Have you ever wondered how to be sustainable as a student in college? Or what sustainable changes you can make to your lifestyle that are budget friendly? You may think that the small efforts you make won’t really make a difference; the good news is that you actually can! A major part of being sustainable includes consuming less which is perfect for people who want to stay on budget. Here are some ways you can help the environment without hurting your wallet.
- Growing your own food
Starting your own garden for commonly used vegetables and herbs is a great way to save money and avoid food wastage. Many vegetables such as spring onions and celery are fairly easy to grow; just submerge the roots in water and cut off the stalk when it grows and is ready for use! You can also compost food waste such as fruit peels, scraps and coffee grounds and use it as a natural fertilizer for your plants. Another benefit of growing vegetables and herbs at home is it would save you a trip to the grocery store thus reducing your carbon footprint and reducing transportation costs. Plants also improve air quality and can act as a great odor neutralizer!
- Investing in Reusable Products
Single use plastics are a major contributor to pollution. Switching to reusable items would not only greatly reduce the pollution caused by single use plastics but also save you much more money! Reusable cloth bags, mugs, straws and utensils are what might come to mind but there are many more products out there! Beeswax wraps for example are a good alternative to plastic wrap. Reusable cotton rounds are also great to use as makeup wipes. Try looking for reusable alternatives to the single use plastic products you currently use.
- Buy second hand
Whether it is clothing, household items, or books, you can always find a cheaper second hand alternative. By buying second hand you’ll increase the length of a product’s lifecycle and save it from going to waste while it still has value.
- Walk, bike or use public transportation
Avoid using a personal car when you can. For example if it is a short enough distance try to walk or bike and if it’s too far, try carpooling or using public transportation. This will reduce your CO2 emissions and also save you money. Not to mention, walking and biking are good ways to keep you active and healthy even if you don’t exercise at the gym regularly!
This is not an exhaustive list. There are many other budget friendly ways to be sustainable such as reducing electricity usage by turning off lights and appliances when not in use, resorting to DIY products when you can instead of buying from the store and being wary of your water consumption. Hopefully you can apply some of these tips to your daily life with almost no cost at all!
Written by Hanyia Ahmed, Class of 2022