College in a foreign land is no doubt stressful. You’re extremely busy with schoolwork, your social life, and just simply adjusting to a new place. Being busy though is not an excuse to forget your responsibilities as a citizen! Here are 7 ways on how to be a more eco-friendly traveler while studying abroad.
Instead of taking down notes on sheets of paper, try using your laptop or tablet as a new note-taking device! It does not only save paper, but is also a faster way to jot down notes during class. There are several templates online that you may use in Word or Pages! Another option is to use Evernote. It is a digital notebook where you can divide your notes into classes to keep them as organized as you can!
Rent or buy used textbooks
This goes hand in hand with going paperless. You can rent or buy used textbooks on Amazon, your local library, or even from senior batches in your university! This hits two birds with one stone as it does not only save paper but money as well.
Use reusable shopping bags
Make the switch and avoid using plastic shopping bags. There are several types of reusable shopping bags, from canvas bags to nylon bags. If you are the type who often forgets to bring their own shopping bag, you can hang it by your door so you may quickly grab it before you leave. This tip is also a great money-saver as asking for a paper or plastic bag adds an additional charge to your budgeted finances as a student studying abroad.
Prepare your meals
When grocery shopping, it is better to buy in bulk rather than in small quantities as that would mean more packaging. Exploring the different dining halls, restaurants, and cafes in the new city may sound exciting. However, this is not only pricey, but also entails a lot of used plastic bags and plastic containers that will be used for take out. If you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen in your dorm, try planning out your meals for the week and cook them in batches to decrease energy used when cooking. This saves precious time for you to continue your studies and work if you are taking a part-time job. Store the meals in reusable containers and refrigerate so you may just pop them in the microwave when you’re ready to eat!
Bring your own utensils, bowls, and water bottles
It is important to take note of how much plastic is being used for our everyday utensils. Most dining halls serve food in paper plates or even styrofoam bowls. To reduce waste, opt to bring your own set of utensils and washable, microwave-safe bowls. Don’t forget to also bring your own water bottle! This will save you from buying single-use plastic water bottles. Lastly, invest in a water filter so you’ll have drinking water in your dorm all the time. This is also a great budget-friendly tip to keep in mind, as you won’t have to allocate funds to buy utensils or repeatedly spend on plastic water bottles, especially since they are more expensive abroad.
Use recycling bins
Dorm spaces are tiny but that is not an excuse to not segregate! Instead of having one huge trash can where you throw all types of garbage in, try having three small cans. Label them as recyclables, biodegradable, and non-biodegradable. It is important to separate your waste for them to be able to properly recycle! This allows you to positively contribute to the country’s environment, even as a tourist!
Bike, walk, and use public transportation
Although it is more convenient to have your own car, it is no doubt harmful to the environment. Instead, bike or walk around your campus. If you want to go and explore the city you’ll be living in for the next few years, public transportation will be your best friend! There are tons of buses, trains, and other forms of transportation that allows you to conserve energy! This is a great way to learn more about your new home and make new friends.
It is important to be conscious of what you buy, what you eat, and what you do because it affects the environment. As early as now, create positive habits that will definitely go a long way! After all, we are the future of the world, and it’s never too early to act now.