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Small Things I Do As A College Student to Be More Sustainable

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

In honor of Earth day, here are some small habits I stick towards to be more sustainable. As a college student, I do what I can to help the environment. Often, it is cheaper to switch to a more sustainable lifestyle, and I think it is very rewarding to do so. I hope these tips inspire you to make small switches to help our planet.

cut old t-shirts into squares to reuse as cotton rounds for cleaning and makeup removal.

I have so many old cotton t-shirts that have either been stained or I have grown out of. Instead of throwing them away or donating them (literally who wants my high school track shirts LOL) I cut them into squares to make my own “reusable cotton rounds”. I use them when I take off my makeup at night instead of relying on disposable cotton rounds. They are super easy to wash, and it helps save money I would otherwise be using to buy cotton rounds each month.

take good care of your shoes

I pride myself in taking good care of all of my belongings, particularly my shoes. Taking care of your shoes can help extend their lifetime. My “frat shoes” are a pair of Air Force 1s and black boots. I wipe down my Air Forces and occasionally clean them with bleach to keep them in good condition. I plan on replacing them once the soles are worn down, but I have been able to keep them looking nice for almost 3 years by cleaning them frequently. My black boots are high quality Chelsea-style boots that can easily be wiped down with Clorox wipes. They are water resistant and very durable. I believe investing in quality shoes that are versatile for most outfits is the best way to integrate fashion and sustainability.

Shop vintage designer if you really like high end shopping

A lot of people think that fashion and sustainability are at odds with one another, but I believe there are ways to be mindful with your purchases. I personally am very interested in vintage designer, and I think its a great way to fill your closet with nice accessories for a fraction of the retail price. I love the site The Real Real for shopping vintage. I recently purchased a pair of vintage Chanel leather mules and am very pleased with them. Second-hand shopping in general is a very sustainable option, so I definitely think there are ways to make it just as fun as shopping for first-hand items.

Rehome pieces in your wardrobe that you no longer want to keep

I am a strong believer in selling/gifting your unwanted clothing to friends before donating it to thrift stores. Unfortunately, many items that are donated end up in landfills anyway, so try to give your clothing to someone who will get good use out of it. Many student organizations at UVA are embracing clothing swaps, so getting involved in these is another great way to “rehome” your unwanted clothes for some new pieces.

shop local businesses that are within walking distance

One of the best things about UVA, in my opinion, is the fact that the community is very walkable. I am very fortunate to live in an apartment on the corner, so I do most of my week-to-week shopping at local businesses. While I use my car to go to Trader Joe’s weekly, I save quick grocery stops for Corner Grocery and do most of my takeout from restaurants on the corner, such as Roots and Chipotle.

Claire Brodish is a third-year student at the University of Virginia studying Commerce. Claire serves as the chapter's President. Keep up with her on Instagram @claire_brodish xx