Paper accounts for around a fourth of all waste sitting in landfills. At the same time, to satisfy humanity’s paper needs, two million trees are being cut down every single day!
You don’t have to contribute to this issue. Yes, even if you’re a student! There are multiple ways you can reduce your reliance on paper in the classroom and beyond – like these eight below. And trust this: switching to a more sustainable lifestyle isn’t as complicated as you might imagine it!
1 Change Your Printing Habits
Let’s say you have an essay done by the paper writing service EssayPro that you have to submit to your professor. Yes, you can print it out and give it to them in person. Or, you can reduce your paper consumption and send it by email!
But what if you absolutely have to print something, for studies or otherwise? Here are four simple tips for doing it more wisely:
- Switch to narrow margins (0.5”);
- If it’s a large document, select only the pages you need to be printed;
- Use a smaller font if possible;
- Print double-sided.
It’s also a good idea to opt for thinner paper – it requires less raw materials to be made. Plus, you can easily find recycled printer paper online and in stores!
2 Level Up Your Note-Taking Game
If you’re a student, you must be taking a lot of notes. If you do this by hand, you might be buying one notebook after another every semester.
How about going more eco-friendly in your note-taking? There are many ways you can make this transition, like these three:
- Use a tablet with a stylus to have the same experience – except you won’t need a regular notebook;
- Bring a laptop to the classroom and type your notes instead;
- Invest in a reusable notebook from brands like Rocketbook and Elfinbook.
Not ready to say goodbye to the handwritten note-taking yet? Consider buying notebooks made from recycled materials next time you’re shopping for stationery. This way, you’ll also be supporting a business that promotes recycling!
3 Opt for eBooks
You might love the smell of a new book, but buying them is another example of paper consumption. And since you’re a student, you can’t get around without a fresh order of textbooks every semester.
Luckily for you, you don’t have to call it quits on your love of reading if you want to live a more sustainable life. Most books are now available in the eBook format. Besides, it’s also easier to carry around one tablet with all of your books and textbooks!
Can’t find an eBook for a specific title? Don’t rush to a bookshop yet! Check out your local thrift store or websites like eBay and AbeBooks first. Maybe, they’ll have a second-hand book you need – and it’ll be at a fraction of the initial price, too!
4 Declutter Your Mailbox
How much mail do you get every month? You probably receive your bank statements, bills, newspapers, and magazines in your mailbox regularly. And, you guessed it, that means you inadvertently consume paper in the process.
In the absolute majority of cases, you can opt out of this. So, open your online bank account and change your correspondence preferences in the settings. Do the same with any other sender that you receive mail from regularly, such as your:
- Electricity provider;
- Insurance company;
- Water company;
And as for the subscriptions for newspapers and magazines, most of them have a digital version – opt for it instead. You’ll probably be saving a buck or two along the way, too!
5 Get Yourself a Blackboard or Whiteboard
How many post-its do you have around your dorm room? How about to-do lists and notes – are they often lying around, too?
If you can’t imagine your life without those post-its, to-do lists, and other notes, rethink your habits. Why use paper when you can do the same thing on a blackboard or a whiteboard?
You can make your dorm room more eco-friendly with just this one gesture! Small chalkboards or whiteboards that would fit right on your desk aren’t too difficult to find at a low price tag. Or, you can DIY them – there are plenty of tutorials for such projects online!
6 Keep Your Schedule on the Phone
Do you still shop for an agenda every year? Or do you print out a calendar for every month? If so, there’s one more way you can reduce your use of paper!
Don’t get this wrong: you don’t have to stop using a calendar altogether. After all, it’s one of the best ways to stay organized. You can just replace it with an app!
Your phone already has one pre-installed for you, even. But if it doesn’t seem to cut it for you, you can opt for any of its alternatives, such as:
- Google Calendar;
- Microsoft Outlook Calendar;
And here’s a real bright side: using an app for keeping track of your deadlines, classes, and appointments means your schedule will always be right with you on your phone. And it’ll be getting synced across all of your devices, too!
7 Get Yourself Some Reusable Towels, Napkins, & Tissues
You might be used to reaching for a paper towel whenever you spill something. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good habit. After all, once you’re done cleaning up, it’s not even like you can reuse that towel – it’ll go straight into the trash can.
The same applies to those paper napkins with nice floral patterns and the tissue box you go through when you catch a cold. Once you’re done with that napkin or tissue, they’re bound to be thrown away.
You can go old-fashioned and replace those single-use towels, napkins, and fabric tissues. All you need to do is wash them – and they’re good to be used again! (Just make sure they’re made out of cotton. Synthetic fabrics don’t absorb liquids well.)
8 Bring Your Own Mug & Grocery Bag
A lot of students can’t imagine their lives without a cup of coffee from a local café. But every time you buy one to go, what do you get in your hands? That’s right, a paper cup!
You don’t have to stop getting coffee to go altogether if you want to live a more sustainable life, though. Just bring your own refillable mug next time you need your dose of caffeine!
And if you get a good-quality thermal cup, here’s a nice bonus. Your coffee will stay warm for hours despite the cold weather!
The same logic applies to grocery shopping. Does your hand still reach for paper bags at the checkout? If so, why not bring a textile bag or a big backpack to carry your groceries instead?
These lifestyle changes don’t seem to be all that major, especially on the scale of a whole planet. You might be wondering, “What difference would it make? I’m just one person; my choices won’t matter on a global scale!”
That’s understandable. But that doesn’t mean changing your consumption habits won’t matter at all. Treat these small steps towards a more sustainable future as your contribution to making it happen.
Think about it this way. You have absolute control only over your own choices, first and foremost. So, why not make sure they reflect your values?
Besides, as most examples above have shown, going paperless can even save you some money! How about that?