Being a busy student on a budget often means store-bought meals and milk tea as a prime luxury. Not to say this lifestyle is necessarily bad. However, it’s not a sustainable one. When things come and go too quickly and life moves too fast, how must we live so our waste doesn’t get ahead of us? Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to start a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Invite your friends to dine in cafeterias, food courts, and hole-in-the-wall joints.
As a university student with barely the time and energy to cook and clean, I’m almost doomed to a life of takeout—a very wasteful lifestyle. The trick, I found, was to persuade other takeout-doomed university students to eat in various cafeterias, food courts, and hole-in-the-wall joints since most of them provide washable plates and utensils when you dine in. With good food and good company, it’s (almost) a win-win situation.
Buy snacks with reusable packaging.
Take note: we’re trying to reduce single-use plastics. When buying snacks, think about how long both the snack and the packaging will last on your shelf. Buying wafer rolls in a durable jar can last you months versus single-use plastic-packaged wafer sandwiches that’ll last a week at best. It makes a big difference and puts you in a better position to reuse and recycle.
In case you follow that irresistible craving for chips or biscuits, however, don’t be too hard on yourself! Compress your single-use plastics in eco-bricks. But remember not to use this too often as an excuse. As much as possible, eco-bricks should be your last resort.
In the chance that you use single-use plastic bottles, keep them.
Glass bottles and aluminum cans are always a better choice when buying beverages, mostly because they’re a lot easier to recycle. Although paying for them is easier said than done. Not everyone can afford that extra cost to avoid single-use plastic bottles all the time. In the chance that you’re forced to buy a beverage in a single-use plastic bottle, don’t hesitate to reuse the bottle. It can be used to make your next eco-brick!
Always bring a water bottle.
If you always bring a bottle of water around, you’ll never have to spend and throw away another single-use plastic bottle again. Think of it as an investment that’ll save you extra expenses in the future.
Learn to say no.
No doubt this piece of advice is easier said than done.
“One order of milk tea wouldn’t hurt, right?”
“What’s one cup of coffee to get me through the day?”
“In a sea of billions of people, one person using a straw just this once shouldn’t really matter.”
Then one straw leads to another and sooner or later, we’re living in plastic castles made of coffee and milk tea cups. The simple joys in life are sometimes too hard to resist, but if we keep thinking about “one more” then “one more” becomes an endless stream of saying “yes” to everything without checking its consequences in the long run. Sometimes, it’s easier to just say no.
Instead of being influenced, be the influence. Remember, change starts with you.