Little changes, big differences: how to be more sustainable


By Molly Pfeifer

Here are five ways to be more green using resources in your neighborhood:

1Zero Waste

The key ideas of going green are to reduce, reuse, and recycle. When it comes to the 3 R’s, the Starbucks campaign that bans straws is a step towards sustainability on a global level. The plan involves using “Sippy Cup Lids” that will potentially reduce the use of plastic. Plastic straws are bad because they are not recyclable and often end up in the ocean, where they harm sea life.

Our local Starbucks barista informed us that this feature will be global in all Starbucks by 2020. For the time being to reduce plastic waste, try purchasing a reusable straw that you can bring on the go, such as metal straws from Amazon.

2Shop Secondhand

Green Element | Molly Pfeifer

A recent trend has been thrift shopping and buying items secondhand. This way of shopping is also sustainable and sweatshop-free since you are reusing items that have already been made. Secondhand shops are more affordable than buying new items and they also create a recycling community that gives your used items to those in need.

Rogers Park and Edgewater both have a selection of secondhand shops to choose from. For example, Green Element is a resale store not far from the Loyola campus. We spoke to Green Element’s Assistant Manager Logan Rayborn about the importance of buying secondhand.

“To make new products you’ve got to source the raw materials, which is gonna add to more waste in the long run… so the more you can extend the life that has already been put in, it’s definitely gonna help,” Rayborn said.

“It’s a great environment, people walk in here and say they can spend hours in here… you never know what you’re going to find,” he continued. 

Other sustainable stores in the community include the Broadway Antique Market and Salvation Army.

3Eat Plant Based

Heartland Cafe | Tim McCoy |

Although going completely vegan may be hard, there are lots of ways to eat more plant-based and have a smaller impact on our environment. Eating fewer animal products helps reduce your carbon footprint and helps conserve water.

Rogers Park and Edgewater have a variety of plant-based restaurants. Popular places like Uncommon Ground serve organic food from their rooftop garden, and local restaurants like Heartland Cafe offer many vegetarian options.

Uncommon Ground Rooftop Garden | Uncommon Ground website

4Support Local Farmers Markets

Timothy Minefee | Google Reviews

Eating fresh and in-season is not only tastier, but it’s better for your body and our planet. Eating local is part of the path to sustainability— it helps reduce carbon emissions because of shorter transportation times and less harmful farming methods.

Luckily, the RogersEdge community has plenty of farmers markets to offer. Visit the Glenwood Sunday Market at the Morse Red Line every Sunday, or the Edgewater Farmers Market at the Broadway Armory on Saturdays.

5Skip Driving

Take advantage of our beautiful lakefront views and help keep Chicago’s air clean by skipping the car and taking a bike instead. Safe and accessible bike lanes are spread out across the city, and more are being expanded into Edgewater and Rogers Park.

Don’t own a bike? Divvy stations are conveniently placed across the city, with an abundance of locations across the Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods. Single rides are $3 for 30 minutes.

Google Maps | Divvy Bike stations


Leave a Reply