Change Starting With Me


I have been through a lot of change recently and upon so I forgot to take a minute and think about what I can do too change my lifestyle to better the environment. So on the first of October I was asked to think about one thing I would change about my life to live more plastic free. I ignored this question for a few day because It was a particularly hard question to answer. Also because I didn’t know I was supposed to answer this question until today. We all make mistakes we have busy lives and recently I have been so engrossed in my work that I forget to take a minute to think about my impact on the environment. To start off I began thinking about my daily activities that I would like to change in my life. On thing I would like to change is the amount of times I go out to eat me and my partner like to try new foods and by doing this we produce a lot of waste and costing a lot of money. Although the dinning halls are not pleasant I need be using them more often they have biodegradable products and are free.

GMO free food container

“GMO free food container” by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Living in a city such as Charleston it is often hard to cut down on waste but there are places that have plastics that are better for the environment. For example I work at a restaurant that have biodegradable packages but behind closed doors we clump the trash and recycling together when throwing it away which doesn’t allow the biodegradable packages to decompose the way they are supposed to. When I take out the trash I make sure to keep the bags separate so that everything is disposed of properly. We are probably one of few that do this when throwing away products. So why do I still decide to spend my money at places where they use products that are not good for the environment? The more I think about it the more I realize I was not thinking about how the packaging would impact the environment but more focused on the food rather than the impact and knowing so know I am encouraged to change. There are many things that have just become habit and buying foods that come in packaging that isn’t biodegradable and tossing the waste without thinking.

Pollution (plastic bag)

“Pollution (plastic bag)” by garrettc is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

In my efforts to change by choosing with my wallet and giving my money to places that have biodegradable options and not spending my money at places that don’t. I also find it hard biodegradable alternatives while shopping recently I went to the store to get more trash bags and now sitting here writing I realize I didn’t have to spend my money I could have used the paper bags we have in our dorm as trash bags for specific trash. But for trash that could easily tear paper and are wet plastic is the only bag that can do the job but by doing this small effort of using less means I wont have to buy as many plastic trash bags. A few items I feel like I can replace such as paper towels by using rags instead. By buying paper towels you also buy plastic it comes in and when using a rag yes it uses water but in all it is less harmful than paper towels.  Another thing I wont be buy anymore are is plastic silverware and plates and or Tupperware from now on I will be using glass wear what keeps food better.

Something Must Change

We all just went through a major change in our life – possibly one of the most influential changes we will go through. Moving to college. This was a complete lifestyle change, new friends new surroundings new classes, it all can get really overwhelming sometimes. However, we have been here for a few weeks and are beginning to create a schedule and daily routine, which has made this whole change feel a bit better and normal. Now that I am in a routine, I feel that its time to make some smaller changes, to make our earth a bit happier

One World signage

After having discussed what changes I could make, I stopped throwing away our plastic silverware, now it gets washed. The only tough part of that is sometimes I forget, or catch my roommates throwing it away. However we just started to treat our plastic silverware as normal silverware, there’s no need to throw it away unless it cant be washed. Secondly, I have started using my metal hydro flask for most drinks and stopped buying plastic water bottles out of convenience (also have saved myself some money:)) Something else I changed was I bought a makeup eraser, rather than using the disposable makeup wipes, you just rinse it out after every use and throw it in the washing machine once a week. Something else I have been wanting to try is the shampoo and conditioner bars, rather than bottles of shampoo and conditioner. hair body bar boxes

They save a lot of plastic and the packaging is biodegradable. However, I have yet to buy them. I did move from a bottle of body wash to just a bar of dove soap, which does the same job and just reduces your plastic footprint! Something else I think would be good is metal reusable Keurig cups. My roommates and I throw away at least 4 cups a day, I think we bought our own coffee blends and got reusable products, we would change that number down to 0 cups thrown away. I honestly have been finding my small changes to be better, I have to go out less to buy these unnecessary plastic products that will just end up in the landfill, hurting our planet.

Some challenges I have faced are keeping up with my new changes and making sure that I can follow through with everything I promised myself. Another challenge is trying to help my roommates out and having them try to stick with what I am doing, which works for the most part because these are changes that don’t have to be difficult!



Clean Consumption, Clean World

Individual efforts in reducing plastic waste are essential in trying to reduce pollution, slow climate change, and protect the environment. If each one of us starts making small changes in our lifestyle, we will all see a huge change in the amount of trash that we produce. It can be a little discouraging when we can’t see how our actions are impacting the environment, however, we need to remind ourselves that our actions are indeed changing the world for the better.

Before this class, I already started making small strides to reduce my plastic use and consumption. I use a reusable water bottle, avoid using plastic straws, and bring reusable bags to the grocery store. These small changes are important, however, there are many things that would be very difficult to replace with more eco-friendly alternatives. For example, I can’t replace my retainer, credit cards, shoes, and bedding. When reading Beth Terry’s ideas on how to decrease plastic use, I realized that going to the farmer’s market would be a great option for me to try out a new way to reduce plastic. After finishing my container of strawberries last Saturday I decided to go to the farmers market to purchase my fruit. At the market, I picked up strawberries, and instead of them coming in a plastic container, they came in a completely compostable one! Luckily, I take part in the composting program in my dorm so once I am finished with the container I can throw it away in the compost bin. Taking actions like the strawberry container, though small, can feel very rewarding. 

As I continued to develop my list of things to change in my lifestyle and shampoo and conditioner came to mind. I go through about a bottle of each every month due to my long thick hair so replacing the plastic bottles with an eco-friendly alternative would be a huge change for me. I did some research and found a company called Davines which has a shampoo bar catered towards people with thicker hair. This company also uses clean ingredients and is a huge climate activist and does its best to offset carbon emissions which is an added bonus. This product would be perfect to reduce waste and keep my hair healthy. Shampoo and conditioner bars have been increasing in popularity so I hope this product starts to catch on and more people start using them. The only drawback with the Davines shampoo is the price of the bar. Sadly, one bar is $35 which is a huge change from my $10 shampoo. Unfortunately, I was not able to make this switch from my current products to Davines due to time and money constraints. I will definitely continue to do research and try my best to adapt to a cheap, plastic-free lifestyle.

I do think we all should be searching for eco-friendly alternatives however it ultimately comes down to being a conscious consumer. It’s very important that we eliminate the careless, throw-away, single-use mindset. Then, with the combination of getting rid of single plastics with more eco-friendly alternatives, we will start to see a lot of change!

Step By Step

Changing your lifestyle is not as easy as it might seem. I never really thought about how difficult it actually is cutting out plastic until recently. If you asked me 2 months ago to think about the plastic items I used daily I could only think about a couple things. It wasn’t until I created a list on how much I use in a day. Since making that list I have started cutting it down item by item. But there’s only so much I can do. It is fairly easy to stop using plastic water bottles and bags but when it comes to makeup, food, and grocery items it can be difficult. Everyday I wake up use the same hair, face, and cleaning products that are all made of plastic. It feels like you can’t ever escape!

After filling out Beth Terrys checklists I was shocked with how many items could be replaced. Things I had never even thought about before. Starting last week after I filled this out I ordered new laundry detergent and ordered bar soap. It isn’t a big impact but I needed to start small changes before I started making big ones. I also stopped using plastic bags at grocery stores and started bringing my own. This not only helps our environment but it encourages and helps me live a healthier lifestyle. 

There are quite a few plastic items that are almost impossible to live without. Items such as  cards, for example my credit card and driver’s license. These are things you never think about but they are used almost everyday. Nowadays we have apple pay but it still is not everywhere. Another plastic item that I could not live without is my phone and computer. I mean I couldn’t even be writing this right now! Although people may be able to live without these items I surely can’t as I use them every day. Lastly, a plastic thing I can’t replace is my car. I use my car as my main source of transportation. Being at college I haven’t had my car but even just ubers still count. 

Change is certainly hard especially when I’m already experiencing many changes transitioning to college. After being in this class I am very motivated to decrease my plastic consumption to better the environment. Even though I have started small I am going to gradually make steps to make my plastic consumption less and less. I advise you to do the same and start making small changes that will help the future!


The Price of Change is not Pocket Change


I am a very habitual person so change is not something I look lightly upon. However, when it comes to plastic pollution, its clear something needs to change. Each year, the average American produces 250 lbs of plastic waste (NPR, 2019) and they’re 329.5 million people in America. That’s around eighty-two billion pounds of plastic waste every year. But, even if I used absolutely zero plastic for a whole year, there would still be eighty-two billion pounds of plastic waste. 250 pounds is an insignificant amount of waste compared to the total. Looking at the plastic problem from this lens can be discouraging. However, I find it more motivational to look at the issue from a personal perspective. How might using less plastic enrich my own life? How much would this change cost?

Given how ingratiated plastic is in our consumer economy, I figured I should start there. Consuming. Using Beth Terry’s checklist for Grocery Shopping, I recorded what plastic products I bought and then looked for less plastic alternatives. The table below shows the results.

Type of Grocery Item Brand I Buy Now Less Plastic Alternative
Peanut Butter Harris Teeter Crunchy Peanut butter Buy Smucker’s Natural
Ground Beef Harris Teeter Rancher Beef use less
Cheese Harris Teeter Mexican Blend This brand uses the least plastic
Yeast Fleishmann’s Buy the glass jar instead of individual plastic bags
Sugar Dixie buy the paper bag packaging
Milk DailyPure Buy Harris Teeter milk
Flour King Aurthur buy paper bag packaging
Tortillas OldElPaso make my own

Many of the grocery products I buy have less plastic alternatives. The only product I could not find an alternative for was beef. All beef was packaged in plastic and any alternative such as ground turkey or chicken was also packaged in plastic. Using less was the best option to reduce plastic waste. For peanut butter, I bought the Smucker’s natural brand that was packaged in a glass jar  instead of the brand packaged in a plastic container. It tasted much better than the brand I was buying before and it was only 35 cents more. For the yeast packets I used for baking bread, I bought a glass jar full of it and it has saved a few trips to Harris Teeter for yeast. The jar also cost a dollar less than buying the individual packets. For tortillas, I decided to try and make my own to avoid throwing away the packaging. I had mixed results, and ended up buying the processed ones again instead of trying to perfect my homemade ones. Making homemade tortillas would save me a few cents but I have yet to make a good batch of them.

Based on the results, the price of changing to sustainable products seems to be mere pocket change. The peanut butter was only 35 cents, I saved a dollar on the yeasts, and I could save a few more cents by making homemade tortillas. However, for products like beef, the only less plastic alternative was to consume less. On a personal level, these changes don’t cost much, but if we revisit that discouraging societal lens I mentioned in the beginning, how much would consuming less beef cost? A beef manufacturer isn’t going to feel the loss of my $4.99 purchase of beef, but what if millions of people suddenly stopped consuming beef? The manufacturer would lose millions of dollars in revenue and most likely downsize their operation, furlough workers, and maybe even go out of business. We saw what happened to the airline industry during COVID when no one was flying. Consuming less may seem insignificant on a personal level but it can have a severe impact if enough people stop buying products in our consumer economy.

Purchasing Plastic Alternatives


In order for Americans to live a plastic-free lifestyle, they would have to reconstruct multiple aspects of their economy.  Businesses have relied on plastics for storing, transporting, and protecting their products for decades. Plastics are such a huge part of our lives, it seems almost impossible to live a plastic-free lifestyle. Instead of living a completely plastic-free lifestyle, we can start by using plastic-free alternatives here and there and become more conscious altogether. Becoming more aware of the issues surrounding sustainability is the first step in revolutionizing the future.  I don’t think there are many people who purposefully pollute the world, but there are many people who are uneducated about the implications of single-use plastic. By spreading the world and encouraging plastic alternatives, Americans may begin to open their eyes to the issue at hand.

Plastic Bottles, Bottles, Recycling

After reflecting on how much plastic I use as a consumer, I realized that there are several things that could be altered. Personal care items such as shampoo and conditioner could be replaced with bars of soap, which do not use plastic. Toothbrushes can be made of bamboo, rather than plastic as well. Toothpaste has even been converted into solid tabs in glass jars by several companies, which reduces plastic in the long run. Women’s sanitary products are a huge problem regarding sing-use plastics, because they contain several different kinds of plastic within one single product. Tampons have plastic packaging and wrappers, while sanitary pads are also surrounded by endless plastic. There are alternatives such as multi-use menstrual cups by Fair Square and OrganiCup, with many more developing brands and alternatives to single use products.

One plastic item that would be very difficult to replace is medicinal pill bottles. There are millions of orange pill bottles that become distributed throughout the world every year. They are given out by pharmacies, which are highly regulated, so I do not think it would be possible to find an alternative. Pill bottles are made of polypropylene which is recyclable, but difficult to do due to the size of the product. There are several different programs that recycle orange pill bottles, but it would be difficult to get rid of altogether.

I attempted to replace my shampoo and conditioner bottles with bar soap. I have previously used the product Ethique, which is a solid bar of shampoo and conditioner. I liked using that before, so I purchased the same one again and I was not disappointed. It is exactly the same as using liquid shampoo and conditioner from a plastic bottle, without the plastic left behind afterwards. This product arrived in a cardboard box with no plastic on it, which categorizes it as a plastic-free alternative. I was happy with the outcome of this mini experiment, and I am willing to try the toothpaste tabs as an alternative in the future.

Plastic Alternatives

Considering most people live busy lives, it can be hard to avoid plastic especially because it can make life more convenient. Plastic and pollution are definitely not on many people’s minds, even mine, but as humans, we tend to consume tons of products not really knowing what they are made of. We tend to buy things that we want just to keep up with trends and don’t realize the impact it can have on earth and even on us. What really matters is whether someone would change if given the chance and resources to do so. I want to believe that most people would definitely try.  I am willing to take the necessary small steps to become less plastic-dependent on Earth since I have the capabilities to do so. Especially learning about it in depth through my college in a class called Swimming in plastic soup, I think it is important to try and take the steps and try to live a plastic-free life to the best of my ability.

 I cannot deny that I use plastic products. But there are some things I do already, to help be more sustainable for the environment. I use

a water bRecycle, Eco-Friendly, Recyclable, Sustainabilityottle like a thermos flask instead of using plastic water bottles. I also use my own bags or just carry the stuff without a bag when I go to the store. I also have just recently bought cloth masks that I can reuse and wash instead of buying disposable masks. It’s not much and the amount of plastic items I use definitely doesn’t compare but I like to believe that starting somewhere is better than not doing anything at all. I am willing to make as many changes as I can. I think by starting off, I can make little changes by informing others about plastic and what they can do to limit how much plastic is used, like convincing others to buy a water bottle and refill it, instead of buying the plastic bottles or going to farmers markets and bringing your own reusable bags or even buying bar soaps instead of plastic bottle shampoo bottles. The List can go on. Informing other people can also help me start to change my lifestyle and what plastic alternatives I can use. Starting off slow is a great way to a bigger and brighter future in sustaining the earth and making it a safer place for not only humans but for the environment itself.


I have come up with a list of items for my class and even added more to that list of items that I am willing to change for a less plastic alternative. Most items that I use are personal care items. Some that I am willing to change are my Deodorant, hair masks, and even my toothbrush.  I use the brand Degree for my deodorant which has extreme plastic packaging. I heard that LushJason And The Argan Oil, which is a handmade cosmetics store, sells deodorant, hair masks, even shampoo and conditioner soap blocks that are not wrapped in plastic packaging. It will be easy for me to switch to using products like this because I have used their products before for a decent amount of time. I would also use hair masks there as well but I feel like instead of buying more products and spending more money I could try to make my own hair masks with many ingredients and put them in glass containers for multiple uses.       

For my toothbrush, I use the brand Colgate which is made out of plastic.  I heard of a brand called Bite which not only has toothbrushes that are 100% plant-based but all of their products are not made oundefinedf plastic. This includes deodorant and toothpaste capsules instead of the plastic packaged ones. I also use a lot of other items that are made of plastic packaging, specifically food items.  I feel like one of the hardest things to get rid of is the plastic packaged meals that I keep in my dorm room. It can be very difficult to try and live a plastic-free lifestyle at college because as a college student who is struggling financially and doesn’t have access to a car, it can be challenging in many ways to access certain materials like fresh food items which can be more expensive. Also living in a dorm I have very limited space in the mini-fridge they provide us especially living with 3 other girls there really isn’t that much space. Having packaged food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated is very convenient for me.


I can be very scared of change. Being new to college and still getting the hang of things, more change can be very intimidating. However being in this class has made it an intention to try and live a plastic-free lifestyle, not only for myself but for everyone around me. The advice would give is definitely should try to find multiple plastic alternatives and help out your environment. It doesn’t hurt to try!Earth, Smiley, Space, Clouds, Sun, Moon, Planet, Smile



Credits for images:

Bite toothbrush:

Bamboo Toothbrush by Bite – All Natural + Sustainable. Zero waste.

Lush Bar soap: Jason And The Argan Oil | Shampoo Bars

Can find both of these on their website ^^

One Small Step At Time

Plastic is used almost everywhere, making it harder to live completely plastic free. However, there are always ways to limit the amount of plastic one uses in their everyday life. I would change what I buy while grocery shopping as well as how to store and bag things. These changes would encourage sustainability because if I start doing it, others would see and be influenced to do it as well, for example my family.

Just my actions alone are not enough to make the world a better place, but as long as I keep doing it, I would be able to convince other to follow suit. It might not immediately make the world a better place, but it would make mine better. An explanation on how my world would get better is that I would feel better and healthier using things that are non-plastic because plastic can be toxic at times and can be in things you least expect. Although it may be pricer to live plastic-free, it is a healthier and fresh lifestyle.

The first thing I substituted is my shampoo and conditioner, which many others did as well, it makes sense though because it is the easiest to replace. I replaced it with the Lush shampoo bar called Avocado, since it is for my hair type. It is the most expensive option that they have available, but it comes plastic-free and I am able to wash my hair more times then with a regular shampoo and conditioner bottle.

Another thing I can replace is the snacks and sweets, like potato chips and chocolate. Instead of buying that stuff in plastic, I have been making it myself and it has been very delicious so far because I can make it how I like it. I have also substituted the plastic bags in grocery store for vegetables with fabric bags, making it easier to carry around because I put everything in one bag. This allows me to not have to carry multiple bags around which one the end I would throw away.

I have changed many small things so far in order to avoid plastic, but there are challenges. For example instead of getting meat in all the plastic, I tried to get it from a butcher, but every time I went they would be closed since I would not be home in the mornings to get it and would have to wait till late afternoon, when all of them closed. I also wasn’t able to find non-plastic IPad cases or phone cases without them being extremely expensive.

There are a lot of substitutes for plastic, but prices makes it hard to actually accomplish being plastic free as many people, like myself, are not able to afford it. I will be sticking with most of the changes I have do except for the snacks one even though I will be trying to stick with it as much as I can. Sometimes I am not able to cook a snack up and grab some snacks from the store if I am hungry in between classes, but I will be trying to instead avoid getting snacks with plastic and getting fruits.

Advice that I have for others is to take it one step at a time. Slowly replace plastic for non-plastic in order to not overwhelm yourself and empty your pockets, because it can be expensive to become plastic free. You will not be judged for taking your time because you are trying to make a change in the world and are trying to make the world a better place for everyone, which is all anyone can ask for. So go ahead and take that first step, you will be seen as a hero by everyone and future generations.

Starting Small

Living sustainably. Such a simple way to live, yet would require countless changes in a lifestyle like mine. Most people in the modern day don’t typically think twice about what their food, hygiene products, makeup, etc. comes packaged in. Majority of it is plastic. Not only is it plastic, but all of those things we use for a short amount of time and then straight to the trash it goes. These are some of the simple things that I want to slowly but surely decrease from my lifestyle.

In my last blog post, I talked a lot about the importance of change, but now it’s time to really take action. Incorporating small changes into my life over a long period of time can make a serious difference. So let’s start small. I started thinking about the different areas in my life that are like plastic-central. As I went to shower and used shampoo, conditioner, face wash and body wash all kept in plastic containers, I realized how much of my plastic use was from this one small area of my life. So again, let’s start small. I decided then that I would look for substitutes for my body wash, and then if I found that change to be suitable, we would keep going from there. 

A day later and I had done it. I’d taken one small step towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It was such a rewarding feeling that I was actually excited to see what else I could do. I began noticing that the majority of the snack foods I was consuming were packaged in plastic. I want this to be my next goal in this journey because I know how much single-use plastic waste is damaging our environment and I don’t want to be a heavy contributor to that. I plan to try to eat more fresh foods that don’t come prepackaged, which can also contribute to my overall health if I make the right choices. It’s a win win!

Despite wanting to make a change, there are still some plastic items that I don’t think I’ll be giving up anytime soon. Things like shoes, which are a pretty big necessity, tend to be made out of different synthetic materials. I may not be able to get rid of synthetic shoes completely, but I can definitely limit the amount of shoes I’m buying and not buy an abundance. There is a difference in needs and wants and this is definitely one of them. Don’t feel too bad about the things you can’t change, but focus on all of the things you can.


Becoming completely plastic free is a very unrealistic goal, but you can always do as much or as little as you’re comfortable with. Do what works for your lifestyle and adjust as needed. So to sum it all up I’ll say it yet again, it is okay to START SMALL. In this case, any change is good change and anyone is capable of it. This is only the beginning!

Plastic Reflection

“Plastic pollution free world is not a choice, but a commitment to life – a commitment to the next generation.”  Amit Ray was not the first person to iterate this, nor will he be the last one.  We live in a plastic world.  We are constantly touching it, using it, and throwing it away, until the cycle repeats again and again.


After reflecting upon my use in plastic, I realized that this issue is bigger than myself and the world right now.  My use and carelessness carries into the next generation of people not even alive yet, incapable of helping themselves.  I reflect on how the generation before me started the problem, and now it’s in my generations hand to do something to solve the problem, or pass it on once again to the next generation.  As a human, I feel empathy.  I feel that if I can do something so easy to help, such as substituting everyday items with more sustainable items, why would I not.


Plastics that I have realized would be selfish to not substitute for a sustainable product:

The products listed above are the easiest switches in my life that require no sacrifice.  Why would I not change simple things like plastic bottles to a reusable water bottle, where the reusable water bottle would probably keep my water tasting fresher anyways.

These are simple habits that I can break to live a more sustainable lifestyle to protect the Earth for my generation and the generations to come.

There are still non-sustainable items in my life that I am not willing to replace.  This includes tampons, makeup in plastic packaging, and tennis racket grips.

For one, as a girl, I get periods.  I know there are more sustainable methods such as the diva cup, but when dealing with something unfavorable, I would rather just use tampons at my own convenience. Tampons, pads, and panty liners create more than 200,000 metric tons of waste annually.  This is a ton of waste, pun intended.

Some advice I have for changing one’s lifestyle to a more sustainable one is to just try it.  It does not hurt to try out a shampoo bar because if it is not your thing, you can always go back to plastic bottled shampoo.  Try to actively bring reusable bags to the grocery, and maybe it will become a habit, such an easy habit.