TikTalk: Sustainability tips on TikTok

A hand holding a phone, screen labeled "TikTok" with a recycling symbol, against a green background.
Holden Kilbane | Daily Trojan

With the passing of Earth Week, sustainability is on everyone’s mind. Throughout April, I was inundated with ads, infographics and reminders of ways to reduce my carbon footprint. While we, as individuals, do not have as much of an effect on climate change as big corporations do, we still find ourselves doing what we can to have a positive impact on our planet. 

On TikTok, #sustainable has 1.8 billion views, with creators sharing their best tips and tricks on how to start sustainable habits. From reducing food waste to planting a garden, I have found myself swapping these rituals into my daily routine. 

As college students, we are usually buying groceries for one person, which means that we often don’t get to eat food fast enough and end up having to throw away food that goes bad. Yes, composting is an option, but even then, you feel a bit guilty throwing away food before you get to it. 

Shelbi Storme (@shelbizleee) has built a brand on “(attempting to) make sustainability fun across the internet.” Her video on how to store food to avoid waste is a game changer when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

Storme suggests storing greens in a container with a napkin or towel on top to absorb moisture. When it comes to potatoes, they should be stored in a cool, dry place to avoid quick rotting. Carrots, which are notorious for going limp, should be chopped up, added to a jar and submerged in water to keep them crunchy. 

Love cooking in the oven, but hate the mess? CNN’s product review TikTok, @cnnunderscored, has got you covered.

Tin foil, parchment paper and other single use items can be switched for nonstick, silicone divider trays that allow you to bake multiple things at once. There’s no need to wait for one thing to cook before switching the baking sheet; if your items take different times to cook, you can remove the trays as you please. When you’re done cooking, the trays can be thrown right into the dishwasher.

Similarly, the account @brightly.eco shared reusable alternatives that can be used instead of single-use products. Nonstick silicone muffin molds are a great alternative to disposable cupcake liners. Dryer balls are a substitute for dryer sheets that get tossed out after drying a load of laundry. If you love packing snacks in Ziploc bags, it’s time to switch to reusable silicone storage bags that are even sturdier and can be washed and reused. 

However, preventing climate change and helping the planet is more than just converting to reusable products; we also have to think about our environment and natural resources.

Redleaf Ranch’s (@redleafranch) account has great gardening lessons to help connect with not only Mother Nature, but with ourselves. Even though not everyone is blessed with a green thumb, these videos can help even the worst of gardeners gain one. 

For instance, one way to make your gardening experience easier while also helping nature thrive is by planting native plants. Plants that are native to your environment will attract native wildlife and native pollinators, while also being a lot less invasive and a lot less work. 

These plants are used to the climate conditions of the area and were built for them. They will make your garden beautiful and allow for native wildlife to do its thing for the environment. It’s a win-win.

You don’t have to plant a garden to show that you care about the environment. Doing the small things can help us create habits that will break the cycle of carelessness toward climate change.

Yes, it can be hard to make these changes when big corporations and politicians are the ones who have a bigger impact on the environment. However, grassroots change can be the catalyst for even larger change. 

Not all of us will become completely sustainable overnight, but hopefully these TikTok videos will show us where to start.

Trinity Gomez is a senior writing about TikTok and popular culture. Her column, “TikTalk,” ran every other Thursday.