Save yourself money and contribute to the planet with these simple eco-friendly product swaps.

Between maintaining attendance, learning how to ‘adult’ and the numerous stressors that come with being a college student, the last thing many of us worry about is saving the planet. It seems like a huge task, and much scarier than the assignment you are rushing to get done. But it is the need of the hour. Here are some simple ways to be kind to the planet – budget friendly campus edition.

  1. Arrange your waste

Almost all college spaces have incorporated the blue and green bin system of waste disposal – Blue bins for non-biodegradable waste like wrappers, tetra packs, pizza boxes, cartons, stationary junk, metal cans etc. and Green for biodegradable waste like tea bags, paper plates, fruit and vegetable peels etc. 


  1. Bring your own bottle

Remember the tweet that said ‘Uni life is just me and my bottle against the whole world’. Well, yes. But instead of buying bottled water every time, buy a refillable bottle to carry around campus. 


  1. Cut down cutlery

While the ease of disposable products like plastic/Styrofoam plates can be tempting, it adds to tonnes of non-biodegradable waste. Invest in a set of cute plates, bowls, spoons and mugs that you can reuse. It really doesn’t take much to scrub and let them dry. In fact, food delivery apps are also working on environmentally friendly packaging alternatives.


  1. Ditch polythene bags

Time to put all the jute and tote bags to use. The next time you go to Sarojini Nagar or shopping for groceries carry your own big bag and ditch the poly that the shopkeepers offer. 


Shipra, a first-year student at Zakir Husain Delhi College, says, “It is difficult to say complete no to plastic, you do need polythene bags at times. What I do is store them for the next time. By reusing them I’m least not contributing to the new generation of polybags.” However, one should always try to minimize their use of plastic. Cloth and canvas bags are extremely durable and perfect alternatives.


  1. Eco-friendly room decor 

Prefer tapestry over paper posters. They can be reused and do not get damaged while shifting. Choose wooden racks over plastic stands. These are easily available at metro stations like GTB or local markets for cheap. Recycle your used shampoo and spray bottles for pen stands. 


  1. Fix and close faucets

Report the leaky taps and faucets in your college washrooms. Turn off the tap while you are brushing your teeth and doing dishes – people have probably been telling you this since you were four, but this is just a friendly reminder. 


  1. Glass over plastic

Limit the use of plastic ware for storage or cooking. Glass is the alternative – it is microwave safe as well. Replace single-use snack bags or zip-locks with glass containers. Put the Keventers bottles and jars to daily use. 


Tushti, a student at Indraprastha College for Women, says, “I prefer cold drinks in glass bottles at the canteen. Also, since I’m trying to cut down on my plastic use, I like to carry around a reusable tumbler with me”. Look out for repurposed or biodegradable packaging. 


  1. Hang-dry your clothes

Consider skipping the laundry dryer. Letting your clothes dry in the sun not only saves energy but also keeps them fresh and long lasting. Sunrays also disinfects the clothes.


  1. Invest in organic supplies

Skincare and haircare products are usually expensive. Save a few bucks and invest in organic brands to ensure that minimal amounts of chemicals go on to your body.


  1. Join local plantation drives

A lot of NGOs and Eco clubs conduct regular drives for sustainability awareness or planting trees. Whenever you can, volunteer and be a part of these. As an individual it may be difficult to make a lot of efforts – if you collaborate with others, you can open the world’s eyes to a cause in a more efficient way. 


  1. Kettles over microwave

College life involves loads of tea, coffee and Maggi making. Use an electric kettle and not the microwave in your hostel/PG. It uses less energy and trust me, tastes way better. 

  1. Lesser prints

Paper is one of the main areas where students can save money and the environment. Use refillable binders save more paper than notebooks. Also try to avoid getting all of your readings printed. Prefer e-notes or reading them online. Whenever possible, submit papers and assignments electronically. If you do need to print something, always print double-sided or on the back of rough paper.


  1. Manage your laundry

Prefer using cold water to wash your clothes. Without having to heat the water, the washing machine will save a lot of energy. Moreover, cold water helps in preserving the quality of delicate fabrics. Also use a washing machine only when you have a full load of clothes to wash. 


  1. Natural and local products for the win

Natural skincare is not only better for your skin but also limits the amount of toxic chemicals that go down the drain. Look out for home remedies with local products – very effective and easily available.


Mehak, a student at Kamla Nehru College says, “I use things turmeric, aloe vera gel and milk for my skincare instead of chemical lotions. Since they are easy to store, I have them in my hostel room. Also, I prefer wearing natural fibers, cotton over polyester. It just feels a lot nicer. Going local has helped me save a lot of pocket money.”


  1. Open your windows

Air out your room/flat often. Sometimes indoor pollution can be more toxic than the air outside. Keeping your curtains open in winter lets the sun in and naturally warm up the room. Good amount of sunlight would make your room feel a lot fresher. Remember to close them in the evening for extra insulation.


  1. Purchase energy efficient lights

Use CFLs or LEDs for your desk and room lamps rather than the regular bulbs or halogen lights. They use less energy and last longer. 


  1. Quit straws

Of all the plastic products we use, drinking straws are the most unnecessary and taken for granted. They are designed to be used once and discarded. Most restaurant chains have discontinued them or opting for paper straws. Local juice sellers and shikanji stalls still offer them. Try persuading them to discontinue it. 


  1. Reach out to others

Talk to people about adopting sustainable practices in daily life. It doesn’t take much, just a little bit of adjustment.


  1. Shorter showers

Reduce the amount of water you use on a daily basis. Every minute less you spend in the shower saves up to two gallons of water. Think about lowering the water pressure using the sliding handle. This small change will surely make a huge impact on the environment in the long term. Guess what, maybe you could reach your classes on time as well?


  1. Turn off lights 

It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to turn off the lights and fans when you leave your classroom. Before you leave for your classes, look around and check if all the switches are closed including the fairy lights. 


  1. Unplug

Electronics pull electricity from the outlet while plugged in, even when the device is off. This is called phantom energy. Power down and unplug your phone and laptop chargers before you sleep. Shut your laptop off when you don’t need it instead of using screensavers. Put it on sleep instead. 


  1. Visit recycling or compost centers

Find out the recycling or compost bin center nearest to your college; give a visit once every two months maybe with your stack of paper and plastic waste. 


  1. Walk when you can

Avoid taking individual autos for shorter distances. Prefer to walk or take an e-rickshaw to commute. Alternatives can be pooling or using a bus. 


  1. Xerox only when necessary

Students end up getting many of their books photocopied and not use them throughout the semester. Prefer to use soft copies of textbooks. You can also think about renting your textbooks. If you need to purchase a book, consider picking up a used version. You can always sell them later or give them for recycling. 

Anurag, a student at Hansraj College, says, “I do not buy any textbooks. I usually issue them from the library or cam-scan the relevant parts to refer to them while studying. This way I don’t have a pile of paper waste at the end of the semester, unlike most of my classmates.”


  1. Yes to one-day of Only Veggies

Producing meat is detrimental for the environment as it releases carbon and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Pick one day of the week where you eat exclusively vegetarian. This way you can positively help the planet without drastically changing your lifestyle. 


  1. Zero waste 

Try to incorporate an environment conscious lifestyle through segregation of waste, reusing products whenever possible, recycling and reducing your carbon and plastic footprint. Make sure to dispose of biodegradable waste properly. Separate your paper waste in a cardboard box and give it for recycling. 
Feature Image Credits: The Zero Waste Collective


Aishwaryaa Kunwar

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Eco-anxiety refers to the uneasy feeling that comes with keeping the current degrading environmental conditions in mind. The concept of climate change anxiety is on the rise solely due to the inevitable natural or not-so-natural catastrophes. 

Over the years, the Western countries have made several efforts to clean their own mess by entering into binding agreements with the rest of the world. The Montreal Protocol of 1987 proved to be a success in reducing the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). It was followed by the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report stated that if the current scenario of global warming continues, the entire world will witness a horrendous global catastrophe in this lifetime. 

The deteriorating plight of our climate severely affects the mental health of many people. Due to extreme climatic conditions in some regions, many communities are forced to move to new places. The devastating Australian bushfires were largely a result of severe climatic changes. The catastrophe wiped out huge numbers of animals and led to incorrigible air pollution that further caused psychological distress to those connected directly or indirectly with the fires. 

Eco-anxiety works as an eye-opener because it sensitizes people towards the environment and makes them aware of what is ecologically okay to use and what is not. The sea level is gradually rising, groundwater is depleting, temperatures are rising all over the world and this is essentially a result of global warming. Many people are now choosing to follow a vegan diet as it is healthy for the environment. 

The psychological distress caused by climate change is widespread. Natural resources will sooner or later be exhausted and irreversible climatic conditions are inevitable if the world continues to recklessly exploit the Earth. Ayushi, a student of SGTB Khalsa College stated: “At this point, eco-anxiety will act as a motivator for people to take action towards preserving the environment and saving the planet before it gets out of hand. We must collectively make sure that there is no wastage of resources happening around us.” 

Feature Image creditsTime

Suhani Malhotra

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The campaigning for Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) runs throughout August and September every year. However, these campaigns are not eco-friendly in the least, let us see how.


The student politics at the University of Delhi (DU) is a microcosm of our country’s political scenario. With examples like Arun Jaitley, former Union Finance Minister who was the DUSU President in 1973, student politicians at DU believe that they can be the ‘leaders of tomorrow’. Unfortunately, these ‘leaders of tomorrow’ are unaware of the amount of waste produced by them during political campaigning.
While walking through the streets of North Campus during campaigning months, one will come face-to-face with pamphlets, flyers, posters, brochures, and press invites littered on the roads. Students with political affiliations throw these posters out of their cars to ‘promote’ their leaders. Colleges like College of Vocational Studies, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, and Sri Venkateswara College in the South Campus, which are affiliated to the DUSU, also bear the brunt of such hooliganism.

During the 2015 DUSU elections, as reported by The Hindu, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued a notice to the Centre, the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and the University Grants Commission (UGC) on the huge amount of paper being wasted in campaigning. Similarly in 2017, as reported by Firstpost, in an article titled “In North Campus, Student Bodies kick Swachh Bharat Abhiyan out of the Window”, Delhi High Court and the NGT expressed their shock over the massive misuse of pamphlets, flyers, and posters during the DUSU elections.
Since then, certain walls in the Campus were designated as the ‘Walls of Democracy’ where one was allowed to paste as many election-related posters as they wanted. But, even the 2018 elections saw the brunt of major exploitation of paper to an extent that the then sitting President, Rocky Tuseed, carried out a cleaning drive and removed the posters from near the Vishwavidyalaya metro station.

Despite being condemned over the years for their excessive use of paper in printing pamphlets, brochures, cards, and invites, the DUSU elections continue to be a hub of ecological hazard, producing extensive amounts of paper waste and littering the whole of North Campus by sticking posters on walls and littering flyers on the roads. Chhatra Marg still remains the most affected where a week before elections, we can see posters and pamphlets in every corner and niche.

As decoded by ScoopWhoop Unscripted in their video titled “How to Win a DUSU Election”, “the posters are simple and cheap; you can see it stuck on walls all over Delhi, that’s when you know that the Delhi University Elections are here.” One would believe that posters become a cheap method of promoting a campaign, inviting the masses to events organised by a particular party, and facilitate mobilisation. But, the aforementioned video revealed that INR five to six lakhs are spent in the printing process.
On the other hand, the Lyngdoh Committee, set up in 2006, only allows a small budget of INR 5,000 for campaigning and election-related activities. It also states that only handmade posters are to be used for canvassing and campaigning.

Hence, the huge waste of paper in DUSU elections is not only ethically and morally wrong, but it is also illegal.
Jaishree, a third-year student from Ramjas College pursuing B.A. (Honours) History, stated, “Nothing has changed here in the last three years, the walls are still decorated with multiple posters of the same candidate, underneath it lie decaying posters of yesteryear candidates. The heaps of garbage that the karamchaaris are made to clean every day is alarming. With climate change upon us, you’d really think that candidates would give a damn about the environment, but no.”

Feature Image Credits: Prabhanu Kumar Das

Sakshi Arora

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In a world where every piece of plastic ever produced still lies somewhere in the garbage dumps, the stomachs of unaware animals, or in our oceans, where it  chokes aquatic life, fabrics like polyester and nylon only add to the degradation of the environment. Polyester and nylon, which constitute 60% of the textile fabrics produced, are called micro plastic and add to the non-biodegradable waste. India has taken a step ahead and roads are now being constructed by using plastic waste. So let us do our bit and take a step forward by changing our standards of fashion. Here are the best 5 eco-friendly fabrics to switch to:

Organic Cotton

Unlike normal cotton, organic cotton uses less water and no pesticides during its harvest. Also, since the farmers have to incur less cost due to minimal inputs, it does not cost as much as popular notions would have you believe. It feels the same as normal cotton and also helps us do our bit in contributing to sustainable living. You can find t-shirts, kurtis, dresses, and comfortable airy pants of various brands, both online and offline. Linen Produced from the fibres of flax plant, linen allows your skin to perspire during those warm days and keeps you cool. The clothes last long because the fibre is strong and the fabric is biodegradable. Linen shirts, pants and dresses give you the chic-casual look and gives you the breezy vibe. Just the perfect clothing you need on a long day of work/college.


It is one of most environment-friendly fabrics available, which is also resistant to pesticides or chemical fertilisers. It requires very little water for its growth. Save water, save earth; remember? It is also very durable, only demanding a bit more of your time and attention in terms of maintenance. However, it makes up for it with the variety of outfits which you can choose from: those breezy dresses, pants, scarves socks and much more.


Clothes made from bamboo fibre are grown without any pesticides and the bamboo plant takes merely 9 months to grow requiring an all natural environment. Thus, the fibre turns out to be soft and the clothes smooth on your skin. Yoga pants for women, shirts, socks and much more are made from bamboo yarn.

These clothes may be more expensive than your normal jeans and tees, but changing  habits is for the good for the environment and our animals.

All of these fabrics last longer than the cheap clothes which you wear only 4-5 times before throwing them out. Instead, the next time you come across clothes that you no longer require, donate them to the neighbourhood’s underprivileged children, or your maid. You can even donate to your respective colleges’ NSS wings or Enactus as they are constantly in touch with various NGOs. Let us change the way in which we deal with our waste or purchase and save our Earth.


Feature Image Credits: Pinterest

Prachi Mehra
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