The push for being more eco-friendly continues. However, as a college student, it can be tough to figure out how to work towards this cause or how to effectively help keep the environment safe and clean. This has been something I’ve tried to learn about and focus on a lot more this year. Though I would not consider myself perfect at this by any means I have learned several things that have helped me try to care for the earth more while also being a college student.
Yes I know this seems like the typical and obvious thing to do but you would be surprised how many people neglect the practice of recycling and don’t realize the benefits of it. Recycling is very easy to do but can make a big difference. First of all, recycling helps to reduce the size of landfills because it involves utilizing waste products in a productive way. Speaking of which, recycling also helps to conserve natural resources. Though the items you recycle may seem useless, they can actually be reused over and over again so that new resources do not have to be exploited. Just make sure that you are recycling items that can be recyclable as there are some items that cannot be recycled. Most cities have a list that indicates items that can and can not be recycled. (Here is Charlotte’s)
Use eco-friendly products
I do think this is something that people have gotten much better at over the years and it is something that any college student can also help with. There are many ways to go about using eco friendly products in everyday life. When you go to the grocery store or go shopping, use reusable bags instead of a bunch of plastic bags. Instead of using a plastic straw every time you have a drink, carry around your own reusable rubber or metal straw. Also, instead of using a bunch of plastic water bottles every time you want water, invest in a reusable BPA-free water bottle. I drink a lot of water throughout the day and recently got a giant reusable water bottle that I only have to fill up once or twice a day. It makes life a lot easier and is also good for the environment.
Donating and thrifting
These two tips go hand in hand. Rather than throwing out old clothes that you don’t wear anymore, consider donating them to a local shelter or to those in need. You can also sometimes sell your clothes at consignment stores and thrift stores and make money (something we all need as college students). Also thrifting for clothes is a great way to help the environment while also finding some unique and trendy articles of clothing. Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world. 32 billion garments of clothing are produced for the U.S. market each year but 64% of them end up in a landfill. Thrifting is a much more sustainable option. Returning one clothing item back into the circular economy reduces its carbon footprint by 82%. Buying second-hand helps contribute to decreasing the worldwide textile demand and keep plastic out of the landfills. Because less resources are used, less resources are wasted. I’ve learned that thrifting helps you to keep the resources that were used to create the clothing items from going to waste. (Here are thrifting tips)
Now for some miscellaneous tips. Remember to turn off light switches and lamps when you aren’t using them in order to save energy. Also, when brushing your teeth, washing your face or taking a shower, try not to leave the water running when it is unnecessary. This will help to conserve water.
Just making a few simple changes to your everyday life can have great benefits for our planet. Though it may not feel like you are doing much, remember that every bit helps and you are capable of making a difference.