Students face this issue every day - you want to save the planet without spending all your student loan. Fear not! Now you don’t have to feel guilty about walking past the fair-trade brands. Here are 10 tips to help you be more eco-friendly without breaking the bank.
1. Walk or cycle to uni
It’s healthier, better for the environment and cheaper than public transport. With zero carbon emissions and a guilt-free alternative to joining a gym, there’s no excuse.
Recycling your plastic, tins, bottles and paper is a great way to save the environment. If there aren’t any recycling facilities in your accommodation, then make some. Someone is bound to have leftover boxes from moving in, and if not you can pick them up from most supermarkets. Set them up in a shared kitchen and soon you’ll all be recycling. A nifty, cost-free way to save the planet.
3. Use a whiteboard and pen
This is a small investment that will save paper and your purse. White-boards are re-usable (unlike all those ‘to-do’ post-it notes plastering your bedroom walls) and they’ll last a lot longer.
4. Buy second hand
This is a really great way to reduce your spending. Second hand shops have everything; from your recommended text books to Mulberry bags, all at a tiny proportion of their full price. Better still, goods donated locally have low transportation costs: great news for your carbon footprint!
5. Buy locally sourced produce
Shopping at your local greengrocers, farmer’s market or butchers is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint because you’re getting rid of the air miles associated with major supermarkets. Supporting your local community will be cheaper, fresher and tastier. Bargain!
6. Make a shopping list
Plan your meals, write a list and stick to it. Britain’s households throw out an estimated 15 million tonnes of edible food each year, so get meal planning; waste less food and save money and the environment at the same time.
7. Replace meat with vegetable dishes
Try skipping meat for one day a week to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your health. The Food and Agricultural Organisation estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. So simply partaking in ‘Meat free Mondays’ could not only save the planet, but also save you a few pennies each week.
8. Get a laundry buddy
Clothes washing now accounts for 7% of your energy bill, and often washing machines are only partially filled before being switched on, wasting both water and electricity. The best way to save money and the environment would be to pair up with a friend to wash your loads together. Sharing this chore will half the amount of washing you do, saving you time, water and money. You can save even further by reducing the temperature of your wash, this uses less electricity and makes your clothes last longer.
9. Make your toilet eco-friendly
You can get a cistern displacement device (CDD) from most water companies, which is placed in the cistern of your toilet to displace about 1 litre every time you flush. This could potentially save you 5000 litres a year – lowering both your bill and your water usage!
10. Join a committee
Find an environmental charity or not-for-profit society and join it. Not only will it look great on your CV, especially if you become a committee member, but societies are also great places to meet new, like-minded people.