By Monye Pitt June 26, 2018

College is hard. Finding the balance between classes, extracurricular activities, fitness, and sleep really doesn’t leave room for much else.

As someone who cares about sustainability, it’s always on the back of my mind. I try and make time to reach out to my representatives, sign petitions, and attend advocacy events, but sometimes, it’s just not possible.

Incorporating sustainability into my routine is something that I’ve always thought wouldn’t make much of a difference, but it turns out that I was wrong. I’ve learned that every step leads us towards a greener future, no matter how big or small – and even turning off the light (when you’re not in the room) has a highly tangible impact. As a result, I’ve taken action by integrating sustainability into my day with quick, practical, and cost effective initiatives.

One of the ways I’ve been able to do this has been during college move in – also known as one of the most stressful times of the year. Not only do I have to find the perfect furniture for my apartment, but I have to do it on a budget. Last year, I decided to check out one of my local thrift stores, and ended up finding a great bedside table, desk chair, and pair of jeans – for less than half the original price! Because the production and transportation of new items is super energy intensive, thrift shopping can be a terrific way to help out the planet, without breaking the bank. I was even able to re-sell what I bought at the end of the year for some extra cash!

Another way I’ve incorporated sustainability into my day is by investing in a reusable travel mug. If you’re like me, and have an insatiable coffee addiction, this can be a great way to reduce waste. Because most paper coffee cups are non-recyclable due to their laminate, they end up in the landfill, so I started asking for beverages in my travel mug rather than a disposable one. It turns out that a lot of coffee shops, including Starbucks, offer a discount when you do this – with the amount of coffee I drink, it really started to add up.

These are just a few of the steps I’ve taken to make an impact. Although these work for me, they might not for you, so check out our dailies page for more ideas on how to help. Start making a difference today!

Monye Pitt is a Defend Our Future summer intern and rising senior at Washington University in St. Louis.