutions that may be unattainable for high school students or low-income Edina residents. “It kind of seems hard sometimes to be sustainable because it doesn’t feel like there’s a lot you can do, but there’s a lot of little things that you can do that help,” Edina High School sophomore Zoe Haise said. With this in mind, here are some ways EHS students can realistically decrease their environmental impact:

Compost and recycle

One simple way everyone at EHS can reduce landfill waste is to sort trash. With nearly every EHS garbage bin accompanied by both recycling and organics bins, you may think that this solution is already realized. However, so much trash is sorted incorrectly at EHS that all bins are often emptied into the trash; minimize this avoidable waste by taking a minute to sort correctly. 

Use reusable

Another lunch-centered way for students to limit their waste is to use reusable containers. However, this shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a recommendation to buy new products. Instead, look through your kitchen for tupperware or containers you already have. If plastic bags are a necessity, consider washing them and reusing them a few times. 

Buy less clothing

According to the United Nations, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of carbon emissions globally. Fast fashion companies, like H&M and Urban Outfitters, also create a culture of wastefulness around style. Have you ever thrown out a shirt because it’s no longer “on trend”? To combat this, think about how often you’re going to wear something before buying it. Avoid shopping sprees and, if possible, clothing that will wear down easily. Consider donating old garments to Goodwill or another nearby organization that takes donations. 

Cut down on online shopping

According to an MIT study, buying online with expedited shipping is less environmentally friendly than going to an actual store. With rushed shipping, companies don’t have enough time to eliminate extra package use or make the most of truck space. Therefore, it’s a good idea to lessen frequent Amazon buys or opt for standard shipping. Go to a nearby physical store when possible. 

Although students can significantly reduce waste in their lives by being more mindful, many do agree that further steps need to be taken to protect the environment. “On a bigger sense we do need transformational change, like we do need corporations and the government to get involved,” sophomore Ana Martinez said. However, reducing your waste by putting some of the above ideas into action can still have a much needed impact.