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Passing the Test: How to Go Green at College

Most freshman college students have faced similar difficulties as they headed out the door–deciding what to pack and what to leave, buying the right supplies and textbooks, affording their bills, saying goodbye to friends, telling mom not to worry . . . . Now, in addition to these original obstacles, students need to leap another hurdle. Going green.

If you’re a new college student, or even one with several years under your belt, you’re probably wondering how to be both environmentally conscious and deal with an empty wallet. On a student’s budget, purchasing clothing made from organic clothing and shopping only at health food stores may seem far too expensive and thus impossible. However, many times we all fail to remember that going green isn’t merely keeping up with the trendy, expensive methods of reducing your carbon footprint. And in fact, sometimes the cheap and free ways of staying environmentally conscious can create better results.

Let’s go back to the basics: reduce, reuse, recycle. First, reduce. Buy less. Save yourself money and the environment at the same time. For example, buying another pair of shoes may increase your waste as well as support harmful factories.

Now, reuse. If you need those new shoes, consider a thrift store. You’ll reuse someone else’s waste, create your own unique style, and saving money all at once. Also, refuse both paper and plastic at the grocery store. Choose cloth. And don’t bother with wasting money on a trendy shopping bag. Look in your closet. What unused bags do you have sitting around that you could reuse as grocery bags?

Finally, recycle. One of the current trends is goods made from post-consumer recycled materials. While this practice is certainly profitable it’s also expensive. Keep in mind, no matter how much money you spend on these products, you haven’t shown yourself responsible if you aren’t recycling the products you already use.

In essence, true environmental conservation requires common sense. Implement a little practical application of some basic rules and you can both go green and pay your bills at the same time.

Californians are set to make history this summer when the legislature votes to ban plastic bags across the state. And 100 bag monsters are taking to the streets surrounding San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square on Aug. 12 to make sure everyone is aware of what’s on the line. The monsters will march just two days before the California State Legislature votes on Aug. 14, and they’re calling on other likeminded plastic bag opponents to join them.

The citizen bag monsters – who will each be wearing 500 plastic bags representing the number of plastic bags a typical individual uses in one year – will be led by Andy Keller, an entrepreneur, passionate plastic bag ban supporter and the inventor of the bag monster costumes, which have been spotted at plastic bag ban rallies across the country.

Following the march and press conference that will be held at Ghirardelli Square on Aug. 12, Keller plans to set off on a national journey, invading 15 key cities that are considering implementing bag ban legislation. Clad as the bag monster and riding across country on a 3-wheeled Spyder motorcycle, Keller will host and participate in events in each city, including installation of a sea of 100 bag monster costumes taking up around 1,000 square feet of space.

Beginning at noon on Thursday, August 12, Keller will lead 100 bag monsters in a march beginning at Ghirardelli Square, winding through the Aquatic Park to Fisherman’s Warf and back up Larkin Street to Ghirardelli Square’s West Plaza for a press conference, which will begin at 1pm.

“Our goal during this march and press conference is to further the awareness of the tremendous impact that plastic bags have on the environment,” said Andy Keller. “San Francisco appreciates the importance of banning plastic bags and we are confident that residents will come out to support us while we’re at Ghirardelli Square — an iconic San Francisco landmark that has made significant strides with its green initiatives – on August 12.”

The press conference will involve supporting organizations including Environment California, Heal the Bay, Surfrider, Californians Against Waste, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Save the Bay, Ocean Health and Clean Water Action, as well as Californians who support the issue, and people who are visually intrigued by the sight of 100 bag monsters taking to the streets.

“Californians dispose of 19 billion plastic bags a year,” said Gina Goodhill, Oceans Advocate with Environment California. “And all of those bags don’t dissolve into the air or end up in landfills. Even worse, they land in the ocean, where many become part of the swirling mass of plastic garbage known as the Pacific Garbage patch, which is the size of Texas, a swirling vortex of plastic and other waste that persists in the ocean and in some patches now outweighs the plankton in the water by a ratio of 6:1.”

Keller and 99 other bag monsters hope that Californians – and the country – will take notice and step up to make a difference in their cities, even through actions as simple as using their own reusable bags and opting out of plastic.

Keller’s cross country crusade and Aug. 12 rally can be followed on his blog, www.bagmonster.com.

Simply darling! These stylish and reusable sandwich bags from all about sofi are just too, too cute! The bags arrived wrapped in a pretty organza gift bag, and were handcrafted with love by Sofi’s mom. All of the reusable snack and sandwich bags have been cleverly designed with a special liner that can be wiped clean. It’s easy – just turn the bag inside out and wash with soapy water, or throw the bags into the washing machine using cold water for a deeper clean, and then hang to dry.

Eco-conscious moms will love the fact that they are using less waste and helping the environment by not having to throw away so many plastic baggies! Plus, your little one will love having an adorable sack to carry snacks, treats, and sandwiches inside. all about sofi’s resuable sandwich bags are available in a wide selection of bold, bright and colorful prints – what a great way for parents to distinuguish whose lunch they are packing if they have multiple children!

By packing snacks and sandwiches into reusable bags, you are teaching your child to make a difference in regards to our environment, one tiny eco-friendly step at a time! To see the adorable reusable sandwich bag designs available or to order, please visit all about sofi.

*Company provided samples and images for this review.*

Here’s an eco-friendly and stylish alternative to plastic water bottles so you can save money and save the environment – Earthlust Stainless Steel Water Bottles! Another eco-fabulous find on ReusableBags.com, these 20 oz stainless steel bottles are made of #304 food grade stainless steel so they will NOT rust, tarnish or stain, and come with a carabineer clip so you can attach it to your bag or bike while on the go. The Earthlust bottles feature gorgeous original artwork and come in a variety of designs and 3 sizes (13 oz, 20 oz, and 33 oz). For your next trip, pack one of these bottles rather than a plastic water bottle – remember, it is all about making one tiny earth-friendly choice at a time!

To purchase an Earthlust Stainless Steel Water Bottle, visit ReusableBags.com.

*Company provided samples, images, and information for this review.*