After spending winter break at a resort that does not serve plastic straws—yes, that meant I was sipping on my piña coladas strawless—I realized that there are ways that we can reduce plastic on campus. Besides investing in a re-usable straw, here are 10 ways to use less plastic. 

1. Reusable water bottles

Olivia Tanchel

Reusable water bottles are a super easy way to cut out excess plastic from your day to day life. 38 billion water bottles are thrown away in the US alone each year. Show off your individual style with a colorful or pattern Swell Bottle or show some Miami spirit by grabbing a reusable water bottle from the bookstore

2. Silverware for your dorm

Olivia Tanchel

How many days a week do you order take out? Well, instead of constantly flying through boxes of plastic silverware, keep a real set in your dorm. Silverware is super easy to wash in the sink and can easily be stored in your desk drawer. 

3. Get better at recycling

Olivia Tanchel

Recycling is super easy and takes no extra effort than throwing trash away in the normal bin. Usually, recycling bins are blue and located near or next to a trash can.

Most people might not know glass can be recycled indefinitely or recycling a pound of steel saves enough energy to run a light bulb for a whole day! In addition, most people probably don't know you can't recycle water bottle caps.

4. Paper over plastic

Jina Kim

1 trillion plastic bags are consumed a year worldwide. That equates to one million plastic bags per minute! If given the option while shopping, opt for a paper bag instead of plastic. If you want to make the biggest difference, bring a reusable bag with you when you go shopping. One small bag is the start to making a big difference.       

5. Wire or velvet hangers

Olivia Tanchel

A super easy way to cut out plastic is opting for velvet or wire hangers for your closet. Match your hangers to your room decor with a variety of velvet hanger colors to choose from.

6. Ice cream cones over cups

ice, cream, ice cream, waffle, strawberry
Amelia Hitchens

 Splurge the extra ten calories while on an ice cream run. Choosing a cone over a cup saves plastic and makes for a tastier ice cream.

7. Laundry bags, not bins

Olivia Tanchel

Laundry is definitely not every student’s favorite activity in college, although it is something that must be done. Store your laundry in a reusable bag instead of a huge plastic bin.

8. Reusable bags

supermarket, Grocery, Market, Trader Joe's, checkout, shopping, Shopping bag
Caroline Ingalls

Reusable bags are an easy and reliable way to save plastic daily. If you know you will be grabbing food to go, grocery shopping, or just need a bag to transport things, reusable bags should be your go to move. You can snag them at stores like Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or Target.

9. Buy in bulk

Whole Foods Market, inside whole foods market, organic section, organic whole foods, Vegetables, Grocery Store, groceries
Shelby Cohron

Buying in bulk allows you to get more bang for your buck. This meaning, you get more of a product while using less plastic in addition to more product for a cheaper price. 

10. If you see something, do something

water, surf, Surfing, Hawaii, Wave, waves, Beach, Ocean, beaches, Summer, vacation, holiday
Denise Uy

University of Miami students have the luxury of being just an Uber ride away from the beautiful beaches in Miami. It is estimated more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic afloat worldwide. If you see pollution or plastic on the beach or in the ocean, do not leave it there. Simply recycle it and then wash your hands. By recycling the beach plastic you could be saving a sea animal’s life in addition to keeping the Miami beaches beautiful.

Using less plastic is easier than you think. Be sure to follow these 10 steps and you too can help make a difference. Encourage your friends to make a change in their plastic habits and together we can all help save the Earth one piece of plastic at a time.