By now, pretty much everyone on the planet knows we need to be doing more to save it; we can’t recycle our way out of crisis, but what can we do instead? Here are my tips on how you can go green as a student with limited funds and influence. It really can make a difference.
1. Totally refuse single use plastics
Or single use anything, for that matter. Seriously, it seems obvious, but after adopting this attitude I’ve genuinely come to loathe the sight of plastic water bottles. Why do they still exist? There’s so many alternatives for single use materials that you’ll literally be spoiled for choice. Flasks, metal straws, reusable period products, canvas bags, bars of shampoo – you can even get biodegradable glitter. Just stop buying the products with unnecessary packaging. Stop accepting the single use stuff. It’s literally disgusting.
2. Find alternative ways to travel
Yes, I know the bus is gross. I know that cycling or walking to Uni is a huge effort. But ask yourself: is taking your car really any better? University parking permit prices are astronomical, and the chances of even getting a space are slim at best. And the benefits to the environment are obvious. Save yourself some money, keep fit, save the planet. Simple. The only downside is that you’re going to have to find a new excuse for being late to your 9 am’s – uttering the word ‘traffic’ whilst trying to catch your breath and rushing to your seat is no longer an option.
3. Meat- free Mondays
Okay, so I’d personally recommend going meat- free always (and I can’t take credit for meat – free Mondays, they’ve been around for a while). But red meat consumption in particular is a huge contributor to global warming, and cutting down for even one day a week can make a huge difference. Check out these student friendly vegetarian recipes for some inspiration.
4. Shop pre-owned
Again, there’s loads of options for this – and you can probably save yourself some money too. Why buy new textbooks at ridiculous prices when you can get them secondhand at half the cost? And, I know they get a bad rep, but vintage shops are seriously the way forward. Where else can you get a Tommy Hilfiger jacket or Levis shorts for a tenner? Nowhere. You’re reducing waste production and saving yourself a fortune. Win win.
5. Take digital notes
I know, this one’s hard to swallow – the joy of starting a new notebook is second to none. But taking paper notes has seriously gone out of fashion. Notes taken on paper are far more likely to get thrown away or lost than ones kept on your laptop, and you’re producing far less waste. Also – stop printing off thousands of pages of journals. If you honestly think you’re ever going to read them, you’re lying to yourself.
6. Buy a few plants
Or a lot of them. One of my first year flat mates had 30 lined up on her windowsill. And, okay, so you don’t need to take it quite that far. But plants look adorable, they release oxygen (which can also be good for your mental health) and I can honestly say there’s nothing better than that proud – parent feeling of watching them grow. Take a trip to your nearest garden centre and see what you can find.
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