Living sustainably as a student: 8 tips for everyday life
You want to live sustainably? We give tips for more sustainability in everyday life!
#1 Produce less trash
Sometimes it’s effective to just leave things out – trash, for example, if you want to live more sustainably. Producing less trash goes a long way toward protecting the environment.
You can reduce the amount of trash in your everyday life by doing without disposable cups like the classic coffee-to-go cup, for example. Plastic food trays are also trash that is difficult to recycle. Instead, use sustainable reusable cups and reusable food trays. More and more cafés, snack bars and restaurants are participating in such sustainable systems.
This way you can also avoid waste in a sustainable way:
- Shop in unpackaged stores
- Buy fruit and vegetables in bulk, so you don’t need plastic bags from the supermarket.
- Write a shopping list, so you avoid buying too much and throwing away food later on.
- Buy good quality clothes, electrical appliances, etc., which are more expensive to buy than cheap goods, but last longer and you don’t have to buy new ones as often.
- Avoid buying disposable products like disposable razors
- Get refills for soap dispensers, dishwashing detergent, etc. refill packs
So, as you can see, sustainable waste prevention is made up of many small, everyday steps. Reduce your consumption, be creative and see where you can replace a disposable item with a sustainable one: Straws, cutlery, bags – there are sustainable alternatives for all these household items. A golden tip in the household check is to generally switch from plastic to other materials.
#2 Do without plastic
Plastic waste pollutes our forests, oceans and parks, is difficult to degrade and harmful to health. Microplastics are particularly alarming: these are fine particles that detach from plastic objects such as coffee cup lids and penetrate the bodies of animals and humans. What they do there has been researched for years, but it is already clear that a world with less (micro)plastic is a much healthier and more sustainable one.
The good news here is that there are now alternatives for many plastic products.
These sustainable products are available plastic-free:
- Toothbrushes made from bamboo
- Chewing gum made from biodegradable materials
- Bowls made from coconuts
- Cake bags instead of plastic cake boxes
- Coffee cups made from rice husks
- Packaging made of wood and palm leaves
Most of these sustainable products are still being developed and marketed by start-ups. But the market evolves, more and more people are interested in sustainability. Be part of this development and replace plastic products with more sustainable alternatives. The greater the demand for these sustainable alternatives, the sooner plastic will be replaced as a harmful environmental material.
#3 Make products yourself
This is a great and inexpensive way to live sustainably. Because by no means do you have to buy all products, you can make them yourself with just a few ingredients. Most of the time, it’s also much healthier because you know exactly what’s in it.
You can make these sustainbale products yourself, for example:
- Dishwashing liquid
- Mosquito spray
- Tea lights
Here you can find a recipe for an organic sustainable mosquito spray:
Make your own organic mosquito spray
Mosquitoes don’t like essential oils, which you can take advantage of in your organic, sustainable bug spray.
You will need:
- 1 empty, cleaned spray bottle.
- Boiled tap water
- 5 tablespoons of 40% alcohol (for example, a small bottle of grain brandy)
- 8-10 drops of essential oil (organic quality)
Pour the alcohol into the spray bottle and mix it with the essential oil.
Tip: Lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, citronella, tea tree oil and mint oil are the most effective against mosquitoes. You can combine different oils according to your taste.
Boil the water and let it cool. Fill the bottle with cooled tap water and shake the mixture vigorously. The organic, sustainable mosquito spray is ready!
Attention: The sustainably produced mosquito spray helps with moderate mosquito occurrence in Central Europe. However, you should not rely solely on its effectiveness when traveling to tropical areas, for example.
#4 Buy Fairly Produced & Second Hand Clothing
Wear shirts a few times and then throw them away – that’s not an option for your consumption? Then we recommend you to buy sustainable clothes from fair production and/or second hand clothes. When buying fairly produced, sustainable clothing, look for reputable seals. Here the consumer advice center lists which seals you can trust.
If you want to buy second-hand clothes online, we recommend that you read through tests on these sales portals. This way you can be sure that the clothes of these sellers have been produced fairly und sustainably.
#5 Declutter your own household
In a consumer society it is normal to constantly buy new things. But what do we really need? If you take a critical look at yourself, you’ll find out: far less than you thought. Over the years, a lot of stuff accumulates that clutters up your household, including old instruction manuals, broken clothes, unused recipe books, kitschy candle holders, very outdated or no longer used cell phones and all the bad purchases that you have ruefully banished to some drawer.
- Tip: Clean out your clutter on a weekend! You will feel relieved afterwards and your apartment will be clean and tidy.
You don’t have to become a minimalist, i.e. you don’t have to live your whole life without items. But decluttering your closets, drawers, etc. will definitely do you and the environment good.
#6 Reduce meat consumption & buy organic meat
Eating meat consciously and rarely is healthy, sustainable and it’s easy on your wallet.
For example, the Mediterranean diet, considered one of the healthiest diets, recommends adding fish and meat to your menu no more than once or twice a week. Whole grains, fresh vegetables, vegetable oils such as olive oil and dairy products such as cheese or yogurt form the basis of a healthy diet.
Meat was not only eaten consciously in the Mediterranean region: For centuries, meat was also something special in our latitudes, as indicated by the term “Sunday roast”. With industrialization and the introduction of factory farming, a privilege became a habit. But the daily sausage on the plate has its price for the environment: the animals are often bred and slaughtered under terrible conditions.
By eating less meat, you have more money available to buy more consciously sustainably – for example, organic meat from regional free-range farming. Organic seals show you whether the meat comes from sustainable animal husbandry. If you want to be on the safe side and know exactly where your meat comes from, then buy directly from the regional farmer. Here you can often pre-order with others so that the animals are only slaughtered sustainably when their meat is fully utilized.
#7 Reduce your own CO2 footprint
Permanent CO2 emissions are one of the strongest drivers of climate change. It is therefore all the more important that we all live sustainably and reduce our own CO2 footprint.
With these simple measures you can reduce sustainably your own CO2 consumption:
- Buy mostly regional and seasonal food (and no flown-in apples, only rarely avocados, etc.).
- Leave your car at home as often as possible, ride a bike instead or use public transport from renewable energy sources (train, hydrogen-powered buses etc.)
- Travel consciously, avoiding airplanes at best and preferring nearby destinations instead of long-distance travel (e.g. with the 9-Euro-Ticket)
- Use energy-efficient electronics (you can tell by the energy labels)
- Always turn off electrical appliances instead of putting them on standby.
It is also important for energy savings to heat correctly and thus sustainably. This will be an energy and cost issue, especially in the upcoming winter. So heat your apartment smartly. The rule here is: heat at a constant level and ventilate intermittently instead of leaving the window open.
#8 Find a sustainable student job
Living sustainably with everyday tricks
Living sustainably sounds like a big project, but in fact sustainability can be implemented in many small, everyday steps. The key to a sustainable lifestyle is awareness: Conscious consumption, whether of food or clothing, is environmentally friendly and sustainable. In most cases, a certain amount of renunciation is not restrictive, but liberating and leads to a happier, tidier life. We hope you enjoy trying out the tips for more sustainability!
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