I am so excited to share with you something I am super passionate about...SUSTAINABILITY! Sustainability means maintaining something, often to benefit the future. To me, sustainability means taking care of our planet.
When I was a freshman at Biola, I interned at a second hand clothing app and my eyes were opened to the reality of our environment. I started researching and educating myself on what I could do to help our planet, and more specially our environment. It quickly became something I am passionate about and I love telling others about it. Now, I try to use my social media accounts and actions to speak up for the planet and fight for God’s creation.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you make some easy sustainable swaps in college!
I also want to make a clarification. Some of these swaps are not possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most coffee shops and grocery stores will not allow for personal cups or reusable bags during this time to stop the spread. But make sure to ask your local stores to stay informed. Even if you have to use a bag from the store, get creative! You can use them as trash bags or to help with storage.
- Buy second hand (thrift) or sustainable
This tip is easy and fun. A huge contribution to our landfills is our clothing. I am so guilty of buying clothes then only wearing them once and then they just live in my closet. I also used to buy a lot of fast fashion items that would tear and would become trash after one wear. But now I only buy second hand or sustainably. Second hand clothing means you are not the first owner and you are saving it from the trash. There are so many apps like Depop and Poshmark where you can buy or sell used clothes. These are such a great resource, especially in college. Another great alternative is going to thrift stores. This is so much fun to do! You are able to find truly unique pieces.
You can also shop sustainable, meaning clothing made sustainably. This means buying clothes that have a less harmful environmental impact, and they are not made in mass production or sweatshops.This can get expensive but there are still some affordable brands out there. When I buy a new piece of clothing, I do my research to see when they make their products. The shirt I am wearing right now is made on-demand, this way they do not waste any extra material or product.
Overall, the best sustainable practice when it comes to clothing is to shop minimalist. That means you aren’t purchasing more than you need, and when you do purchase something you know you will enjoy it for a long time to come.
2. Purchase reusable items
A huge part of being sustainable is limiting your use of single use items as these items fill up landfills quickly! In the long run it is cost-effective and eco-friendly buying items you can use more than once. Some examples of these items are anything from dryer sheet balls (which can be used for 100+ loads rather than using a single sheet each time) to even reusable utensil kits and makeup pads.
3. Bring your own cup to coffee shops
This is really a win win. Most coffee shops serve their coffee in single use plastic that can not be properly repurposed. So, what can you do? You can bring in your own coffee cup! Not only will this sometimes earn you a discount on your drink, but it is also an opportunity to show off your mugs and cups.
4. Use a Hydroflask
This is another great way to express yourself. Plastic water bottles are thrown out daily and often get lost in our oceans and hurt animals. Something as simple as using a reusable water bottle can help reduce our plastic waste and it keeps your water colder longer.
5. Reuse containers
I actually just redecorated my room at home and used a lot of glass and containers I already had. My desk is full of thrifted or repurposed glass. This is so easy! A lot of times we don’t even need to look for these items, most times they come to us. Glass bottle soda bottles are a favorite of mine to use for vases. Some other examples are a peanut butter jar or a candle jar. You can really get creative with this one. My roommate even reuses kombucha bottles for her flower vases.
6. Bring your own to-go containers
When you are out to eat, instead of asking for a box, you can bring your own. So many times the boxes they give you are flimsy and plastic, but this way you have something sturdier and reusable. This is something that is both cute and functional.
7. Bring tote bags to the grocery store
Tote bags!! Who does not love a good tote bag? I always keep a few in my car in case I need to go grocery shopping. This way I do not have to buy bags when I’m at the store or have to buy another plastic bag that will most likely end up in a landfill. A lot of my favorite tote bags are from Trader Joe's and also around $5. A lot of these sustainable swaps will not even come close to breaking the bank, even for us broke college students.
I also wanted to share this Bible verse with you guys that has helped keep me accountable. I hope this blog has been educational and encouraging for you! Remember, “We do not need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” - Anne Marie Bonneau
You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”