• Vrutika Soneji

Eco-Friendly Swaps for Students

In today’s modern society, being environmentally-conscious can be difficult, especially as a student. Schools tend to emphasize the use of new notebooks and other supplies, and homework usually is on paper. With products that harm the earth being everywhere, how can you decrease your waste? The following tips within various student categories can help decrease your environmental footprint.


1. Studying and Reviewing

When we review questions, we tend to use sheets of paper, which require a lot of resources like trees and water. An eco-conscious alternative would be to use a small whiteboard or whiteboard notebook to do review problems. We tend to not look back at these questions, so a temporary reusable marking surface can help significantly.


Also, avoid printing and use digital resources instead, if possible. If you are revising an essay, use the commenting tool on Google Docs instead of printing it out. In addition, it would be beneficial to use digital files if your teacher has them online, rather than using a physical copy. Additionally, reduce paper waste by printing on both sides of the paper. Finally, use digital flashcards over paper ones. Using online flashcard sites, such as Quizlet, can be more easily portable and accessible. They also have more features online, like adding images to your flashcards, and you can create them faster by typing.


2. Note Taking

First, you can type notes during a lecture on a computer or write on a tablet. If you are not allowed to or prefer handwriting your notes, then try to use a notebook that is made out of recycled paper. In addition, if your notes do not hold any future value after the semester is over, you can give them to a friend who will take the class. You can also sell your notes online to get as much use out of the notes as possible until it is put in a landfill or is recycled.



3. Supplies

When buying supplies, you can first repurpose or reuse an item that you already have, like reusing folders or using mugs for pen holders. The next level is to borrow by swapping, thrifting, or borrowing online/in person. There are various platforms to buy and sell second-hand. The goal is to use what is already in the world, rather than creating more demand for new products.


If that does not apply to you, buying new can be an option. Invest in durability for any item you plan to use for more than a year, such as backpacks, binders, folders, and pencil cases. Make sure to research online about the quality and ethics of the brand. Also, choose pens and pencils that can be reused by buying refills rather than purchasing the entire pen unnecessarily. Purchasing refills rather than the entire pen uses less energy and resources. Additionally, refills tend to come in bulk, meaning that less packaging would be used.


4. Books

The first resource for books is your local library, which can help you save money and help the environment. If the book is not available or you need the book for longer than the checkout period, you can buy second-hand books. If you do so, avoid writing in the books so you can resell them once you are done. However, if you need to buy a brand new book, try to purchase the ebook version.


Remember, do not feel like you are a bad environmentalist if you do not do all of these! Simply try to reduce waste whenever you find it reasonable, and make sure it does not inhibit your current lifestyle. Being eco-conscious will help make the environment a better place!



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