Easy & Sustainable Swaps for an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

As a college student it can be hard to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. A lot of us might feel like it is too expensive or too time consuming to be sustainable. However, there are tons of products you might use in your daily routine that could be easily swapped for a more environmentally friendly alternative. Hopefully, this list of items will encourage you to make changes where you can and become more mindful of the effects, both positive and negative, that you can have on the environment.

(Photo by Sarah Pflug on Burst)

1. Swap out plastic bags for reusable bags

Despite being one of the easiest swaps to incorporate into everyday life, so many people still use plastic bags on a regular basis. Plastic bags take thousands of tons of oil to produce every year and often end up in landfills. All you have to do to make a positive impact is take a few reusable bags with you on your next grocery trip or trip to the mall. By doing this, you are helping to cut down on plastic waste and oil consumption.

(Photo by Matthew Henry on Burst)

2. Swap out traditional toilet paper for recycled toilet paper

Another simple switch is purchasing toilet paper made from 100% recycled paper rather than the kind found wrapped in plastic. The company Who Gives a Crap creates recycled toilet paper that has no plastic packaging. And to top it all off, they donate 50% of the proceeds to building toilets in developing countries. Toilet paper is one of those products that everyone has to purchase, so you might as well support a company that is working hard to be both environmentally friendly and socially responsible.

3. Swap out your petroleum-based plastic toothbrush for a bioplastic toothbrush

Bamboo toothbrushes seem to be all the rage currently. However, the oil that is saved from the handle is instead used to ship them halfway across the world from China. RADIUS is an oral care company that sells toothbrushes that are both manufactured in the United States and made from bioplastic. This means that no fossil fuels are used to make the toothbrush handles. They also sell toothbrushes with replacement heads, meaning you can save your handle and prevent it from entering a landfill.

(Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels)

4. Swap out your cotton pads for a reusable makeup remover cloth

It’s common to use cotton pads and micellar water to remove your makeup each night before you go to sleep. These single-use cotton pads create so much waste and can easily be replaced by a more sustainable alternative: a reusable makeup removing cloth. All you have to do is wet the cloth in order to remove your makeup. The cloths can be used over and over and can be thrown in with your laundry when they need to be cleaned. Not only will using a reusable cloth save you money, it will also help to save the environment!

5. Swap out fast fashion for thrift shopping

The fast fashion industry creates an enormous amount of waste and, in addition to being bad for the environment, is socially irresponsible due to horrific working conditions in the factories. However, many people still contribute to the fast fashion industry because it is extremely convenient. If you don’t have time to shop in stores, you can simply order online and have the clothes arrive at your doorstep. Thankfully, there is now a way for you to shop both sustainably and conveniently. There have not always been options to buy second-hand clothing online, but now there are so many choices. There is an online thrift store called ThredUP that sells quality second-hand clothing and there are apps like Poshmark where you can sell and buy clothes, too. And if all of those options weren’t enough, there are also Instagram accounts where people sell thrifted clothing. It may not be possible to purchase all of your clothing sustainably, but any clothing that you do buy second-hand helps to make a difference!

6. Swap out single-use food storage bags for reusable food storage bags

If you pack your lunch or store some of your foods at home, it is likely that you use a lot of plastic food-sealing bags. These are single-use items that end up in landfills and it takes a lot of oil to produce them. Companies like Rezip create reusable food storage bags that you never have to throw out. These will help you save money and decrease your everyday plastic usage.

Becoming sustainable can seem very overwhelming at first. Making a few small changes at a time will help it seem more manageable and after a while you won’t even miss the products you used to use. Doing what you can to be environmentally friendly is so important and every change that you make, big or small, towards living a sustainable lifestyle will make a difference. Take the first step and try out one of the swaps from this list!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7