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Being eco-friendly while on a college budget

Hannah Hale

If you have ever tried to live an eco-friendly life, or have researched it, you know that it is not so soft on the budget. After learning this, many people discard the idea of a “green” lifestyle and carry on with their lives with no change. This is especially true for young adults in college because most of us live on ten dollars and ramen noodles and our budgets have no sustenance to support the lifestyle change. With that being said, I am here to help! I have several ways you can be more eco-friendly on a college budget.

The first way is by ditching the bottled water from the store and purchasing a reusable water bottle. About 60 million water bottles are thrown away each day for a total of around 22 billion each year. Not to mention the fact that it takes a toll on your budget in the long-term compared to the reusable alternative. I recommend purchasing a Brita filter and a reusable water bottle. The Brita is optional, but it will make the tap water much safer to drink by filtering out harmful substances. This one-time expense may seem like a lot just to drink water, but it saves you money in the long term, and you are being healthier as well. The chemicals and harmful substances in bottled water can really mess up your body, so this is beneficial to us and the environment.

Another way you can cut down drinking cup waste is by taking your own cup to Starbucks. About 60 million paper cups in America wind up in landfills since they cannot be recycled easily. Starbucks wants to try and reduce that number, so they give a ten cent discount when you bring your own cup in. Once again, it helps your budget and the earth.

A lot of being eco-friendly is utilizing reusable products, so a reusable bag or bags can make a difference concerning waste. Plastic bags are given out in almost every shop in the United States, but you can avoid this by bringing your own bags to the store. You can find reusable bags practically anywhere and most of them are pretty easy on the money. Use these rather than plastic bags and help reduce the 1 trillion plastic bags that are thrown away each year.

Some of us may get a lot of physical junk mail due to companies having our address through things like memberships or rewards programs. If you are being honest, how often do you actual read, use, or even pay attention to this mail? Odds are that you do not really utilize these resources. You can cut down on paper waste by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) and get off unwanted mailing lists. Save the paper by just browsing and shopping online.

Speaking of shopping, a great way to help the environment while really helping the budget is buying secondhand clothes. Stores like Goodwill and Plato’s Closet have some pretty neat things to buy. You can find brand name clothes for a huge fraction of the cost, and you are reducing waste! Do not be embarrassed or grossed out by secondhand clothing or stores, you can wash the items you purchase and save so much money.

I hope these little tips helped you see that going green is not impossible on a strict budget. I also hoped this inspired you to do these things and research other ways to live a better life for yourself and the earth we live alongside. It may not seem like you are doing much, but know that even the smallest changes can change the world. Think about it, if everyone made little changes to their lifestyle, the impact would be huge! Do not think that your contribution does not matter because it truly does. This planet is our home and it gives us so much. We should give back what we take by doing our best to take care of her.

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