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If you're like me, you always get inspired by Earth Day celebrations on social media. With people sharing their photos showcasing the natural beauty of our planet, I feel my consumer guilt appear and suddenly have the urge to do more than recycle cans or avoid using straws, in order to reduce my ecological footprint. This April, I made a pact with myself to stick with significant changes I could make as a consumer that would help me transition to an eco-friendly lifestyle. My first step in this journey was to educate myself on the issue and find the right resources to aid in the transition. 

Dear readers, I present to you: my research. I have gathered and compared information from various articles, books, and websites to make a list including three main tips on how to transition into a more consumer-conscious lifestyle. "The Lazy Environmentalist," written by Josh Dorfman, inspired much of the content listed below. Throughout this process, I was blown away by how doing something as little as buying a different brand of clothing or different types of appliances would significantly reduce the harmful effects many products have on our planet. This kind of change is much easier than it seems to be—especially if you follow the guidance below. 

 

1. Do Brand Research.

I know it may appear time consuming, but who and where we choose to buy our products is the greatest factor in reducing waste. Look for companies that have a B Corp Certification, which requires them to "consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment." To help make greener choices, use sites like Earth Hero. Earth Hero is an eco-friendly online marketplace that allows buyers to choose from products that are sourced, manufactured, and shipped in a way that protects our planet’s future. They help consumers remain conscious about purchases without having to do the extra investigating. 

 

2. Avoid Disposables (quality over quantity!)

Cheaper is not always better. Try to buy high-quality sustainable items on sale instead, while only buying products that you need and love. I know it’s difficult being on a college-student budget, but try to focus on consuming fewer items overall. Ask yourself questions like: “Do I need this product?” or “Can I rent or borrow it instead?” Reducing your total number of purchases will save your wallet and the environment in the long run. 

 

3. Spread the Word

Help others understand the choices you make for the planet, and why it’s so important. Don’t forget; we have the power to make a change! Consumers determine what items are being sold by supporting companies with our time, energy and money. Advocate for certain eco-friendly brands and products, use your social media platform and continue to hold yourself accountable. Push companies to do better!

 

BONUS: Here is a list of wearable brands that are eco-friendly, sustainable, and affordable (based on the average college-student budget)!

Clothing:

  • Happy Earth
  • Levi's
  • Honest Basics

Shoes:

  • REI
  • WOMSH
  • Veja

 

The future of our planet depends on sustainable products. It can be tough sometimes to allocate time and money to make that switch, especially as a college student: but I promise, it's worth it. As consumers, we all have a role to play in the environmental effects of the products we buy. If more people supported brands such as those listed above, others would have to keep up with the demand. So, let us try to make these small but impactful changes and treat every day like Earth Day.

Originally from Champaign, IL. Faith is a senior at SLU studying Health Sciences with a minor in Urban Poverty Studies. She has a passion for holistic medicine and good food. In her spare time she likes to read, go on hikes, run and take 3 hour naps.
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