UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | March 04, 2024

OPINION | Start living a sustainable life

DSU students can try to reduce the amount of plastic pollution in the world by using reusable cotton bags. Photo by Misha Mosiichuk.

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There are numerous things that we all find to be rather important, and to add to that list should be the world that we reside in.

With all of the latest trends and fads that come and go in the interest of society’s eyes, one that should hold a continuous spot at the table is treating our planet with the respect it deserves. Because after all, what’s more important than living a more sustainable life?

It is inevitable we will be unable to fully change the amount of waste being put onto our planet because trying to get every single individual to cut out things they have spent their entire lives using is just about physically impossible.

Perhaps humans are simply wasteful by nature because if the products are available to you in a more easily accessible route, why wouldn’t you automatically default to that option?

According to Better Utah: “Plastic has revolutionized the modern world. It has added convenience and efficiency to our lives and communities. It is a modern staple used by everyone. Plastic remains in huge demand, and it’s not going anywhere. Literally.”

The convenience that countless products offer us, despite the wasteful components they carry, is the soul reason why we keep using them time and time again; however, even though it might make things easier for us in the moment in time, is it really worth the later repercussions?

“Recycling efforts have failed to keep up with the exponential increases in plastic production – which has grown to nearly half a billion tons per year, according to the Center for Biological Diversity,” said Cody Blowers, a writer for Saint George News. “Globally, at least one trillion bags are used each year, and each bag has an average lifespan of roughly 12 minutes – a dismal number considering it can take up to 1,000 years for the thin plastic bag to decompose in a landfill.”

Every piece of plastic created still exists, and we are simply feeding this beast instead of trying to maintain it.

While we cannot go back and fix our past mistakes with all the waste we have created, luckily for all of us, there are endless possibilities offered for us to start living a life that hurts our planet a little bit less.

Probably the most obvious, but hands down one of the best ways to cut out such unnecessary plastic use, would be reusable bags. Plastic bags are such a waste of time and in some states a waste of money. Putting in just a few dollars to buy reusable bags is an easy step you can take in the right direction.

Besides the reusable bag alternative, one of the most simple yet effective tasks you can take upon yourself is looking around in your everyday life to see what you could eliminate or find a much more sustainable alternative to your current everyday items.

I have been trying to do my part for the planet, and in this journey I have come across what I find to be the best starting point when eliminating plastic and unnecessary waste.

Perhaps you could start with something as small as your phone case and replace it with a plastic-free alternative, You could invest in a reusable water bottle to help cut down on one of the biggest everyday plastic wastes, and you could even look into switching out your shampoo and conditioner bottles with plastic-free bars to ensure the reduction of your plastic intake.

Something to keep in mind for my fellow Washington County residents is even here in our little part of Southern Utah we can do our part in the recycling and sustainability process and set an example for future generations to come.

Washington County Solid Waste‘s website states: “We want a sustainable world, and the first step to achieving that is through recycling. We have two key recycling programs established in our county to help achieve that goal: BluCan Curbside Recycling and Binnie Recycling.”

While these little changes to your everyday life might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, the more people begin to make a change, the greater the positive impact we can make.

I challenge all of you to step out of your normal routine. Try something new that won’t just be good for you, but it will help in restoring the damage that we have implicated upon our planet.