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Going Green with a Student Wallet

The main reason why most students choose not to transition into environmental-friendly lifestyles is because of the misconceptions surrounding it, especially the idea that going green is not student budget-friendly. Sure, alternatives like sustainable fashion and solar panels are more expensive than their seemingly cheap yet harmful counterparts. These options are actually a lot cost-efficient in the long-term, but that’s another long story. With this, we share with you practical ways to reduce waste at a student-friendly budget.

Contrary to popular opinion, it is not necessary to buy metal straws to “save the turtles.” Make do with what you currently have. Before you head out to purchase a new bamboo toothbrush, try to check your cabinet or toiletries baskets if you still have extra plastic ones left. Don’t throw these out, use these first! When going grocery, organize your pantry, check every nook of your home, and keep a checklist of only the things you need to restock--and stick to it.

Contrary to popular opinion, it is not necessary to buy metal straws to “save the turtles.” Make do with what you currently have. Before you head out to purchase a new bamboo toothbrush, try to check your cabinet or toiletries baskets if you still have extra plastic ones left. Don’t throw these out, use these first! When going grocery, organize your pantry, check every nook of your home, and keep a checklist of only the things you need to restock--and stick to it.

If you cannot commit to a completely zero-waste lifestyle, maximize the capacity of each material you have at home. You can keep those unused boxes for future use, like carrying stuff when moving out and those single-use plastics as garbage bins. Keep those ribbons and gift wrappers from your presents; you might use it for your art projects. Turn jam jars and glass bottles into pencil holders or pots for your little army of plants.

While we’re at it, you can use this opportunity to create more green spaces within your apartment. Given the limited space, try setting up vertical gardens of ornamental plants or vegetables (you decide) by the window or your desk. Not only does this promote the conservation of nature within urban areas, plants are a breath of fresh air — literally and figuratively! Plants are good for one’s mental health as it makes us more calm and relaxed, consequently decreasing the levels of anxiety.

If you can, print your documents double sided; use both sides of blank bond papers. If you have thesis drafts commented with revisions by your professor, you can use the other blank side. Speaking from personal experience, I asked my classmates and my parents’ officemates for scratch papers and kept them in a folder, so I use this to write reviewers, words dump, and math problems solutions. You can do the same! If you need certain books, try asking around for second-hand ones, and vice-versa. Declutter and donate.

6.6 is fast-approaching, but keep in mind, “You do not need that new cute top!” Ever since the pandemic, a lot of people turned to online shopping as a coping mechanism. That entails a ton of bubble wraps and packaging wastes, but the thing is, modern capitalism has wired us to thinking that we need this or that, when we really don’t. Receiving your parcels does give you the rush of serotonin boost or “panandaliang kasiyahan,” but what about the aftermath? Most of the cheap stuff you find online (for example, fast fashion) are not only harmful for the environment, these are also most likely produced in sweatshops with cheap labor and inhumane working conditions for their employees. There are a lot of productive hobbies that can keep your mind off pressing “check out” every once in a while, you just need to discover what works best for you!

Reducing your carbon footprint is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to go green, and all you need is discipline. Close the tap water when not in use, and instead use a glass of water when toothbrushing. Turn off the lights when it’s still bright outside. Dine at home instead of always going out. During Post-COVID, walk to your school; we’re pretty sure you’ve chosen a home that is not distant from your university. Should you commute, however, try carpooling!

Look up for low-waste and durable swaps, especially for your wear and tear essentials like backpacks, water tumblers, reusable tote bags, refillable ballpens, lunchboxes, and utensils. Beware though, for companies that use green-washing to advertise the eco-friendliness of their products.

To sum everything up, you need to be mindful and conscious of the consequences of your actions. If there’s one thing you should take away from this, is to educate yourself on the environmental issues; a lot of students do not realize that climate change is not real because their personal lives are not impacted by its adverse effects, but all of us have a responsibility to take care of Mother Earth. What we really need is collective effort to push structural change in our environmental legislation, but it’s these little things and habits we do each day that leave an impact.

We know young college students are always busy with academics, socializing, and personal life, but it doesn’t hurt to integrate an eco-friendly mindset shift and adjustments into these.

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