How to be Eco-Friendly on a Law Student Budget

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 2L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Many of us flocked to law school with the notion that we would someday change the world. And though the enormous amount of law school debt incurred may have convinced the majority of us to trade in our hero hats for a seat at the Big Law table, there are still ways that we can make a difference. For instance, through pro bono projects and clinics we can help the local community and beyond. However, for those of us looking for more long-term impacts, adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle is a great (and popular) route to take!

Of course being eco-friendly sounds great … I mean, who doesn’t want to literally save the world? But to many of us it also sounds expensive; seriously, we’ve all seen the prices on the organic products in the grocery store. So how do you balance an eco-friendly lifestyle while living on a law student budget?

Truth be told it’s actually not that hard once you accept that it doesn’t need to be an all or nothing approach. You can still buy your affordable, non-organic produce and cleaning supplies if that’s what your bank account is telling you to do.

To make your life a little more Eco-Friendly simply adopt one or a multitude of these habits into your routine.

  1. Reduce waste by only grocery shopping with a list and meal plan in mind. No need to buy those tomatoes that are just going to sit in the back of the fridge until trash day when you know there’s no meal requiring them.
  2. Invest in reusable containers and use them! Buying lunch and snacks on the go is easy and tasty, but it also contributes a lot of waste over time (and it’s not all the economical either).
  3. Likewise, say goodbye to Ziploc bags and plastic wrap, and instead, say hello to reusable sandwich bags and beeswax wraps. Bonus, since both these products are reusable you’ll save money in the long run as well!
  4. Add reusable cutlery to your backpack or lunch bag – that way you can say no to the plastic forks but still indulge in the free food found around the law school.
  5. Trade in your car or frequent Uber rides for public transportation, walking and/or biking whenever possible.
  6. Switch out your regular light bulbs for energy efficient ones instead. While efficient light bulbs will cost you a little more, they also cut your energy bill and generally last way longer, so really it’s worth it!
  7. Cut down on plastic waste by investing in a good reusable water bottle.
  8. If you’re a hot beverage lover (or iced coffee lover), add a reusable thermos or mug to your bag. Pro tip, many cafes offer discounts to people who bring their own mug!
  9. Keep your counters and dishes clean without the waste! Instead of dish sponges and power towel, use washable dishcloths and a silicone sponge– as an added perk, you can sanitize your silicone sponge as frequently as you like, so bye-bye germs!
  10. And finally, don’t forget your reusable bags when shopping!

These are just a few of my favorite eco-friendly hacks. What are some of yours?