It’s an issue that faces students every day – you want to save the world without spending all your measly student loan. Well have no fear: now you can walk past the fair-trade stall straight to the supermarket’s own brand without feeling guilty. Here are ten cost effective tips to help you be more eco-friendly:
1) Walk or cycle to university – It’s healthier. It’s better for the environment. It’s cheaper than the bus. With zero carbon emissions and a guilt-free alternative to joining a gym, you have no excuse not to.
2) Recycle – If there aren’t already recycling facilities in your house or halls then make some. Everyone has leftover boxes from moving in, and if not local shops will have more than enough spare for you and your friends to take home. Put them in a shared kitchen and soon everyone will be recycling. A nifty, cost-free way to save the planet.
3) Use a whiteboard and pen – A small investment that will save paper and your pocket. White-boards are re-usable unlike all those ‘to-do’ post-it notes plastering your bedroom walls thus saving your paper and money.
4) Buy second hand goods – Buying second hand goods is a great way to significantly reduce your spending. Second hand shops have everything from your recommended French Dictionary to that D&G bag, all at a fraction of the price. Even better, locally donated goods have very low transportation costs, which is good news for your carbon footprint. As well as re-using an item that might otherwise have gone to waste, you know that your money is going to a good cause.
5) Buy locally sourced produce – Shopping at the local greengrocers, farmer’s market and butchers is a sure way to cut down your carbon footprint by getting rid of those air miles. As well as supporting your local community, the produce will be cheaper, fresher and tastier. Bargain.
6) Replace meat with vegetable dishes – An old student trick to cut down on spendings, but one that is good for you and the planet too. The production of meats such as lamb and pork emits 13 times more carbon emissions than is emitted by growing fruit and vegetables. Replacing meat dishes with vegetable dishes can be better for your health, cost less and reduce your carbon footprint.
7) Pair up for washing laundry –Washing machines use between 10-24 gallons per wash. More often than not, washing machines are only partially filled before being switched on, wasting water and electricity. Solution? Pair up for laundry. Doubling up with a friend to share the chore will half the amount of washing you do and save you time, water and money. You can save even more by turning down the temperature of your wash. This uses less electricity and makes your clothes last longer.
8) Tinker with that toilet – This takes 20 minutes and saves the average person 2 gallons per flush, or 750 gallons of water per year. Wash out a two litre milk bottle and remove the label. Fill with water, several stones to weight it down and add a few drops of bleach. Screw the lid on and place the bottle in the cistern away from the flushing mechanism. Check occasionally to assure the bottle has not shifted.
9) Unplug that charger! – Mobile phones take on average only two hours to charge yet thousands of Britons are guilty of leaving their phone on charge overnight. Overcharged mobile phones – a problem that comes second only to overcharged laptops. Together, mobile phones and laptops contribute to 83% total overcharged electrical devices. This wastes British households a staggering £134 million pounds per year and the problem is increasing.
10) Join a committee – Find a charity or not-for-profit society and JOIN IT. Not only will it look great on your CV, especially if you stick at it long enough to become a committee member, societies are great places to meet new, like-minded people. And often there are pub nights out.