The biggest issue, well not the biggest but it’s up there, faced by college students is the divide between wanting to be an activist while still having enough money to eat more than instant noodles every night. College is a time to experiment with new people and cultures, a time to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. However, it’s also a time where textbooks and loans are at an all time high and money is unfortunately very slim- this doesn’t have to be the case. The environment is struggling almost as much, if not more, than a new college student. So, with that being said, here are seven ways to be more environmentally friendly while living on a college budget.
- Buy a reusable water bottle...and actually use it.
This hack will help you save money and the environment at the same time. Nobody is asking you to go out and buy a Hydro Flask (sksksksksk),but a cheap water bottle from Target is around $10. This is a one time cost, so you won’t have to continue wasting money from having to buy plastic bottles-and you are being more environmentally friendly by limiting your plastic waste. It’s a win win!
Check them out here: https://www.target.com/c/water-bottles-sports-outdoors/-/N-5xt53?Nao=0
- Put a recycling bin in your dorm/house
Since elementary school we have been taught the same motto over and over again. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It seems like such a simple concept yet it is so underutilized. By putting an extra garbage pail in your dorm or house, you can help the environment by limiting the amount of waste being sent to landfills. It is very easy to throw your recyclable goods into a recycling bin instead of a garbage bin, it only takes a quick google search to find one!
Check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/cute-trash-can/s?k=cute+trash+can
- Take shorter showers
Every “environmental tips” blog recommends taking shorter showers. It is a simple and effective way to conserve water and limit your personal environmental impact. Face it. You don’t need to take a 30 minute shower to play out an imaginary argument in your head- it’s just not worth the water, time...or stress.
- Buy reusable dishware
College kids as a whole are typically found guilty when it comes to being lazy with the dishes. Most will purchase paper or plastic goods and throw them away after one use-what a waste! By investing in reusable dishware- or tupperware for commuter students-you are personally responsible for limiting the amount of trash being produced. Nobody is expecting you to bring out the good china for a ramen dinner, but by putting $40 aside to buy a set of basic dishes and silverware, you are helping limit unnecessary waste.
Check it out: https://www.amazon.com/pink-tupperware/s?k=pink+tupperware&page=2
- Unplug everything
When you think of pollution, you might think of water, maybe air, but most forget about a very dangerous form of pollution. Electrical. Electrical pollution, or “dirty energy”,is very hard to avoid when living in a digital society. By unplugging cords for chargers or appliances that aren’t frequently used, you decrease the amount of electricity in your environment, and can protect yourself from the potential damage of electrical appliances.
- Thrift shop
I, for one, absolutely love shopping and getting new clothes each season to spice up my closet. The clothes that I no longer wear usually get thrown away, which is such an unfortunate waste. The fashion industry as a whole creates so much pollution, between running the factories, dying the clothing-and shipping the products to retail locations. Consider donating your old clothing to volunteer organizations instead of adding more pollution to the fashion cycle. Or, when you feel the need to spruce up your wardrobe, consider going thrift shopping! It’s a great way to get cheap items and limit the amount of clothing polluting the environment. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
Check it out: https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=thrift_stores&find_loc=Long+Island%2C+NY
- DIY beauty products
The cosmetics industry is one of the most harmful to the environment, from the chemicals and dyes used on products to testing on animals, beauty really does hurt. Instead of purchasing another overpriced face mask filled with chemicals, consider making your own with cheap and natural products like oats and honey-or maybe a homemade lip balm with mint and coconut oil. Even if you aren’t crafty in the DIY department, try to find brands that are cruelty free or that offer a natural cosmetic line that limits their negative effects on the environment.
Check it out: https://misswish.com/diy-beauty-products
Now,with a few new and simple ideas in mind, it is clearly very easy to balance activism on a college budget. I hope you take the time to look at your daily life and see what changes you can make to help protect Mother Earth-without having to break the bank!