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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

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Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
Pitt track and field athlete inducted into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
By Grace McNally, Staff Writer • June 13, 2024
Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 6, 2024

Opinion | Small eco-friendly changes can make a big impact

Opinion+%7C+Small+eco-friendly+changes+can+make+a+big+impact
Izzy Poth | Staff Illustrator

I can feel the springtime weather approaching. At least I did for a few brief days, thanks to the ever-changing Pittsburgh weather. These warm spring days are always perfect to do activities outside and enjoy the wonders that nature provides for us. I love spending time in nature, riding a bike, reading a book on a hammock or just enjoying the view from a park bench. 

But when I’m outside, I often think about how the winters are colder and the summers are hotter than they were when I was a kid. It’s all due to climate change and global warming, and it becomes difficult to enjoy the beauty of nature when I know it is at risk. Environmental improvements typically include large scale projects and investments, but there are many small changes I make in my day-to-day life that keep me hopeful about the future of our planet. 

Though some of these things are comparatively small to how much change needs to happen, if everyone does just a little bit to help, it will make a big difference in the long run. Anything from recycling to using reusable shopping bags can make an impact on the trajectory of the planet’s ecosystem.

One of the first things I have recently changed is how I dispose of my empty makeup products, skincare and other toiletries. Most of these containers are made of plastic, but not all types of plastic are recyclable, and not every part of a product is either, such as the pumps on lotion bottles.

A company called Terracycle has free recycling programs for all types of brands. You can mail in a box of empty products to get properly sorted and disposed of instead of them ending up in landfills. Another company is Nordstrom and their program Beautycycle. Participating stores have drop-off bins for any cosmetic containers. I keep a bag under my sink with all my empties, and when it gets full, I plan to dispose of them through programs like these.

For clothing that cannot be donated, such as stained shirts or ripped socks, there is a program with For Days called the Take Back Bag. You pay for a bag, then fill it with all your old textiles, send it back and then they give you store credit to spend on the website. 

I also use my library card instead of buying new books. This is less about the environment, but it still relates to overconsumption and how much waste people produce. Keeping used books in circulation or buying from used book stores contributes to the protection of trees, which vastly affects the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

Generally, there are a lot of other small changes that are easy to implement and that are low effort. This includes reducing the use of single-use plastics, checking to make sure which recyclables can be collected curbside or switching out everyday items like dish sponges for compostable bamboo brushes. You can find a lot of these swaps or other tips across social media accounts who advocate for sustainability.

Sadly, eco-friendly products are not easily accessible to everyone. A lot of clean products and sustainable brands can be expensive, like fancy toothpaste tablets or shoes made from recycled material, but I think there are changes out there that everyone can apply to make a difference. As we make these products more available, hopefully other companies will catch on and make sustainable options available to a wider consumer demographic.

Not only do these little environmentally conscious changes make me feel like I can help the world, but it also feels like I am helping myself. It is too easy to overlook what the world gives us and what we do in return, and that needs to change. 

I try to do what I can, but it is impossible to be perfect, so don’t kick yourself if you use plastic sandwich bags for your lunch or if you accidentally throw a soda bottle in the trash. It happens. Be aware for next time, and maybe in a couple years, the future of this planet will look just a bit brighter.

Abby Dobry writes primarily about life and the arts. Write to her at [email protected]

About the Contributor
Abigail Dobry
Abigail Dobry, Senior Staff Columnist
Abby Dobry is a senior studying nonfiction English writing and theater arts as a double major. She is also achieving a certificate in medieval and renaissance studies. Abby hails from Maryland and her passions include anything relating to theater, reading and obviously writing. Her life goals for future writing include a play, a novel and a memoir. Reach out to her at