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Precycling: The Midwest’s helping hand for Mother Nature

As wildfires persist in the West and hurricanes engulf the South, the need to stop climate change couldn’t be more pressing. That being said, it’s easy to become complacent when living in the Midwest. The natural disasters that bombard the coasts of our nation are typically only a seemingly distant news story to us.

Fortunately, most of Gen Z wants to help the planet and save our world from the effects of global warming. The issue is how we can do so, especially since we’re from a region that is not as directly impacted by the shift in climate.

I have one word for you: precycle. Yes, you heard that correctly.

We all know what recycling is, and I’m sure a lot of you do it. While recycling has wonderful benefits for the environment and helps reduce global warming, it still produces energy and pollution.

Precycling is a step you can take before recycling where you actually try to avoid recycling by not creating waste to begin with or by avoiding items that require more energy (and therefore more pollution) to be recycled. It’s a pretty logical step in helping the environment that we don’t think about because of the emphasis on recycling.

Some ways that you can precycle include:

Using reusable containers

Instead of using plastic baggies to pack your lunch, purchase a Tupperware container or silicone bags to reuse daily (which is ultimately more cost-efficient, too).


Bringing a reusable coffee mug to the coffee shop

Paper cups at coffee shops are given out like candy, but the earth doesn’t find them so sweet; bring a reusable coffee mug when getting your daily coffee––most places will gladly oblige. Due to the pandemic, most places don’t use reusables at the moment, but remember this idea when they allow patrons to bring in their own cups.

Purchasing your books as e-books

Now that a lot of classes are online, using e-books has become a lot easier, so save a tree––and some money, too.

Buying reusable shopping bags

Purchase a few reusable shopping bags, because plastic grocery bags cannot be recycled in curbside recycling, which means they end up in landfills and oceans.

Stop purchasing paper towels

It’s easy to grab a paper towel from the counter any time there’s a drop of liquid, but paper towels contribute to deforestation. Grab a sponge or cloth napkin instead.

These ideas are only some of many ways Midwesterners can be a part of the change and help our fellow friends who are impacted more directly by climate change.

As college students, it can seem hard to fully “go green” when we can barely get ourselves to go to class, but precycling is an easy yet world-altering way to help Mother Nature in her fight against global warming.

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