Hello, lovely people on the internet. Welcome or welcome back to Cara A Carmen. I’m so glad you’re here. As highschoolers and college students, it can be so easy to fall into the trap of consumerism, so in this post, I am going to give you 12 zero-low waste swaps for students.
Have you ever wondered if you could be doing more, even if it was only a simple swap? Well today, you will find 12 easy habits or swaps you can start today. Remember it’s not about doing it perfectly, it’s just about trying.
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
– Anne Marie Bonneau
*DISCLAIMER: This post may or may not contain affiliate links. An affiliate link allows me to make a small profit at no extra cost to you. Find more information in the disclaimer.
1. Reusable water bottle
One of the easiest swaps to stick to is using a reusable water bottle instead of plastic one. By using a reusable water bottle, you will save an average of 156 plastic bottles per year . That’s pretty insane.
A reusable water bottle has a higher upfront cost, but will save you money over time. In fact, using a reusable bottle will save you $200 annually (yep, you can be saving money just from not buying a plastic bottle) .
If this doesn’t push you over then how about this statistic, 91% of plastic isn’t recycled . As consumers we are under the impression that everything or at least most things that get thrown into the bin are being recycled, but this isn’t the case.
For my reusable water bottle, I have been loving my Hydro Flask. This bottle is awesome, but a little bit pricey (just make sure you buy a bottle that is high quality, so it’ll last).
2. Print double-sided
Printing documents double-sided will save paper. It is best to not print at all, but if you have to, then this will help.
By printing double-sided, you will be saving half the amount of paper you were going to use before. You will also reduce the amount of energy used and save money. Having less paper is a plus for students because you don’t have to carry more than you have to around school.
3. Use the Libby App
Instead of buying new books, just check them out at the library. You can also use e-books on a device like a Kindle. My Kindle is my favorite way to read books, but the Kindle books on Amazon can be a bit pricey, especially if you like to read a lot.
That’s why I started using the Libby App. By using the Libby library app, you can save money and paper. It is a digital library where you can download e-books or audio books straight to your device. You can rent a book for up to 2 weeks and then return it.
This app is the best way to save the environment while still indulging in your favorite books. To use the app you also don’t need a physical library card and can create a digital one which is also a plus because you aren’t having to create waste.
4. Buy books used instead of new
If you really need the physical copy of a book to annotate in, then you should buy the book used or rent it. You can find used books on Amazon or stores like Half Priced books. These books are usually cheaper and will save paper.
For textbooks, you can also download the ebook version so you don’t even have to waste paper. There are also programs where you can rent a textbook at the beginning of the year and then return it at the end.
5. Resell or donate used books and textbooks
Once you are done with old or used books and textbooks you should resell or donate them. You can donate them to a local thrift store or store that accepts used books. You can sell your books at stores such as Half Priced Books or online websites
It is also a good idea to give your friends or family members books that you know they would use and enjoy.
6. Make digital flashcards
Instead of making physical flashcards and spending the time and energy to write them, you should be making digital flashcards. To do this, use the website called Quizlet.
You can easily connect it to your Google account and make a set of flashcards within minutes. I use it to study for my English and Spanish vocabulary.
Digital flashcards take less time to create and save tons of paper. They allow you to spend more time studying and less time writing out 100 flashcards.
7. Edit documents on GoogleDocs
Instead of printing out essays to edit them, edit using GoogleDocs. You can do this by using the comment or suggestions feature.
This will save you time and paper since you don’t have to print anything and rush to get the hot documents right from your printer Also, Google Docs is awesome because everything saves automatically, so you don’t need to ever worry about losing your work.
8. Bike, walk, or carpool
Most people drive with a parent or by themselves to school, but this can waste a lot of gas and emit tons of carbon emissions. If you live close to your school, then try biking or walking. You will be able to get in some exercise before the start of your day and spend time outdoors.
If you live farther away from your school (like I do), then carpool with a neighbor. This makes mornings a lot more fun since you don’t have to ride alone with a parent and you get to be saving the environment while you do so.
Ohhh ya! We love doing little things that benefit us and the environment.
9. Invest in a high-quality backpack
You don’t need to be buying a backpack every year. Instead, invest in one that you can use for all four years of high school or college.
My favorite brands of backpacks are Patagonia, North Face, and Jansport. I have been using my North Face backpack for the past 2 years, and it still looks good as new.
10. Pass down notes at end of school year
If you have a friend or sibling who is going to take a class you already took, then give them your notes. Only do this though if your writing is legible and the notes will actually be useful.
This will help them study and give more use to your items without having to immediately throw them out. It will also hopefully help them be more successful in the class.
11. Sustainable period products
For all my menstruating humans out there, this one’s for you. It’s time to ditch the single-use tampons and pads. You are wasting so much money and harming the environment.
You should (if you are able) be using a menstrual cup, cloth pads, or period underwear. These are all sustainable options that’ll prevent the insane build-up of period waste.
If you want specific brand suggestions, then make sure to send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org or through my contact page. You can also comment on this post if you’d be interested in a post about sustainable period alternatives. Just let me know!
12. Skip the vending machine
Chips, sodas, and candies look so tempting when you’ve been sitting in a classroom for 8 hours, but don’t do it. Don’t insert your money, your one dollar. Vending machines waste so much of your money and you don’t even realize it. You might think it’s only a dollar, but that dollar builds up over time.
Vending machines also use unnecessary plastics and most of the food or drinks in them are unhealthy and not good for you, so it’s just best to skip them altogether. Skipping the vending machine will save your wallet, improve your health, and help the environment.
12 Zero-Low Waste Swaps For Students:
- Reusable water bottle
- Print double-sided
- Use the Libby App
- Buy books used instead of new
- Resell or donate used books and textbooks
- Make digital flashcards
- Edit documents on GoogleDocs
- Bike, walk, or carpool
- Invest in a high-quality backpack
- Pass down notes at end of school year
- Sustainable period products
- Skip the vending machine
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How do you stay sustainable as a student? Share your tips and hacks in the comments below!
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