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Environmentally Friendly Swaps for College Students

Surprisingly, what I struggled with the most when I decided to start living a more eco-friendly life was where and how to start. We are sometimes unaware of how much our everyday routines are affecting the environment. Even though eliminating our use of certain products might be the ideal solution, it may not always be the most realistic one. When attempting to cut down our amount of waste and start living a more sustainable life, it is important to be consistent and consciously aware of reducing, reusing, recycling, replacing and eliminating. Yes, that sounds like a lot, which tends to make us think that it will be hard and that it has to come with major changes; but it doesn’t have to be like that!  While this can be the case for some people, I learned that it can also mean making little changes in everyday habits. These are some of my top eco-friendly swaps that I implemented in my everyday routine 

Makeup Removing Wipes 

Swap: Makeup Eraser
There are certain things that I didn’t even think twice about that are actually very bad for the environment. Around three months ago, an article from Bustle about makeup wipes popped up on my feed, and I was shocked, to say the least. It turns out that makeup removing wipes are among the most wasteful products in the world, with 7.6 billion pounds of wipes being thrown into the landfill each year, which adds up to 20 million wipes being thrown away daily, according to Bustle. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, but sadly, it made sense. The waste from wipes adds up quickly when you are using at least one per day, unaware that it will take a hundred years for it to break down. However, the Makeup Eraser is changing that. This polyester-blend cloth removes even waterproof makeup by just adding warm water and running it across your face. You can choose to put it in the washing machine whenever you think appropriate, and it’s approximated to last from three to five years. Just think how many makeup wipes you would have gone through in that time… This is not only an eco-friendly choice but also an extremely smart financial decision. Let’s care for our beauty as well as the beauty of our planet! 

Laundry Detergent Pods 

Swap: Dropps 
As college students, Tide Pods are one of our must-haves for doing laundry. All we need to do is drop it in the washing machine and wait for our clothes to be cleaned. When I started my eco-friendly journey, I came across Dropps. Dropps are eco-responsible laundry detergent pods that work exactly like Tide Pods (and cost almost exactly the same). These pods are biodegradable and come in compostable cardboard boxes rather than in huge plastic containers, which contribute to approximately 606 billion pounds of plastic that ends up in our oceans annually, according to Business Insider. Their formula is also plant based and not tested on animals, which is just a plus to their already huge environmental impact. You can get Dropps on Amazon or on their website.


Swap: Toothcrush 
Believe it or not, your toothbrush is part of the plastic crisis. According to National Geographic, most people will replace their toothbrush around 300 times during their lifetime. Companies like Toothcrush sell toothbrushes made out of bamboo that also come in biodegradable packages. It sends you a toothbrush every 1 or 2 months depending on your subscription and each brush ends up costing less than a plastic one. It feels a little bit different at first but after about 4 uses you get used to the new handle. Toothcrush is not only eco-friendly, but it also improves your hygiene by forcing you to change your toothbrush every 1 or 2 months (which is how long you are supposed to have a toothbrush for). Even though waste is still being created, any change in material and packaging is making a difference in the world.

Plastic Cups

Swap: Contigo, Yeti, S’well 
This is a swap you’ve probably heard of before and probably already use, but if you don’t, this is the time to make a change! Make it a habit to always have one of these in your backpack and use it whenever you’re getting a coffee or tea (or any drink that requires a cup) around campus. It is also very convenient because it will keep your drink at the temperature you want it—especially in this cold weather that makes a coffee cold in less than five minutes.

All of these swaps were very easy to make and continue with. Even though they are not major changes, they are making a contribution; and by having a starting point, you can progressively improve and make bigger changes!

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Alexia Torrico

Notre Dame '21

Hola! My name is Alexia and I am a Senior Finance major and Collaborative Innovation minor at Notre Dame. I am so excited to experience college through my writing!
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