Wed. Jun 7th, 2023

Photo credits: Cherie Birkner via Unsplash

Want to make a positive change in your personal life that benefits the environment without hurting your bank account? We can help with that.

Living sustainably can seem like an expensive change in your life, but it doesn’t have to be. As a vegan college student, I work hard to eliminate my carbon footprint and contributions to unethical companies as much as possible. Here are some tips and tricks to live a lifestyle you can be proud of while living on a budget.

Shop Secondhand and Vintage

Not only does secondhand shopping provide an opportunity to up your wardrobe without breaking the bank, it also benefits the environment. Next time you have a burning desire to buy some new clothes, try some local vintage or thrift shops. Plato’s Closet, Style Encore and G-Spot are all ethical stores in or around West Chester where you can buy unique clothes that will make you look fabulous and feel even better. So, take a step back from Shein shopping or other unethical stores when looking for an inexpensive alternative, you can find clothes from there — and better-quality companies — at local thrift and vintage shops anyways.

Skip the Meat

A lot of people hate on others who live a vegan lifestyle, saying that vegans are pushy and shove their way of living down other people’s throats. Don’t let a few passionate people stop you from doing what’s right for your own body and the world. You don’t have to give up your favorite animal products, but by participating in Meatless Mondays or cutting back on animal products in your everyday life, you’re helping to eliminate significant harm to the environment. By taking animal products out of your diet one day per week you’ll have saved 53 animals, 58,300 gallons of water, 2,120 pounds of grain, 1,060 pounds of carbon dioxide and 1,590 square feet of forest according to the Plant Prosperous Vegan Calculator. Those numbers may sound a bit excessive, but the point is you’ll be making an important impact.

Take a Walk

Going into town to grab a fruit-filled Playa Bowl or farm-to-table salad from Couch Tomato? Ditch the delivery fee and gas cost and take a walk into town. Spring weather is breaking through the cold winter breeze making this a perfect time to take a walk to your favorite local eatery. Doing something as simple as walking or riding a bike to wherever you need to go can have a significant environmental impact all while saving you money! Sustainability doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact it can save you money.

Household Sustainability

Here are a few extra tips and tricks for sustaining your budget and carbon footprint around the house.

  1. Need some new rags for cleaning? Cut up that ratty old t-shirt you haven’t worn since your sophomore year of high school instead of buying new clothes.
  2. Keep that never-ending message from your dad about turning off the lights on loop in your head. Why waste money on your electric bill keeping a room lit that you aren’t currently using? Turn off the lights. It’s simple, easy and efficient.
  3. Cut back on water waste by refraining from leaving the sink running while washing dishes or cutting back on shower time. I know listening to music while taking a hot shower is a great relaxing form of selfcare, but it can be just as effective in a time span shorter than 30 minutes.
  4. Donate old clothes, kitchenware, accessories and decorations instead of throwing things out. Someone will appreciate the stuff you no longer want and dropping it off at a donation bin is just as easy as chucking it in the trash. Some places even offer you money for your donations!
  5. DIY decorations are a fun and unique way to spice up your house or apartment. Reuse old wine bottles or other things that might make their way into a landfill and turn them into an eye-catching piece to decorate your home.
  6. Recycle bottles, cans, plastic, paper and whatever else you can think of. Make sure to clean out whatever you’re putting in the recycling bin before putting it out for pick up. If one thing in the bin isn’t up to your local recycling center’s standards it risks everything getting thrown in the trash.

Alexis Barrick is a fourth-year English Writing major with a minor in Journalism.

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