A living room filled with furniture and a fire place  Description automatically generated

With the fast-paced workload of online school and the amount of seemingly never-ending assignments, it can be easy to neglect your home. I moved into an apartment for this school year with 2 roommates and we were all so excited to be truly living independently and to have our own place. However, one of the downsides of independent living is seeing how much waste we made every week. This inspired me to try and live more sustainably and try to make less waste. 

Head with gearsWhat does it mean to live a sustainable life?

“Living sustainably is about choices and behaviours, both big and small, that enhance our lives, care for our environment and encourage us to live within our means.

A sustainable community and world is one that supports itself and its surroundings. It is the practice of reducing our impact on the earth’s natural resources, reducing our carbon footprint and living healthier lives.”

Source: Sustainability Victoria

Living a truly sustainable life is difficult and can take a lot of adjustment, but there are still some small actions that we can do to adopt this lifestyle.

1. Recycle properly!!

Many items that are recycled are unusable because they are either contaminated with food or liquids or not disposed of properly. So rinse out containers before you recycle them. Make sure that what you are recycling can be recycled. 

You can also refer to this website for more tips on how to recycle properly.

2. Try composting!

You can buy compost bins from Walmart or home hardware (or any home improvement stores). Composting can drastically reduce the waste you make at home. Some items that you can compost include:A vase of flowers on a table  Description automatically generated

  • Fruits and vegetable
  • Coffee grinds and filters
  • Eggshells
  • Teabags
  • Paper and cardboard

Composting helps to reduce methane emissions made from landfills and your carbon footprint. 

Source: EPA

3. If you have a dishwasher, use it more frequently!

Dishwashers are actually more eco-friendly than hand-washing dishes! A standard dishwasher uses about 9-11 litres of water per wash, while hand-washing dishes uses about 60 litres. Dishwashers can save around 18,000 litres per year, and most dishwashers also have an eco cycle, so you can save more water.

Source: Bosch Home 

4. Buy second-hand items.

You can easily find furniture on Facebook Marketplace or some university Facebook groups. Many upper years will also give furniture away for free because they don’t need it anymore. This saves furniture from landing into landfills and you can also save some money!

These simple tips are just the starting point on living a more sustainable life. I believe that it is better to start small than to do nothing. And although, as students, we live very busy lives, if we put some effort towards making more eco-friendly choices, it will greatly benefit our futures and the health of the planet. 

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