Make your semester sustainable 

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Using reusable tote bags can help the environment by removing plastic from everyday use. Photo by Polina Tankilevitch/Pexels.

As a new year and semester starts, so do the unsustainable shopping habits. Everyone falls victim to the same marketing tactics that purchasing a water bottle or planner will be the missing key to achieving the perfect year. Rather than following along with the trend of consumerism, here are some small changes you can make to live a more sustainable lifestyle on campus.  

Swap the paper plates and utensils in your dorm for reusable sets.  

Reusable dining sets help prevent the number of paper plates that end up in the landfills. Although not everyone is lucky enough to have a kitchen area in their dorm, they can be easy to clean. A quick rinse in any sink helps you go green and feel good about your choices.  

Grab a tote when shopping instead of relying on plastic bags. 

Throughout the year, there are plenty of tote painting events on campus — like Late Night — that provide a great opportunity to change your habits. Not only can you use them whenever, you can also decorate them to your liking.  

Shop secondhand. 

Buying secondhand clothing is a great way to find unique pieces and more importantly, reduce the impact of fast fashion. Rather than paying full price for the same item, you can often find a similar version for cheap. Swapping clothing with friends when you want to refresh your wardrobe works as well. If not your friends, then try the UConn Swap Shop. 

Utilize your UPass. 

As a UConn student, you have access to a free CT-UPass that allows you to take any train or bus in Connecticut. You can limit the amount of driving you do and start using public transportation as an alternative. 

Donate, don’t throw out. 

Think for a second before you throw out anything, especially in your dorm rooms. Damaged or unusable items don’t need to be saved, but if you are tossing items for clutter there can be better alternatives. Offering it to friends, neighbors or donating it can be a better option. Or find a way to create something new by using something old. Your version of trash can be exactly what someone else is looking for.   

Sustainability on campus has been a huge issue as college students opt for cheaper and faster options due to their financial situations. According to University of the People, the average college student contributes over 640 pounds yearly in waste. It also ranks UConn as fourth on a list of “Greenest Universities.” 

Even the smallest change can make a large impact on campus. Consider these tips the next time you want to do more!  

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