Under the wide spectrum of all the topics that can fall under Save Ourselves, apart from mental health, physical, environmental and social health are also some factors which cannot be overlooked! This was the original intent with which I'd started this blog back when I was 16. But since it's a VERY wide range of topics, it seems difficult to cover all the topics. But from time to time, my intention is to incorporate a few blog posts regarding these three aspects as well.
So today I'm starting off with a simple but relatable topic and it's about what each of us can do to become a little more environmental friendly. There is a lot of awareness about this aspect and its even trending amongst our generation which is great, but not all of them are the small every-day steps we can practise. So here is my effort of providing you with 1o simple yet contributive habits that each of us can incorporate in our daily life as a student to become a little more environment friendly.
Stationery and supplies
Using refillable pens is the smallest step we ALL can take and it is very practical to do. You'll be creating a lot less waste if you throw away an empty refill instead of throwing away an entire used up pen. You're saving on the electricity, man power and material that went behind manufacturing that pen. Using gel pens/ ball pens which can be refilled, using ink pens which require you to fill up the ink from a bottle instead of throwing away an empty cartridge everytime is a great way to be a little environment conscious on the basic level.
2) Notebook > Paper
(I am an architecture student and am constantly guilty of generating a lot of paper waste so me saying this is essentially a hypocritic statement, but hey, forgive me)
We all end up losing any loose paper we use or in the end, it goes into the trash. Loose papers are harder to manage and find their way rather easily to the waste paper basket. Using tear off pads, memo pads, more than the necesarry amount of sticky notes also is a form of loose paper usage. Using a notebook to write down whatever we need to ensures that the papers stay intact. Also, notebooks are fun to maintain! And when we are done with that notebook we can always pocket the cash we get after giving it to our raddiwala. Win-win situation people!
3) Filling up the notebook!
Maybe you're already using notebook instead of loose paper for your notes or other student things. But don't we always feel the temptation to start our new semesters afresh with a whole new set of notebooks? (This feeling is universal, so trust me on this one) So what happens is, many a times, these forgotten notebooks of the previous semester lie in our bookshelves just half filled and then are thrown away just like that! If we instead finish these up for doing our homework or other miscellaneous purposes, you might just end up saving the cost and paper of one whole fresh notebook. And if you, I and everyone does that, that's a lot of paper saved. Give it a thought.
4) Reusing files/ folders/ textbooks
Reusing your parents old files or folders to keep your notes, reusing your own files of previous semesters is a great way to save up on some cash and wastage.
Textbooks are expensive and here's how we can make the best use out of them. A tip is to use old textbooks or hand-me-downs. Not all professional courses require you to buy entirely new textbooks. So whenever possible, trying borrowing it from your college libraries or ask your seniors. If you did buy a new textbook and now you are done with your course, try lending it to your juniors or ask your librarian if you can donate it.
5) Chuck your stuff on your phone!
Many of the things we write down are only for temporary use and don't need to be actually penned down. For example, reminders, grocery lists, checklists, due dates and other such lists or notes. If your need is going to be fulfilled even if those notes are chucked in a notes app which most of our phones have (if not, why do you think Google Keep was invented?), I would highly recommend you to try that option! You'll be doing our planet a favour and plus you'll have all of your notes handy, wherever you go. Win-win again?
6) Don't print unless REALLY required!
Try reading your documents, PDFs or study material on the screen as much as you can. These days, you can highlight, edit, add sticky notes and do almost every annotation on your soft copies as well. Explore!
7) The Kerchief
Tissues are a very big, ugly trend and since our food industry is ever-growing, so is the amount of tissues used and thrown. Remember back in pre-school when our moms used to attach a handkerchief to our uniforms with that safety pin? Did you ever use a tissue then? Exactly. Always keeping a handkerchief or a cloth substitute is always the better option since you never know when it might come in handy. Wiping your hands, mouth, blowing your nose, washing up a stain, wiping off a surface, lending it to a friend in need - it has more than one purpose and more than once a use! It'll last you for so much longer.
But if you ever find yourself without a handkerchief and you just HAVE to use a tissue, first check if that restaurant or eatery provides a wash basin. Opt for that. If not, which will be the case many a times, use the ONE TISSUE rule. Restrict yourself to using just one tissue so that you won't end up wasting much and you'll also be careful of not spilling and dirtying your hands much while you eat. Its always baby steps, my friend!
8) Mugs > Paper Cups
Whenever you go out for a beverage to an eatery, ask them if you can get a mug or a glass instead of a paper cup. It mostly won't cost you extra and you'll end up wasting one cup less. The planet is now happier.
9) Rethink ordering in!
Food delivery is the most trending student-friendly option it seems. But environment friendly it is not! A lot of packaging (which obviously finds its way straight to the dustbin) is involved in food delivery and thus is a wasteful practice. So unless really essential, try to rethink this option!
Go out instead, take a friend along! You'll end up using their reusable plates and bowls and who doesn't like eating out anyway?
If you were thinking of ordering in because it's cheaper because there are offers or you've got coupons, I'll tell you what's even cheaper : Cooking for yourself. Go out and get the groceries you need and whip something up. Everybody can make a decent sandwich (if not, ask me for my recipe, all my friends like it, haha). And what's Maggi for?
10) Water resources!
A) Always carry a water bottle Keep a bottle of water handy at all times. You'll not only be keeping yourself hydrated but it'll stop you from buying packaged water if you're out or travelling. And when it's empty, you can always refill it from the water coolers in your campus or at a food joint.
B) Share your water cups - If you are offered a glass of water and you don't finish it, ask your friends if they want to drink the water before throwing it away. - Back when I was on a study trip, my friends and I had started this water cup sharing stratergy. We used to share just one plastic cup. Each person does not require one whole plastic cup for themselves. Even if 4 people share a cup, that's 3 cups saved for every meal. - If you're not keen on sharing with people, save that cup and use if for all the meals of the day before you throw it away. Make the best use out of it.