Do you like the sibilance there? Spiffy, isn’t it.
I would just like to preface this by saying that I do this ‘sustainability’ as a term is widely misused across modern environmental-focussing media. However, the alliteration here was too precious to avoid so I do apologise. As we progress towards a new academic year, it feels like a great time for new beginnings. And if you are also feeling that same urge to refresh and renew, hopefully these habits and steps will accelerate you towards enjoying a more eco-friendly Autumn 🙂
Have a go at meal planning and prepping
Meal planning eliminates food waste, a huge polluter and problem worldwide. Additionally it saves time and money! You’ll notice that what is good for the planet will be mutually beneficial. With meal planning, you can have control over what you eat and make it easier to eat nutritiously. Think of what versatile foods you can buy, and arrange them to suit your diet. I’m not the greatest expert on this but it’s less overwhelming than you would expect. Scout YouTube for tips and advice, and away we go!
Consider digital planning
Are you actually going to fill that paper planner you bought on a whim in WHSmith because you falsely convinced yourself you’d use it this time? I know the feeling. You treat yourself to fancy planner, convincing yourself that you will use it. But then, after a month (if even that) it falls out of use. This is where digital planning had an advantage. There is no limit, you can add information in after you have written something. You can erase and organise with built-in algorithms (such as Notion) and it’s more transportable. Although using a laptop/phone/tablet uses energy, it’s not as significant as cutting down a tree and processing it into paper, transporting it etc. Most planners are dated, meaning they can’t be used effectively after the time has passed (but you can definitely go back and repurpose them) If it doesn’t work for you, that’s okay, but digital planning has its advantages. The feeling of a physical to-do list is nice as well. Whatever floats your boat, just don’t be hesitant to give it a go!
Take a packed lunch to your school or workplace? Make it vegan.
It’s a minor detail but it adds up over time. By simply swapping some animal products in your lunch for beans and pulses, you are reducing your carbon footprint. You may also find that it’s more energising as well. Try to take out plastic where it is unnecessary. Do you really need to wrap up your sandwiches? Could you swap the individual packets of crisps for a large packet and just put in a portion size each day?
Reconsider what stationary you are going to buy for the new academic year
Now there are more alternatives out there to the basic plastic biro. Refillables are still quite expensive, although it means you’re keeping the same plastic casing and changing the ink instead of the whole pen. I use paper pens with soy ink, that are biodegradable and easier to recycle. I’ve had mine for over a year and they haven’t run out yet – it’s brilliant. Is it really necessary to buy new stationary in the first place, or is there some at home for you to use up? Don’t feel ashamed for still using plastic biros if that’s what you have. Use up your current resources before buying into ‘sustainable’ swaps purely for the eco-friendly ‘aesthetic’.
Try out your eBook library, in-person library, and avoid buying books new
Millions of books get pulped each year. It’s a serious problem, as many are from new trees (despite being FSC certified). Libraries are a wonderful free resource you can take advantage of, and if you need to annotate search for second-hand copies or eBooks. Buying new really isn’t preferable, and the best way to buy new is from indie booksellers that can be on the pricey side. Students, we’re not the richest people in the world, take advantage of the free resources available to you 🙂
I hope you have found this post helpful. Although these are small changes, when developed into habits they’ll give you a great head-start to the academic year while also causing less harm to our dear Mother Earth. If you have any questions, comments, tips and advice please leave them below so we can help each other out and live greener!
Writer of The Ecolytical Blog
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