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There are so many teenagers that are turning towards eco-conscious living in recent times. Unfortunately, as a teen, when you’re living with your parents or hostel mates, it tends to feel hard to be able to practice this lifestyle as you may not have autonomy over what happens in the household overall. You may be given allowances within the limit of which, you may have to settle your lifestyle choice. And getting a lot of things done in an eco-friendly manner may seem almost impossible to you when living with people who don’t share the same values as you.

But there are still a lot of things that are in your control and that you can do. There are always things we can do from our side without bothering others too much. These lifestyle choices could potentially show your parents or roommates how this way of living could even save money for them. And that can sometimes be a strong motivator for many.

So let’s try and follows these steps and do our part to make small differences as a teen.

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1. Use What You Already Have.

Most of us may feel inspired to buy a bunch of zero-waste products as soon as we start this journey. We may want to mark our new lifestyle and get people to notice it too. But that’s very counterproductive and wasteful. Instead, use whatever it is that you already have, that is in good working condition. Be it books, pencils, pens, bags etc, keep using the ones you already have until it finishes or gets damaged. Don’t get hung up on just consuming more and more just because something is more eco-friendly. That also counts as over-consumption.

2. Get Sustainable Alternatives When Possible.

If you are done with any of the things you’re currently using or are in the need of something new, try and purchase sustainable alternatives. It may very well be your parents who decide what to get you, but try and insist on getting sustainable alternatives. You need not get a bunch of them if the cost of these products is of concern to your folks, but buy one of them. You can buy one recycled paper book instead of several, to start with. Buy one ink pen and use it for a long time. So there are sustainable products that you can convince your parents to get at least one of. And sometimes just one of these can last you a good, long time. For a teen Eco-Warrior, using as less of new products as possible may even be a motto!

3. Take Back Food Leftovers Sustainably.

These days, a lot of families go out to eat more often than before. And we usually over-order and tend to have leftovers of curries, bread, rice etc. And our parents often ask the restaurant to pack it to take it home. 9/10 times, it is packed in plastic packaging which will then get thrown out. Instead, carry your own containers to take the leftovers back in. You would know better about the food dynamics of your family and how much wastage usually happens. So you can carry containers as per your family’s necessity. Your parents may act weird at first but they will eventually realise that you’re saving them from a lot of unnecessary waste.

4. Start A Club or Community

There may be several other teenagers who may also be interested in living a more sustainable life amongst your classmates or neighbours that you may not be aware of. And forming a group to discuss your inspirations or problems that you face, can be the support that you need. These clubs will also encourage other teens to start thinking about making more conscious choices in their own life. It can definitely become a catalyst to get more of the teen population to start considering giving this lifestyle a chance.

5. Choose Secondhand Clothes.

Purchasing new clothes for you once or twice a year might be a tradition for your family. And by choosing thrift or secondhand clothes over brand new clothes, you show your parents how much money you’ll be able to save for them in just this one aspect. It can show them how secondhand clothing need not necessarily mean low quality but that it only means that it’s preloved or pre-worn but in a good condition. And once you start choosing them over new ones, your parents or roommates may also slowly come over to your side, for the money aspect, at least.

6. Take Your Packed Lunch OR Choose Your School Canteen.

Get your food packed from your home and try to avoid disposable packaging food completely. And in case your folks are unable to pack lunch for you every day, then choose your school canteen where it would mostly be in reusable plates and cutlery. If not, carry your own plate and cutlery, just in case the canteen also uses disposable plates or so. This would be an everyday occurrence, so try and be as mindful as possible about it.

7. Go Plogging During The Weekend

Plogging has become popular in most countries today. It is the act of picking up trash while jogging. Meaning, that it’s healthy for you and also helps you reduce the amount of waste you may see on your streets or roads. A lot of cities now have their own plogging groups. So try to join in one and spend one weekend a month helping pick up the viewable waste and keeping our streets clean. This activity is on a voluntary basis and you could even ask your parents or a fellow teen to join you during one of the plogging sessions to help open their eyes to the waste problem in our cities.

8. Get Used Books, Borrow or Lend From A Library

As a student, you probably need a lot of textbooks and reference books every year. And a lot of these books can turn out to be quite expensive too. And it usually lasts you just a year, after which it turns out useless to you. Enquire with your seniors, if they would be willing to sell their old textbooks to you at a lower price. Or even borrow it if it is only for short-term use. And if nothing, try checking out libraries to get some of the popular educational books for your reference or projects, instead of buying them for one-time use.

So these are some of the steps you can follow as a teen, to lead a Zero-Waste Life. Simple yet Effective Steps. So I hope you found all the tips helpful and that they would help you inspite of living in a household that may not be too supportive of it.

If you’re looking to buy secondhand clothes or sell your existing clothes, check out THIS POST to find the apps that help with doing that.

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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm a Low Waste Lifestyle Practitioner, an Eco-YouTuber and a Body Positive Individual who has turned her mindset towards living an intentional and purposeful life. I spread awareness about reducing one's carbon footprint so as to to reverse the destruction that has already been done to our environment. I'd love to connect with like-minded people and help you wade into this lifestyle.

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