Local Farms Food

5 Ways to Incorporate Sustainability into Your Life

I’ve recently begun to pay more attention to my carbon footprint and my contribution towards making sure that our planet’s future is safe and healthy. As someone who is starting to become more consciously sustainable, it can be challenging to figure out what first steps to take to incorporate green routines into your lifestyle. As a college student, it may seem even more overwhelming. 

Luckily, it’s not as hard as one might think it is. Becoming greener is cheaper, so as a college student, it’s just one of the many ways to incorporate inexpensive practices into my lifestyle. On top of that, it feels really good to practice clean and healthier living that I know can be my contribution to keeping our Earth wholesome. Keep reading to find out ways that you can incorporate easy green routines into your life! 

  1. 1. Make a DIY Low Waste Kit

    The first thing that I made to incorporate sustainability into my life was a DIY Low Waste Kit. According to GoPure, Americans still use an average of 50 billion plastic water bottles a year, and 91% of this plastic is not recycled. To avoid the use of plastic completely, these DIY Low Waste Kits are perfect. The kit holds sustainable alternatives to items that are usually imperative for when you go out. Instead of buying plastic utensils or boxes, create a kit where you have those at hand while also simultaneously helping the planet.

    Some ideas for your kit include reusable utensils, cloth napkins and produce bags. These utensils are usually made out of bamboo or metal, anything but plastic and wasteful materials. I bought mine on Etsy, which is even more sustainable, as it supports small businesses that don’t use as much energy manufacturing and shipping. 

    Add anything else that is essential for your on-the-go needs into your own DIY Low Waste Kit and make it a habit to use it whenever you go out. This is one easy yet insanely effective way that you can reduce your carbon footprint. 

  2. 2. Save energy with your electronics

    As young people, we’re on electronics mostly 24/7. According to a New York Times article, in 2018, overall electricity production in the United States consisted of 37% of all carbon dioxide emissions. This means that electricity is one of the main reasons for climate change. An easy fix that I’m sure everyone’s heard about is to turn the lights or any electronics off when you’re not using them. 

    I recently learned that LED and compact fluorescent (CFLs) lights are a lot more energy efficient. The types of light bulbs last longer, so it is also cheaper long-term. According to The Princeton Review, CFLs specifically last 8-12 times longer than regular light bulbs and use 25% less energy. Find ways to reduce the amount of energy and electricity being utilized whenever you are using electronics and technology.

  3. 3. Join green organizations/clubs on campus 

    Find green organizations and clubs on your campus to have a community that can help and is alongside you on your sustainability journey. It’ll be easier to find more ways to be directly involved as well, since there are others who can help you find activities and routines that are a helpful guide. At the University of Florida, here are some groups where you’ll find a passionate, sustainability-based community:

    - Climate Action Gator (@climate.action.gator on Instagram) are a group of students and environment and climate justice activists at the University of Florida that hold workshops, meetings, and events that teach college students about climate change and ways to reduce the harm that we incite on our Earth. They also find ways that we can create change within our systems, through strikes and protests. 

    - Gators Going Green (@ufgreengators on Instagram) is an executive agency a part of the UF Student Government that promotes environmentally friendly, clean and innovative lifestyles on campus. This is another group on campus that helps guide college students through a sustainable lifestyle, whether it be in methods that include fun activities or heavily beneficial and informative meetings. 

    - Frothy Magazine (@frothymag on Instagram) is a Gainesville-based magazine that focuses on sustainability. For all of my fellow writers, if you’re already very passionate about sustainability, this is a great way to share your ideas and your stories about green living. I personally found their first issue about food very insightful. Frothy is definitely a place for college students to find creative and resourceful methods to be lower waste and sustainable whether it be as readers or writers.

  4. 4. Support local and small businesses! 

    This is so important in more ways than one. When it comes to any product (from clothes to food), there is lots of carbon emitted in the manufacturing and transportation process of most commodities produced by bigger corporations and businesses. With small local businesses, the carbon emissions from transportation/shipping is much less or even none. 

    Another plus? An increase in support for the local economy could allow for more local products to be distributed. Soon enough, you might just have even local products to shop for. 

    Additionally, these products are ethically made, whereas products from bigger corporations and businesses most likely are not. Some local companies that you can support here in Gainesville are Lion’s Den CreativeHappy Day Design Co.Her Gather, and Earrings by Tomi when it comes to fashion, and Sweets by Mich if you’re looking for some vegan goodies.

  5. 5. Help the ecosystems in your area

    Another critical aspect of sustainability is ecological sustainability. We can help in stabilizing our ecosystem by planting native trees and encouraging the presence of native species. Growing native plants and trees is the key to revitalizing our respective ecosystems and biomes. If you want to get planting, here is a list of plants native to each area in Florida. You can bring native animals and species by installing a bird feeder or a solitary beehive. 

Being sustainable is a life-long journey and trying to be green and low waste doesn’t have to be done perfectly, as long as you’re trying. These are some easy ways to incorporate sustainable practices into your lifestyle that will leave you and the Earth feeling cleaner, healthier and happier. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of things that you can do for our environment!