Easy Ways to Become Eco-Friendly This School Year

Let’s try to take every chance to recycle!
Photo credit: Emma Kingwell

Let’s try to take every chance to recycle! Photo credit: Emma Kingwell

Monica Wheeler, Arts and Culture Section Editor

Let’s try to take every chance to recycle!
Photo credit: Emma Kingwell

In the midst of a climate crisis, it can be easy to feel like our individual efforts to save the planet are fruitless.  While our individual actions can’t substitute government policy, change must begin somewhere, so don’t be a jerk, and start with these easy habits to help the environment.  

  1. RECYCLE. It seems simple enough, yet we trash so many plastics that are capable of going in the blue bin.  
    1. In the cafe: when you pick up a school lunch from our delightful cafeteria staff, you will find that many of the containers are plastic Solo brand cups.  After you eat, rinse out the containers with water (when you get home), and throw them in the recycling!  It is so easy, yet no one does this.  
    2. Ziploc bags: recycle them if they’ve been cleaned, and stop throwing them in the garbage.  (If you aren’t sure which are recyclable and which aren’t, check at recyclect.org)
    3. Drop off your store recyclable plastics at collection centers at any of the town libraries.  This is a great way to recycle certain plastics that you may have normally ignored or trashed because they don’t belong in the regular street collection recycling bins.  West Hartford is running a project with the company, Trex, to create park benches out of these donated plastics.  Just check your items for the “store drop off recycle” label, and start collecting!
  2. Stop wasting food.  According to the NRDC, forty percent of the US food supply is wasted.  This includes the energy, water, fertilizer, and other resources used in transporting, growing, and storing it.  Once food waste reaches a landfill, it releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.  So, instead of throwing out food scraps, try composting them in a home compost bin, or pick-up service so that they can decompose into nutritious plant soil instead of harming our climate.

These are very simple steps that anyone can take to become more environmentally conscious, so please consider trying them!  The rest is what you (hopefully) already know: carpool to save gas, use water carefully, turn off the lights to save electricity, etc.  Happy recycling!