Although the term “zero-waste” essentially means reducing waste/making as little as possible of a detrimental, environmental impact on the world, it’s definitely something that I’ve personally been making strides for since late last year. What I’ve enjoyed most about being a college student is having the availability and freedom to start creating and practicing lifestyle habits that coincide with my beliefs; specifically, in this case, my beliefs about consumerism, materialism, and sustainability. Making the switch to incorporating zero-waste products and practices on a college budget with a college schedule is challenging and gradual, but the results are fulfilling, nonetheless. Below are a few zero-waste swaps that are usually not shared or considered, but are doable and cost-effective. There are many more all over the internet (if it interests you) that I’ve also incorporated into my lifestyle.
- Plastic Water Bottles: instead, use a simple stainless steel or glass bottle that you can refill throughout the day and keep up with.
- Plastic Disposable Razors: instead, use a stainless-steel safety razor with reusable blades
- Plastic Toothbrushes: instead, buy a pack of bamboo toothbrushes on amazon or a general store. use these brushes as you would any other brush and thoroughly brush to improve oral health.
- Paper To-Go Coffee Cups: instead, use compostable or reusable ceramic coffee cups
- Disposable Plastic Cutlery: instead, use stainless-steel, bamboo, or a biodegradable travel sporks and utility knives (optional: in addition, stainless steel straws)
- Paper Towels: instead use, small reusable cloths
- Makeup Remover Wipes: instead, use a washcloth and apply coconut oil or almond oil to the cloth (or face), then use the cloth to wipe your entire makeup off.
My biggest advice is to take the time to search online for websites and articles that address sustainability and consumerism in the modern world, and watch YouTube videos to get ideas and suggestions on what to do, what to buy, and what not to do in order to reduce waste. I still have a lot of changes to make—and many of which will take years to implement—however, getting into small habits now in college will make a world of a difference in the long-run.