4 Green Living Tips for Busy College Students
Going green is not particularly easy in a world where single-use alternatives occupy a large part of manufacturing. In addition, many people struggle to give up eating animal-based products or do not have an opportunity to purchase a solar cell. Finally, these are rather great steps to make.
What can be said about the students who often live in a dorm or/and have limited budget and time? How can a student who catches up with classes only due to the help of EssayPro experts also manage to recycle all the stuff, participate in Greenpeace events, and so on?
Well, all of us have a particular lifestyle and some limits. If you can’t go fully green, there are still areas you can succeed in!
So, welcome four eco-friendly habits that will not steal much of your time but still help you contribute to the well-being of our planet!
Avoid Buying Monofunctional Items
One of the main aspects of sustainable living is conscious consumption. Before making any purchase, look at the product and ask yourself four questions:
- How else could I use it?
- Do I really need it?
- Do I already have something that performs the same function?
- Will it help me collect more dust in my room?
If the answer to the first question is ‘I don’t know,’ and to the second one, it is ‘no,’ it is another item you will forget about soon.
For instance, there is no sense in having three different detergents for laundry when there are all-purpose ones. You will mainly spend more time moving them around during a clean-up. If you need a corkscrew or a can opener, get yourself a utility knife instead of buying all kinds of tools.
When buying a bag, think about what you can carry in it and, subsequently, how often you will really use it. For example, if you need to carry your laptop around a lot, getting yourself another thin tote instead of a functional bag will not be quite reasonable – there will be a messy mixture of all your items and a laptop sticking out of this pile. Finally, you may have to buy another bag, specifically for the device. So, think carefully.
Such an approach is beneficial in many ways. First of all, you spend less money or the same amount in exchange for better products. Second, the fewer things you have, the easier it is to find what you need or move to another place. Third, cleaning takes much less time and effort if there are few things you have to dust or remove.
Do Not Throw Away What Can Still Be (Re)used
Nope, it is not a recommendation to hoard all kinds of stuff you may need in a decade or so. Yet, there are many things we throw away just because we do not need them at the moment. Try to remember how many times you have thought, ‘oh, I had a box/pen/book/etc. I could really use it right now.’ Well, it is too late now, isn’t it?
So, for instance, before throwing away a cup because of the broken handle, think about how you can use it. If you remove sharp edges, it can become a pot for a cactus or serve as a glass for your toothbrush. That way, you preserve resources, get yourself cheap alternatives, and do not waste your time on getting a glass you actually threw away a couple of weeks ago.
Sure, it may have a pretty design, but most likely, it is made of the same material and has the same shape – it is just marked as that specific glass you need to look for in a ‘specialized’ store. The point is – you don’t really need it. Those are marketing specialists who need you to do that.
Even if you know for sure that some things are of no avail for you, your roommate or, say, a classmate may put them to good use. There are charity foundations that may look for something you have. Try looking for some of them.
Of course, to change your mindset, you will need to make some effort. However, with time, you will not even have to ask yourself whether you can upcycle this or that item – you will just know what to do.
Choose Reusable Over Single-Use
The most popular green-living tip is the one about recycling, but busy students do not have much time for that. So, this recommendation is not about growing plants out of pencils or washing every bottle and packaging.
Instead, check what one-off items you use on a daily basis. Those can be cotton pads, cotton swabs, plastic bags for products, plastic bin bags, whole shaving sticks you need to throw away as soon as the blade’s edge turns, and so on. All these things have more sustainable alternatives.
You do not really need a bunch of eye patches; all put in separate packaging, while you can buy a recyclable jar with tens of those. You do not have to spend your money on plastic food wrap you can barely reuse. Meanwhile, a lunchbox will serve you for years, and those are usually recyclable, too.
A rechargeable mouse will save your pocket from extra spending on batteries and the environment – from toxic substances. In general, it is often about what products we are used to, so it is a matter of habit mainly. And if you look for alternatives regularly, gradually, you will make your lifestyle more sustainable without losing anything.
Modify Your Diet
To go green in all senses of the word, pay attention to what you eat and where you buy it.
First of all, buy more vegetables, fruits, and greens. Most of those do not even require any preparation except for washing, cutting, and mixing. That way, a lot of time will be saved. If you go further and get yourself a blender, smoothies may become your most time-saving meal. Just do not forget to wash the tools right after finishing.
In addition, growing plant food requires much fewer resources. According to the Good Food Institute and, specifically, research by Dettling, Tu, Faist, DelDuce, and Mandelbaum, substituting meat products with plant-based ones reduces:
- land use by 47-93%;
- greenhouse gas emissions by 30-90%;
- water use by 72-98%;
- water pollution by 51-77%.
It means that making plant food a larger share of your diet will also reduce your carbon footprint. For the same purpose, choose the products that go without special long-term packaging and, ideally, check where they are brought from. If the product is local, it means that the shipment was as eco-friendly as possible.
Finally, take your time to get used to the changes, and do not implement all of them at once. Otherwise, there is a chance of thinking only about your habits and lacking focus for your tasks, workshops, job, and so on.
As soon as you get adjusted to your new lifestyle, do an experiment to see how much time you would need to recycle if you start doing it full-scale. Who knows, maybe you will consider it as an option in the end!