The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Many college students believe that having a sustainable lifestyle takes a lot of time, money, and effort, but in reality, it just takes a little extra awareness! The key is paying attention to what materials makeup what you consume, and how you dispose of them. If you want to change your habits to more sustainable practices during your college years, here are 3 tips for you to start:
- Choose degradable materials
As college students, we tend to buy a lot of single-use plastic to make things easier for ourselves (like not having to do the dishes), but we have little to no idea of how this could affect the planet in the long run. The problem in this situation is not the single-use items but the non-degradable material. If you are prone to buying single-use items like plates, silverware, or even Ziploc bags, opt for easily degradable materials like bamboo, paper, or plant-based plastic. This way, you can still enjoy the convenience of single-use items, without having such a strong impact on the environment.
2. Reduce electrical waste
It is natural for a lot of students to lose awareness over our electricity consumption because a lot of us pay for electricity as a one-time-payment for the semester (like people who lease apartments or live in college dorms), and we don’t see an electrical bill on a monthly basis. However, even if we are not constantly reminded by a bill, it is important to be mindful about how small actions affect big things. When not in use, unplug chargers and small appliances (like a coffee maker) to reduce unnecessary electrical waste. To make this even easier, plug these appliances into the same power strip, and flip its switch to “off” when you leave your place. It only takes the flip of a switch to make a big impact.
3. Opt for DIY and up-cycling
Before disposing of something, think about how you could give that item a second chance. For example, a broken mug can be glued back together to become a flower pot! Try to get creative by repurposing the things you want to throw away to avoid over-consumption. This way, you can also save yourself some money in buying things you could’ve DIY’d. You may even find a new hobby!
All it takes to build better, more sustainable habits is awareness in our small actions.