Global warming and environmental pollution are hot topics these days. We are being told many times to live a more sustainable life in order to reduce our plastic waste and lower our carbon footprint. The magnitude of climate change will have detrimental effects on our planet in the upcoming decades. Temperatures will continue to rise, there will be drastic changes in weather patterns, and there will be more droughts and heat waves. All of this can make you feel a little bit overwhelmed.
It is also fair to say that, as a student, an eco-friendly lifestyle might not feel like a priority. Especially when you learn that multinationals are not willing to change their strategies in order to tackle climate change. That being said, the ordinary European citizen generated 492 kg of waste in 2018.
Ultimately, the effects of global warming will affect all of us. And unfortunately, Mother Nature is not going to save itself; we ALL have to do something about it.
One small way to exert some control is to make everyday lifestyle changes that contribute to a more sustainable future. You as a student can opt for simple sustainable swaps that can lead to a huge reduction in waste. Here are some simple and inexpensive sustainable swaps you can incorporate in your daily life
Face masks are a part of “normal” life nowadays. Instead of wearing a single-use mask, switch to reusable masks. Cloth face masks are an excellent choice. By wearing a durable mask you’ll show your social responsibility and protect your environment and yourself. If washed regularly, these cloth masks can be used repeatedly. And if you are a stylish fashionista, you can try matching your face mask to your outfit.
Stop buying bottled water and swap plastic water bottles for reusable bottles. Plastic water bottles make up a significant portion of waste. From 1 july 2021 a deposit of 15 euro cents will be in place for plastic drink bottles. The EU adopted this law in order to fight the plastic pollution in Europe. A stainless steel water bottle is a great example of an alternative for plastic bottles. By the way, using a refillable water bottle can save you money. So save your wallet and save the planet and swap to reusable bottles.
Plastic grocery bags
Say no to plastic bags. Plastic bags are one of the main sources of pollution and pose a serious threat to our environment. Cotton-bags are excellent to replace single-use plastic bags. They might be a little more expensive than a plastic bag, but cotton bags can be used for years. And they can be very handy as well, there are cotton bags with internal sleeves that create pockets.
Who doesn’t love their morning coffee. But did you know that your disposable coffee cup is one of the worst forms of plastic. Their inner lining ca
nnot be recycled. If we consider the amount of coffee we all drink in a day, it is clear that we need a sustainable alternative. Fortunately, there is a solution for this; compostable coffee pods. This is an excellent alternative for plastic cups. By using compostable cups, you can enjoy your cup of coffee in the morning without guilt.
Plastic straws, cutlery, plates and cups
Plastic straws, cutlery, plates and cups are another well-known pollutant. Many of these products are thrown out by users and end up in nature, creating the plastic soup. Luckily, the EU ban on disposable plastic straws, cutlery, plates and cups will come into effect on the 3rd of July 2021. From that day on you will have to use alternative materials when going to a BBQ at the Noorderplantsoen. So put a stop to your plastic cutlery and make a swap to reusable materials. Bamboo cutlery are especially eco-friendly.