Student life

How to be eco-friendly at university


Today’s student population are more environmentally aware than ever, speaking up about the future of our planet and taking sustainability seriously. Often referred to as ‘generation green’, millennials have influenced the economy by being willing to pay more for products and services from companies who are committed to making positive environmental change.

But as students who need to be careful with their cash, what can you do to be more eco-friendly at university? Believe it or not, there are a few simple changes you can make to be kind to both the planet and your wallet – from organic bedding to recycling and food choices, read our eco-tips.

Reduce the amount of printing you do

While printing has its uses for studying and in the workplace, there is a big environmental cost to pay. Stop Waste, an environmental change agency, estimates that 17% of everything printed becomes waste. In the digital age of 2020, nearly every resource is just a screen-tap away and note-taking is simpler than ever with smart devices – so, consider reading on a screen rather than printing. This way, you can cut down on paper costs while also reducing deforestation.

Avoid buying bottled water

According to research carried out by Forbes, the global population buys one million single-use bottles per minute. Many of these bottles end up in landfills or as litter, adding to the hazardous microplastics in our water. One of the best eco-friendly products for students to invest in is a reusable bottle. Filling up a reusable bottle at a water dispenser will mean you are helping to reduce almost 8 million tonnes of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans every year.

Reduce, reuse and recycle

If you and your housemates are thinking about how to make your home more eco-friendly, one of the best ways to start is with the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. While it is incredibly difficult to stop waste production entirely, reducing, reusing and recycling can help save energy, protect natural resources and minimise pollution caused by waste.

Reduce:

• Reduce unwanted mail by registering with The Mailing Preference Service, allowing you to opt out of unsolicited, personally addressed junk mail.

• Consider doorstep deliveries of organic vegetables and fresh produce, often wrapped in reusable or returnable packaging. You could also visit your local greengrocer, where you can buy fruit and veg loose. This is not only a great money-saving tip, but also means there will be no waste if you’re cooking for one!

• Invest in solar-powered items – for example, lightbulbs and watches

• Choose products that can be plugged into the mains, rather than using batteries. If batteries are unavoidable, try buying rechargeable options

If you are renting student accommodation, ask your landlord if it is possible to install a smart meter to record and monitor your consumption of electrical energy

Reuse:

• Pass on old textbooks to new students – in most university departments there are subject-specific book swapping stations. Alternatively, there may be social media groups where you can organise book swaps

• Try to repair broken items, instead of automatically buying new ones

• Reuse carrier bags for shopping or as bin liners

• Donate unwanted clothing to local charity shop

• Organise a clothes swap with friends

Recycle:

• Buy stationery that is recyclable – for example, notebooks and pencils

• If possible, compost your garden waste and vegetable peelings. If you don’t have a green area where you are living, take them to a recycling centre

• Use local recycling facilities – for example, plastic bottle banks, shoe banks and can banks

• Keep an eye out for any recycling services that your local council offers

Swap to organic bedding

If you’re looking into eco-friendly products for the home, consider swapping your regular bedding to organic bedding. Organic bedding has become increasingly popular over the last few years, particularly for being environmentally safer and healthier than conventional bedding. As well as being environmentally friendly, it’s pesticide free, hypoallergenic and temperature-regulating. What’s more is that organic production systems use natural fertilisers (rather than toxic ones), maintaining soil health and using fewer natural resources to make the same amount of product. So, if you’re wondering how to make your home more eco-friendly, start looking into sustainable bedding options.

Re-think your food choices

If you want to become more environmentally aware without changing your entire diet – don’t panic! There are plenty of foods you can eat to help the planet by making just a few small changes to your usual food routine. Avoiding processed foods is the first step to becoming more mindful of the planet, along with the simple rule of choosing foods that are from the ground or a tree. Examples of eco-friendly foods include garden peas, lentils, tomatoes, beans, broccoli, nuts, potatoes and oranges – all of which are nutrient rich and unharmful to the environment.

Eco-friendly home improvements

Eco-friendly home improvements are not only great for the planet, they can also save you money. Examples of how to make your home more eco-friendly include:

• Save as much water as possible (check for leaks and don’t leave taps running unnecessarily)

• Replace lightbulbs with energy efficient options

• Embrace natural cleaning products such as vinegar, citric acid and bicarbonate of soda

• Wear extra layers to avoid using too much heating

• Create your own compost from kitchen scraps and leftover food

• Buy recycled products

• Cook using eco-friendly foods

Student contents insurance from Endsleigh

Once you’ve decided to become more eco-friendly at university, it’s important to protect your belongings so you don’t end up having to buy more products than are necessary. Student contents insurance from Endsleigh will protect all of your contents and gadgets in your student home, including phones, tablets, laptops, televisions, sports equipment and more – all under one policy.

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Student insurance

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