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Simple Things You Can Do to Live More Sustainably

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

As college students, it’s hard to live a completely sustainable lifestyle. That’s why I came up with some tips on how you can do your part in the climate-change crisis without drastically changing your life. No matter how small the impact, you can still help the environment and influence others to do the same! That being said, here are some ways you could live more sustainably:

1. go digital

Many people already rely on their laptop or tablet for school, so switching from old-fashioned pen and paper to your laptop shouldn’t be a big change. There are many new applications that are specifically designed for students to take the best notes. We can save so many trees if we skip using limited paper notebooks and switch to having unlimited pages (along with an undo button).

2. Invest in Reusable Items

This may be the most popular option for becoming more environmentally conscious. There are many places that can make your drink and pour it into your reusable cup. Some places even give you a discount for doing so! You could also purchase a tote bag to use when going out grocery shopping or on trips to the mall. This is a much better alternative to plastic, single-use bags. Many people carry their own set of reusable straws to use instead of plastic ones (#SAVETHETURTLES). These small but doable tasks can save millions of plastics from entering our oceans!

3. Do Your Research

Before making a purchase at a store, do some research into that company’s impact on climate change. Do they make their products using environmentally-friendly materials? Are they implementing practices at their company that are environmentally conscious? Do they donate to climate change organizations? You want to know that your money is going towards a company whose values align with yours. You especially want to consider what materials the company uses in the product you wish to buy. Are they using harmful products that negatively affect your health as well as the health of the Earth?

4. Avoid single-use products

In almost every store you walk into, you’ll find a single-use product being given to customers. Not many companies have come up with replacements for single-use products, which is why consumers have taken things into their own hands. People often bring their own tote bags and reusable items to use in stores instead of wasting a plastic bag. According to BiologicalDiversity.org, research shows that “there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.” By using a reusable bag when going out, one person can save an average of 365 plastic bags from entering our oceans each year.

5. Shop consciously

As many are learning, fast fashion is one of the biggest problems facing the health of our planet today. The need to keep up with fashion trends has caused consumers to choose quantity over quality for their wardrobe, and stores like Shein, Romwe and Forever21 sell poor quality clothes that are cheap to buy, which is what attracts youth today. Instead, we should save our money and spend it on quality clothing that will last in our closets, unlike fast fashion. Most of these “fast fashion” companies prefer profit over protecting the Earth and those that live there.

6. Recycle!

This is probably the most obvious thing to do, but it’s such an important way to reduce waste. In recent years, recycling is widely practiced in institutions and homes around the world. In many public places, you may see a garbage can with two or more different slots; one for basic landfill and others for recycling purposes. This makes recycling easier than ever! Being more mindful about where your trash is going and how it can be reused can make a big difference for the planet.

Doing your part by using these six strategies can help to save yourself and your home. If everyone participated in an actively sustainable lifestyle, there would be more breathable air, cleaner oceans and less waste. I encourage you all to spark change in your daily life and practice living more sustainably!

Kailyn Coleman

Illinois State '23

Hey guys! I am a Senior at Illinois State studying to become a Speech Language Pathologist! I love to meet new people, travel, and visit local small businesses :)