Tips to Stay Eco-friendly as a New Grad

The Spring semester is finally over. Congratulations on finishing to the graduating class of 2022! If, similarly to me, you are graduating this year, many changes are awaiting as you transition to the real world. To maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle, it is important to make intentional decisions from the get-go. Here are a few tips to be more eco-friendly as you slide into the next stage of your life.

Donate Unwanted Items: Over the past four years, you’ve most likely accumulated a bunch of items that you no longer need: science textbooks, outgrown clothes, mini fridge, etc. Given their low resale value, many students just throw them away. Before doing so, give these items a new home by passing them to underclassmen, who would absolutely appreciate the gesture. If no one wants your unwanted stuff, we’ve got you covered. Facilities Team Green and Grassroots are running two donation programs every end of year: Move-out Cleanout and Dump & Run. A variety of items are collected for the benefit of local charities and Grassroots, from canned food, electronics, to toiletries. You can find out more about the donation programs here.

Skip Useless Home Gadgets: If you start working full-time, it is tempting to splurge on the latest home gadget with your higher buying power. Before you add one to your cart, ponder if your frequency of use justifies the purchase. Single-function kitchen gadgets are the biggest culprit: bread maker, sandwich press, egg separator, banana slicer. Certain people might use them on a regular basis, but in most households, these items will simply collect dust and clutter your counter. Purchasing more intentionally will help you reduce clutter and your overall environmental footprint. As insignificant as your decision may seem, remember that every drop in the ocean counts.

Purchase Higher Quality Products: Once you’ve ruled out useless gadgets from your shopping list, make it a goal to purchase high quality products with a longer lifespan. In an era where consumerism and fast-fashion is prevalent, you can make a difference by investing in high quality items. A premium sweater that lasts years will cost you less over the long term; in contrast, a cheap one from a fast-fashion brand will fall apart after three washes. In addition to savings and waste reduction, high quality products with a Fairtrade certification remunerates farmers and workers properly.

Commute & Travel More Sustainably: The pandemic has turned many jobs remote, but most people still commute to work, especially as the viral threat phases out. As a new graduate, you first thought might be to get a car, like everyone else. However, it is worth considering cheaper and greener modes of transport. From biking, taking public transit, to carpooling, there are plenty of alternatives that have a far lower carbon footprint than driving a car. If a vehicle is indispensable, consider purchasing a hybrid or electric model. In addition to ground commuting, you might have to fly to meet clients overseas. Here again, you can monitor and lower your environmental impact with Google Flight’s handy carbon
emissions estimates.

Written by Kelly Jean, Class of 2022
Photo Credit: Unsplash