How to be Sustainable when Living with Roommates
By: Kristin Singh
Sustainable living can feel like quite the challenge sometimes, with industries pushing fast fashion, unethically mass-produced goods, and products with absurd amounts of packaging waste. Couple that with the difficulty of living with roommates or family who may not share the same sustainable values as you and it may feel like it is too hard to even try. Especially with COVID-19, you may be living with a roommate who orders one too many wasteful packages or family who are not on the same sustainable path as you. The truth is, there will never be a completely ideal situation or time to start your journey. We shouldn’t be focused on perfecting our routines or methods right off the bat when it comes to sustainability — the key is to just start it and make whatever efforts you can! Every small action makes a difference. Here are some tips to help make the seemingly tough transition into sustainability with roommates a little bit easier:
1. Explain your actions with reasons
The first step to this process should be trying to educate your roommates or parents on the issue. If they are willing, get them to watch a documentary about sustainable living, such as The Clean Bin Project or True Cost. If not, just explain the reasons why you are doing things, as they may then be more open to changes.
2. Incorporate easy changes
A lot of the time, people are not receptive to the idea of sustainable living because they believe false conceptions about it being more costly or inconvenient. Implementing easy changes into the lives of your roommates or parents may make them more receptive to the idea of sustainable living. A few easy ones are dryer balls to replace dryer sheets (cost-effective and more environmentally-friendly!), an all-purpose cleaner (see recipe below), and a DIY veggie broth (recipe below).
Veggie Broth: https://www.savorylotus.com/how-to-make-vegetable-broth/
All-Purpose Cleaner: https://www.goingzerowaste.com/blog/zero-waste-all-purpose-cleaner/
3. Any small effort counts
When it comes to sustainable living, it is important to note that any and every small effort makes a difference. Even efforts on only your part, as opposed to your entire household’s, can make a positive change. Focus on changes that you can make, and it might inspire others around you to do the same!