Whether you’re living on campus, off campus, or studying while living at home, university is often the time when a lot of young adults start cooking for themselves. It’s a time when they start buying groceries for themselves and maybe even taking full control of their own finances.
We know how difficult and intimidating it can be to try and navigate a zero-waste lifestyle on a student’s budget, sometimes in an entirely new city that you’re still getting used to. That is afterall the story of the store’s owner Kate Pepler.
If you’ve been on your zero-waste journey for a while now, or if you’re just starting to dip your toes in the water, here are some tips and tricks to managing a package-free semester.
Say no to single-use plastic for fruits and veggies
We’ve talked a little bit before about how the plastic bag ban in Nova Scotia still leaves room for single-use bags for things like fruits and vegetables. For fruits and vegetables you can choose to forgo those skimpy plastic bags and simply carry them in your reusable bag (which you can wash between uses for extra peace of mind).
Students on a budget might also find that sharing food costs with friends, roommates and family can be a wonderful money saving tactic. Here in Nova Scotia a great service for students to keep in mind is Square Roots which offers bundles of fresh and varied vegetables at a low cost – you can even fill in a form and get a free bundle!
Buy second hand
Thrifting is all the rage in the influencer circles but it's also a very practical solution to the problems of fast fashion and the harm it does in the clothing industry. Buying second hand clothes often lets you find unique, interesting clothes at a reasonable price point.
Shopping at thrift and second hand stores, when possible, also lessens our contribution to a cycle of overconsumption. Trend cycles are growing increasingly shorter due to various factors including the manufacturer’s goal of pushing certain trends into the zeitgeist in order to sell large quantities of material and make a profit.
Shop bulk where possible
When accessible to you, shopping at bulk shops and refillerys like The Tare Shop is a great way to cut down on single use plastic packaging going into the waste stream. Even opting to buy the larger bags of food (ie a big bag of flour or rice) while shopping, means that you’re using the product for longer and avoiding putting lots of smaller single-use plastic bags into the waste stream in the same amount of time.
Additionally refilling your laundry detergent bottle or spice jars from stores that allow you to bring your own containers are simple steps that save money and plastic!