Between sustainability protests, a passion for David Attenborough’s work and the uprise of veganism, current students are more aware of the importance of a sustainable lifestyle than ever before. They prove every single day that making eco-friendly changes to your daily routine doesn’t have to be costly.
If you’re a student looking to take more accountability for your impact on the environment, the three ‘R’s are a brilliant place to start... and it can be as easy as only making a few simple swaps! Whilst it's difficult to stop waste production entirely, reducing, reusing and recycling can help save energy, protect natural resources and minimise pollution caused by waste! So let’s begin..
• Opt out of junk mail
Consider registering with The Mailing Preference Service, which allows you to opt out of receiving unwanted junk mail. Also consider reducing your printing for studying and in the workplace. It’s estimated that 17% of everything printed becomes waste, and these tips will help reduce deforestation and energy usage.
• Use refillable supermarkets
Refillable supermarkets offer a zero-waste alternative to dry food such as pasta, rice and cereals, plus things like cleaning products and soaps. You could also visit your local greengrocer, where you can buy fruit and veg loose – just invest in a few tote bags to help you get them home!
This is not only a great money-saving tip, but also means there will be no waste if you’re cooking for one!
• Consider environmentally friendly power sources
Invest in solar powered watches and light bulbs. You could also open those blinds to let as much natural light in as possible during the day. Also consider switching to rechargeable batteries for your remotes!
• Think about getting a smart meter
If you are living in student accommodation, you could ask your landlord if it's possible to install a smart meter to record and monitor how much energy you’re using. This may not be possible if you’re living in halls though!
• 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.
• Rethink your wardrobe
Donate unwanted clothing to a local charity shop or organise a clothes swap with friends. Also consider looking in charity shops for new clothes or accessories. Or maybe head down to a vintage kilo pop-up for some sustainable and affordable fashion options.
• Green on the go!
Avoid single-use bottles and cups by popping your flat white in a reusable cup and carrying a stylish water bottle with you wherever you go.
• Compost if you can
Where possible, compost your garden waste, veggie scraps and used coffee granules. If you aren’t able to do this at home you can take these to a local recycling centre, and while you’re there, be sure to bring any bottles, cans, old shoes and clothes.
• Buy responsible products
Purchase products that have recyclable packaging, and/or are made from recycled materials. A good place to start is with your toiletries and stationery.
• See what’s local
Check out your local council's facilities for recycling pick-up services. This can help you manage your waste effectively and make it a breeze to take those all-important steps towards living sustainably.
What extra things can you do to be eco-friendly in your student home?
- Pick up a bamboo or recycled plastic toothbrush.
- Replace lightbulbs with energy efficient options.
- Embrace natural cleaning products such as white vinegar, citric acid and bicarbonate of soda.
- Grab a cosy blanket or some extra layers to cut down on heating - your bank balance will also thank you for this one!
- Save as much water as possible (check for leaks and don’t leave your taps running unnecessarily).
- Cut down on meat – did you know that meat production accounts for almost 60% of greenhouse gasses from food production?
The essential student app
Keen to get cashback and make the most of your purchases? Use that cashback to get money off future insurance? Get free 24/7 wellbeing support? And even manage your gadget and possessions cover? Well look no further! My Endsleigh is the essential app for students and it can help you with all these things and more!