Committing to an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

The growing climate crisis we are witnessing is not news at this point. We can’t help but sense the feeling of impending doom creep in as we see wildfires wiping out once vivacious forests and flash floods destroying homes. Yet, the second we understand that we are part of the equation to save our planet, change can be made. Adopting a more sustainable lifestyle can help ensure you are doing your part. This lifestyle may look a bit different for everyone. As a college student, living eco-friendly may take a more conscious effort, but it can be accomplished if you are committed enough.

Skylar Saba devotes her time to educating others on the different ways to adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle through her company Happy Earth Habits. Photo provided by Happy Earth Habits.

Skylar Saba is the founder and CEO of Happy Earth Habits, a company focused on environmental sustainability education for anyone looking to go green with their lifestyle. While studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Saba’s eyes were opened to the immense impact the fashion industry has on the planet. The realization was as overwhelming as it was motivating.

“I would come home, and I remember being super sad about things,” Saba said. “I’d sit on my fire escape and I would just cry, and I was like ‘I have to do something about this.’”

So, she took to Instagram and TikTok to share the knowledge she was learning at FIT studying product development, ethics and sustainability. She quickly found a community of people who were also interested in sustainable living.

Saba aims to prevent others from having their own “fire escape moments” by shifting the narrative of the doom and gloom associated with climate issues to a hopeful outlook that encourages “imperfectly perfect sustainability.”

“You can’t eat a sandwich in one bite. You have to take it bite by bite. I think that really plays true with sustainability, it’s one thing at a time,” Saba said.

Sage Saccomanno, a junior studying chemistry at Bard College, and founder of sustainable clothing brand Bigger Brain, also sees how it can be so overwhelming to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Some people don’t even know where to start.

“One of my favorite quotes says ‘we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly,’” Saccomanno said.

Saba suggests starting off by focusing on the connection you have with the planet, because we can’t all fight every single battle for the world we love. For example, maybe you’re a beach person, so you could make an effort to cut back on single-use plastic, since that is often what pollutes beaches.

Another “golden rule” Saba preaches is assessing your trash to find what you are throwing out the most, and from there you can try to find more sustainable swaps. 

In addition to this, she acknowledges the fact that as young adults, starting fresh and wiping out your bathroom cabinets to find all new eco-friendly products isn’t necessarily the most cost effective decision. So, she suggests that when you run out of a product or item, you try to search for a new, sustainable version of it.

Here are some eco-friendly “swaps” Saba suggests for different areas of your home:


Shampoo bars can reduce your amount of plastic waste while still giving your hair a healthy cleanse. Photo by FitNish Media on Unsplash.

Shampoo and conditioner bars are an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bottles of hair products. Like regular shampoo and conditioner, you may have to do some trial and error to find the brand that works best for your hair type, but Saba says once you switch, you probably won’t ever go back. Another simple swap is opting for a bamboo toothbrush, which really won’t change anything in your routine.

A bigger investment, but one that Saba said changed her life in the bathroom, was purchasing The Leaf Razor. This plastic-free, reusable razor may seem a bit pricey, as it’s $59 for a single edge and $84 for a triple-blade, but Saba says the quality and longevity makes it worth it.


Saba’s reusable kitchen essentials. Photo provided by Happy Earth Habits.

Saba suggests reusable alternatives for plastic wrap like Food Huggers, beeswax wrap or Stasher bags to use in the kitchen, as well as a set of reusable containers. Whether that be saved takeout containers or store-bought glass bamboo ones, both can help eliminate single use plastic. The excessive use of plastic water bottles can also be curbed by installing a good water filtration system, which Saba says is worth the investment.


Hanging your clothes to dry instead of using a dryer saves energy and is more cost effective. Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash.

Ditch liquid laundry detergent that comes in bulky plastic packaging and get more bang for your buck with a detergent concentrate like Tangie. Saba says this, along with washing your clothes on cold and hanging them to dry, can make a huge difference. 

She also recommends sticking to the clothes you already have in your wardrobe, or if you need to purchase clothes, try to thrift them or buy them from a sustainably sourced business.

Saccomanno’s sustainable fashion brand, Bigger Brain, offers clothing with an important message behind it: being smart is cool.

Photo provided by Sage Saccomanno.

“Especially after being in college and actually getting to study something that I really love, it’s just showed me how much I could have benefited from a brand or somebody like a community empowering young individuals (saying) that it’s OK to like school, it’s OK to be smart,” Saccomanno said.

A group of students and Saccomanno (front, center)  repping apparel from Bigger Brain’s “Smart In Style” collection. Photo provided by Sage Saccomanno.

The “Smart In Style” collection offers t-shirts depicting different chemicals like dopamine and melatonin, with an informational card explaining things like the chemical’s properties and purpose. Bigger Brain products are made from 100% organic cotton, lowering the amount of water needed for production. In partnership with the brand’s manufacturer, Known Supply, the tags on all the shirts contain the name and signature of the person who physically made it, and there is a barcode that leads you to a site to thank that person.

Photo provided by Lorelei Pryor.

This time commitment is met with a driving passion for sustainability that can also be seen by Lorelei Pryor, a studio art major with a concentration in two-dimensional studies at Messiah University in Pennsylvania. Pryor dedicates time to her sustainable art and clothing brand Lorelei Designs, which utilizes recycled clothes like blank shirts from Goodwill that she then screenprints a design on.

“My goal is to not bring any more clothing into the industry and just use stuff that’s already there,” Pryor said.

Examples of upcycled shirts from Lorelei Designs. Photo provided by Lorelei Pryor.

She emphasizes the importance of working to return to a more sustainable mindset, despite our current society being plagued by consumerism.

“I just think it’s good to be mindful of the environment around us and take care of what we have,” Pryor said.

Saccomanno and Pryor’s businesses are prime examples of what dedicated advocacy for sustainability looks like on a larger scale. However, they too once started on a smaller scale that began with committing themselves to living their own eco-friendly lifestyle. Habits as simple as turning off the lights when leaving a room may seem like second nature to them by now, but if you are just getting started, this is a great place to begin, along with making any swaps mentioned above.

“When we’re living in alignment with the planet, when we’re living in alignment with Mama Earth, a lot of times we’re living in alignment with our highest form of ourselves,” Saba said.

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