Wednesday, September 30, 2020

University Students Guide To Sustainability

Sustainability is a topic that is becoming popular. And rightly so. Caring about our home has never been more important. I think that the word ‘sustainable’ seems to have many attachments to it and instantly appears to have a price tag. Yes, it is true that many sustainable brands can be expensive but spending hundreds of pounds for an ethically sourced item isn’t the only way you can look after the planet. The truth is that being sustainable doesn’t have to be costly, the key is to be resourceful. Being a university student and using ethical products are not mutually exclusive. Here are a few of my tips on how to do so based on my current favourite methods.

Shop Preloved

Purchasing second-hand items is such an easy and affordable way to care for our planet. By prolonging the life of these items, you're saving them from the tip. I've been searching the preloved markets since before I even started blogging, I don't know whether it's the natural curiosity in this business student about what's available or the part of me that loves a good deal. One of the positives that came out of this year is that many people my age have finally started appreciating charity and vintage shops. Around 350,000 tones of clothing ends in landfill every year in the UK alone. The Big Ben weighs 13.7 tonnes. With so much technology around us, we are surrounded with reselling platforms. Depop, eBay, Gumtree, Vestiaire Collective, you name it. It’s also a good idea to search the second-hand market for the fast fashion piece you have your eye on. I understand that the thought of completely cutting ties with the current popular retailers is daring, so why not purchase a piece from them that someone else no longer wants? You will extend the life of the item of clothing, still pay a very low price and not contribute to the retailer directly. Depop alone has tens of thousands of pieces from Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing and Misguided to name a few.  Even if you only manage to order a third of your order second hand, you have still minimised the amount you ordered directly from the sweatshops.

Reuse Packaging

This is by far the easiest alteration you can make in your day-to-day life. I remember learning about reusing, reducing and recycling in primary school but for some reason that quote only associated with plastic bottles in my mind. The truth is that this applies to so many objects around us.  I’m sure that during this year you have ordered plenty of parcels. What did you do with the packaging they came in? Instead of binning it straight away, give it another purpose. Cut out your address, grab some tape and pop the top you just sold on Depop inside. I also recommend doing this with any plastic bags you have from any shopping trips. Not sending out any post? No worries, hide your address and use the wrapping as a general bin bag.

Minimise Your Need for Plastic Bags

Just buy yourself one of those totes at the checkout for a couple of pounds. Not only are they reusable and will last you a very long time, they also fit more and won’t split in half mid walk home. For those interested in a more fashionable alternative, the internet is filled with cotton tote bags. From independent businesses that opened during lockdown personalising totes to worldwide companies such as Lush selling them, you will find one you like. Carrying a reusable bag really is a simple step to introduce into your routine. A one-off, small purchase that ensures you do not need to rely on plastic alternatives. 

Naked Products

Next time you need to buy soap, go for a bar instead of a bottle. Simple. There is a vast number of naked products available- shampoo bars, facial cleansers, makeup brush cleaners. My personal favourite are hair conditioner bars, they last so long. I let the temperature of the steam soften it slightly before applying directly to my hair. However, you can also create a lather in your hands like with soap and then coat your hair in it. Personal preference.  The packaging free product market is growing every day, you can even buy reusable makeup pads that you wash in-between uses rather than throw away. It’s worth your time to see what’s available and decide what suits you best. Very often the solid alternatives last longer than the liquid version too.

Of course, this is just the beginning of a very long list. We all still have a long way to go and as time goes on, new possibilities will become available to us. As long as we are reasonable and resourceful, making slight alternations in our lifestyle shouldn’t be too bumpy.

K x

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