Simple ways to live sustainably as a student

Simple ways to live sustainably as a student

We all know the planet is in trouble, so here are some small ways I do my part and live sustainably as a student:


Buy non perishables like rice and pasta in bulk to reduce the overall packaging you’re using. Buy your fruit and veg loose, either from the supermarket or ideally from a local greengrocer, and carry in a mesh produce bag to reduce your consumption of single use plastics. Also get your meat from a local butcher and have it wrapped in paper rather than plastic. Try to only buy the food you need for the week to reduce food waste, and freeze any leftovers.

Try to get emailed receipts to reduce how much paper you throw away. This also helps make it easier to find important ones! Some supermarkets such as Morrison’s give you the option to not have a receipt printed, which is great if you’re buying things you definitely won’t need to return.


Walk, cycle or take the bus as much as possible. If you don’t have access to reliable public transport, try car sharing to reduce the number of cars on the road. Driving all the time isn’t good for the planet, and sustainably doesn’t make sense. Try to make a trip count. Run errands in one go rather than making lots of small trips. It’s all about making changes you can stick to.

Simple ways to live sustainably as a student


Try to reduce how often you use the tumble dryer. Only put it on if it’s a full load, and if it’s essential. Consider buying dryer balls which help reduce the time it takes to dry your clothes. When it’s sunny, put your clothes on the line outside. You can easily construct one with some string, and pegs cost about a pound in places like Wilko. Remember to always wash your clothes at 30.

Turn your old, hole filled tops, sheets and towels into cleaning rags to reduce the number of cloths and sponges you buy. Old towels can also be donated to animal shelters if they aren’t too shabby.

Electricity usage

You probably hear this all the time, but turn off plugs when you aren’t using them. Don’t leave your phone charging overnight so you aren’t wasting electricity. Turn down your heating and reduce the amount of time it’s on for each day. Switch your bulbs to power saving ones. It might be annoying to wait for them to get to full brightness, but it saves a lot of energy.

Simple ways to live sustainably as a student

Single use packaging

Single use plastics like straws are one of the biggest threats to the environment. Get yourself reusable straws, travel cups and Tupperware containers. Bonus points if you can get reusable things that aren’t also made of plastic. Metal straws and glass Tupperware are a great way to reduce your plastic use, and bamboo travel cups are super cute.

Hygiene and makeup

Reduce your cotton usage by making your own cotton pads from old towels or tops, or buy a flannel or makeup removing cloth.

Try out bar soap, shampoo and more to reduce your plastic usage. Lush has a huge range that are also cruelty free.

Simple ways to live sustainably as a student

Extra tips

Get yourself a cute air cleaning plant (or three) to help offset any pollution in the air that can cause or exacerbate long conditions and even breakouts.

Consider offsetting your carbon footprint if you think it’s particularly high, perhaps if you driver everywhere or travel on planes a lot. There are many companies now that you can pay to plant trees on your behalf. Just do your research to make sure they’re legit.

These might seem like a lot, but its our duty to learn how to live sustainably as a student. A lot of these tips will also save you money!

Simple ways to live sustainably as a student

Rebecca Ford

Student Advice Writer. Rebecca studies English at Keele University and writes a weekly advice column for First Years.