Many times when people think about trying to be more environmental conscious, they assume it will ultimately take up a ton of their time and energy. But, that is not always the case. There are many small changes we can make in our daily lives that can make a big impact on the environment. Even here in C-U, there are options to reduce your footprint.

Buy Local Products

The Urbana Market at the Square (and indoor market during the colder months) happens Saturday mornings, and it offers a wonderful opportunity for buying local products directly from the vendor. This market offers a wide variety of products such as fresh produce, fresh pasta, homemade wax melts and candles, pottery, toys and treats for your furry friends, and so many more. By buying items from the Urbana Market, you are not only supporting local community members, you’re also able to reduce the amount of plastic and packaging necessary because you’re able to buy it straight from the source. Want a weekday option? The Champaign Farmers' Market resumes this Tuesday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Downtown Champaign. Keep an eye out for our Market Watch column each month for tips on what to purchase. 

Hit up the bulk aisle

By buying in bulk, you can reduce the amount of plastic and packaging used to package your produce. Common Ground and Harvest Market have great bulk aisles where you can stock up on items such as rice, quinoa, black beans, granola, peanut butter, spices, etc. Common Ground even offers a great opportunity where you can grab a glass jar (which have been generously donated by others in the community) and fill it with your bulk item. Not only is this a great way to reduce plastic waste, but you’re also able to reuse a glass jar that might normally have been thrown in the trash. Do you have an empty glass jar sitting around your home? Feel free to bring it into Common Ground and they will clean and sanitize it so that others can use it for their bulk foods.

Ditch the single use cups

Try to be aware of the number of one use items you use in a day. For instance, I am guilty of going to local coffee shops way more often than I should, but when you have places like Aroma Cafe and Bossa Nova, it’s hard not to go and chat with the super friendly baristas while they make your coffee! However, I hate thinking about the number of to-go coffee cups I have thrown out in my life, and sitting down to drink it in the coffee shop is not always a possibility. So, one easy way you can make a difference is by bringing in your own reusable cup. Some places even offer small discounts when you bring in your own. While this may seem insignificant because you’re only one person, think about the difference we in C-U could make if everyone brought their own reusable cups each time they visited a coffee shop.

Reduce food waste

We as Americans throw out an astronomical amount of food each day and yet there are people in our own community who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. So, if you and your family find that you have leftovers of something (for instance, you grow apples and end up with such a large crop you can’t eat them all before they start going bad) why not bring them to a local soup kitchen. Here in C-U, we have an amazing soup kitchen called Daily Bread Soup Kitchen where they serve over 200 guests each day. Just think what a difference your leftover food could do to help those here in our community!

We have lots of ways right in our own community to try and make an impact on the enviroment. Little things you do each day can add up to a big difference. And, if we get our friends, family, and even neighbors to join in, an even greater impact can be made. So this begs the question, what small choice can you make today to start making an impact on the environment, and what could be added to this list?

Photos from Facebook