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Articles > Environment November, 08, 2021

How to live sustainably at university

Jess Hay
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With the recent COP26 held in Glasgow, climate change is a topic very prominently featured on the news. If you’re like me, you might be wondering how you could help make a difference when at university, a time when you must manage finances, and live independently.

Being sustainable at university (for those who live in student accommodation) vs being sustainable at home can be quite different! With more to manage and sometimes more restraint due to costs, organised living spaces and living with new people, it can be tricky. Living sustainably doesn’t have to be based on grand gestures however, and the simplest changes can make a difference.

Here are some top tips and suggestions to help make sustainable living a part of your routine🍃

1. Fashion

Shopping is great fun for lots of people, and it’s nice to have a new outfit for going out, upcoming interviews or sports gear. Being a student however means that the appeal of cheap fashion is very attractive. Though it might have a nice price tag, its environmental impact is often very damaging.

Buying from second-hand websites, such as Vinted or Depop is a great way to buy not only cheap clothes, but also is a much more sustainable way of purchasing that new outfit. Moreover, selling your clothes also brings in some extra cash for you and again helps stop the fast fashion movement.

Charity shopping can also be a fun activity and you can find some amazing bargains. There is also a brilliant website called ‘Good on you’ where you can search up brands and it gives them a rating for how sustainable they are in regard to their environmental impact, their impact on people and on animals. (https://directory.goodonyou.eco) It also gives you suggestions for some great ethical alternative brands to shop from.

2. Food

Eating less meat is a very common suggestion that a lot of people advocate for. Sometimes as a student its harder to be as flexible with your meals, but maybe committing to eating vegetarian or vegan for the weekdays is a good way to start cutting down on your meat consumption. Or you could do a month of a vegetarian diet or choose to cut out meat apart from chicken. If you do want to eat meat, looking at where it has been sourced from is also a good way to help eat sustainably. Buying loose fruit and veg is also great. Supermarkets now often have paper bags that you can weigh your carrots or apples in, reducing the sale of produce in plastic packaging.

TooGoodToGo is a great app for preventing food waste. You pay a reduced cost for a ‘mystery meal’ at some of your favourite restaurants, shops and cafes. This works to reduce food waste at the end of the day, while meaning you can get fast food for a lower price!

3. Living

There are also some easy swaps that you can make in your everyday routines. Using a shower, shampoo or conditioner bar is a great way to cut down on your plastic. Taking a travel mug to cafes, instead of using a single use take out cup, means you can ask them to make your drink in your mug and reduce waste. Cafes sometimes have price incentives for this as well. When shopping, using reusable cloth bags or old plastic bags again helps reduce the amount of plastic you use.

These are just some suggestions, but even one swap can help make a difference! Please also comment if you have any other suggestions you would like to share!

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  1. Kevin

    I think when I am in the uni, I learned lots of stuff about cooking and having the healthy diet. To be honestly, it’s quite interesting to cook cuz I had no idea how to cook before.