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Taking small steps to live more sustainable lifestyle

Metro Waste Authority shared tips for living a more sustainable lifestyle, like taking single-use plastics out of your life.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Living a more sustainable lifestyle may sound challenging, but Metro Waste Authority said it doesn't have to be. 

"All it takes is small changes in your everyday lifestyle," said Sarah Borzo, the education and outreach coordinator for Metro Waste Authority. 

Borzo said those small changes start by reusing and recycling items, to cut down on what is thrown away.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American in 2018 threw away 4.9 pounds of solid waste per day

To reduce the number of pounds a person throws away per day, Borzo said cut back on single-use plastics. 

She mentioned instead of buying a pack of disposable water bottles, buy a reusable one, and instead of buying disposable plastic baggies, invest in ones you can use multiple times. 

The education coordinator also noted individuals can bring their sustainability ways with them when going out to eat.

 "As we're going out to restaurants more often when you don't finish your meal, we know what it's going to come home in," Borzo said.  "It's going to come home in styrofoam and single-use plastic so it's great to bring your own reusable container."

And Ruth MacDonald, a professor and chair for the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University, said living sustainably is a broad term. But, it includes what you eat. 

MacDonald said part of eating sustainably partly means planning out what a person will eat for the week to help reduce food waste.

She also said it includes eating more locally sourced food instead of food that has to be flown in.

"That's a big impact on the environment by having those foods transported by air which is the highest producer of greenhouse gas," MacDonald said. "So is consuming seafood in the Midwest a good idea from an environmental perspective, probably not."

And to eat more locally sourced food the professor suggested buying more food at farmer's markets. 

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