10 Ways to decrease your environmental footprint


Lainey Devlin, Sports Editor

Recently, a study by hundreds of UN scientists concluded that our planet needs our help, and fast. Irreversible effects such as climate change, species extinction, and natural disasters may transpire if humans do not make changes by the year 2020, and an extensive amount of easy ways exist to help the planet wherever you live. 

Boycott Single-Use Plastic Bottles

Approximately 14 million tons of plastic packaging trash occupied landfills in 2015, with Americans tossing out 35 billion plastic bottles that same year. Plastic bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade in landfills, meaning they continue to pollute our Earth well after we finish using them. Avoiding plastic bottles also means avoiding sodas and other sugary drinks which can help us to lead healthier lifestyles. 

Bring Reusable Bags to the Grocery Store

Due to the fact that they resemble jellyfish in the eyes of unsuspecting sea animals, many creatures eat plastic bags that make their way into watersheds and oceans, plastic bags these animals cannot digest, posing a major threat to ocean life. Ocean trash became the number one killer of sea turtles in 2007 and continues to put animals in danger as more consumers shop using plastic grocery bags. Bringing a reusable bag can quickly become a convenient habit and help save hundreds of thousands of ocean animal lives by decreasing the amount of plastic that makes it to the ocean. 

Shop Locally

The multiple farmers markets in the Kennesaw area provide easy access for citizens to purchase locally grown, unprocessed, and delicious fruits, vegetables and other food items. The Marietta and Kennesaw farmers markets both continue to grow and serve as an environmentally friendly food resource.  Shopping locally prevents excess plastic packaging, various pesticides and greenhouse gases from transportation from polluting our planet. 


11 million tons of recyclable textiles, extra fabrics and shoes in America end up in landfills. Making a conscious effort to recycle would greatly reduce the amount of pollution caused by landfills alone, but don’t just recycle: learn about your city’s recycling codes and follow them. Products that you recycle that don’t follow the code will end up in a landfill. However, places do exist where you can recycle the odds and ends that your city does not collect. 

Try Meatless Mondays

If every citizen of the United States ate vegetarian for one day per week, we would save 100 billion gallons of water, 1.5 billion pounds of crops that could feed the hungry, 70 million gallons of gas and 65 billion pounds of CO2 emissions per year. As for the cattle ranchers and chicken farmers, with all the resources they save from not tending to animals, they gain the opportunity to grow more vegetables and fruits to feed a more enlightened public.  

Boycott Fast Fashion

While stores like Forever 21 may seem tempting with their low prices and abundance of on-trend clothing, consumers should note how these brands deceive the public with cheap, non-durable clothing, while polluting our waters, skies, and land with toxic chemicals and a concerning amount of textile waste. 

Bring Your Own (BYO)-Everything

Bringing your own containers, silverware and even straws from home greatly decreases the amount of non-biodegradable and occasionally toxic waste that ends up in landfills or oceans. A multitude of stores such as Starbucks now offer discounts for bringing your own resources as an initiative to save the planet. Receiving an ethical and financial reward by doing one simple act will hopefully soon become a habit. 

Eat Leftovers

From 2007 to 2014, American consumers wasted roughly 150,000 tons of food each day. By simply taking home your leftovers and saving them for the next day, you not only save money by not purchasing another meal–you also help save the planet by not letting food go to waste. Composting, another alternative, provides the consumer with rich, nutritious soil to plant fruits, vegetables or other vegetation of their choice. 


Carpooling not only saves money spent on gas, it also significantly decreases the amount of greenhouse gases that find their way into our atmosphere. By carpooling twice a week, 1,600 pounds of greenhouse gases won’t end up trapped in our atmosphere and you get to spend quality time around people who also care about our environment.  

Stay Aware and Spread the Word

A multitude of online resources and information on how to know and reduce your environmental footprint makes saving the world easier than ever. Spreading the positive impacts of going green whether on a blog, social media, or via one-on-one conversations creates the dialogue humans desperately need to hear right now. We only have one planet—and to avoid irreversible climate change, everyone must do their own part.