The Student Environmental Guide: How to Be More Sustainable

Thinking about our future and how to be more sustainable is something that every person should be doing.  

As a student, you’ll have your whole life in front of you and the time to make positive changes that could impact how we all live in the future. 

It can be daunting, for sure, and governments and multi-national corporations across the world bear the biggest responsibility to make changes that can help save our future and reduce carbon emissions and the catastrophic impact of climate change.  

There are things however that we can do in our everyday lives that can help make a small difference. If we all do our bit to live a more sustainable life, it helps to create a society where everyone wants the best for the planet and for each other.  

How to be more sustainable as a student

Take A Reusable Cup With You 

In the UK, we throw away around 2.5 billion disposable cups every single year – this just isn’t sustainable.  

One of the ways you can learn how to be more sustainable is to buy a reusable cup or thermos that you take with you to university every day.  

If you want a hot cup of tea or coffee you’re covered, or you can have water with you and a bottle to refill during the day. 

Reusable cup

Understand Your Water Consumption 

Water conservation is a hot topic, and after the hot summer and drought we’ve had in parts of the UK this year it will only become a more heated topic in years to come as climate change takes hold.  

You can watch how much water you use easily enough as a student. Simple things like turning the tap off whilst brushing your teeth or having quicker showers will all make a big difference over the course of a year living in your student apartment. 

You’ll also save on energy costs too, which is a winner! 

Water consumption

Look After Your Energy Usage At Home 

 This is important for the environment, and as energy prices soar it also helps you to understand what you can and can’t do to reduce energy consumption.  

Whenever you are leaving a room or going out, make sure you have switched off all the lights and any electrical equipment (you’d be surprised how much electricity is being used by an appliance on standby).  

When the sun is out in winter, keep those blinds and curtains open as it will warm up the room and save you turning the heating on that little bit longer.  

The longer you have natural light, the less time you’re reliant on electric lights too. 

Energy usage

Use Reusable Bags 

Our world is full of plastic bags that have been used once and thrown away. Make this a thing of the past by buying bags that you’ll use time and time again.  

Have a bag with you for everyday items, to take with you to the supermarket, when buying books, clothes, or any item. It will reduce the use of plastic and do your small part in helping the environment.  

In fact, you should try and use anything and everything that can be reused, from bottles and jars, to upcycling tricks to create new and upgraded furniture for your home. 

Reusable bags

Think About Your Waste 

Always recycle your rubbish, whether it’s at home or as you walk around your university campus.  

Take the time to find recycling bins and make it a habit that you stick to every day.  

If you have big items and stuff that you want to get rid of, dispose of them in a local tip or check with the local council to see if they collect old furniture.  

Donate your old clothes, books, and other items to charity shops wherever possible.  

These are all things you can easily do to change your waste into treasure. 

Recycle waste

Reduce Food Waste 

Just like general waste, food wastage is a big problem. How often do you end up throwing out food that has been sat in your fridge or in the cupboard? It’s a waste of food and a waste of your money. There are a few different ways in which you can reduce food waste and to live more sustainably: 

Meal planning on a budget – It is important to understand your budget and to shop accordingly. Plan for the week and batch cook every now and then, creating smaller portions that help you to keep a hold on costs.  

Donate to food banks – We are now in a position in the UK where there are food banks in every town and city. It is unacceptable, but we can do something to help. Take any extra food you have to food banks, helping those who need it and reducing your food waste. 

Too Good to Go – This is an ingenious app that links you to local cafés, restaurants, and food stores. The idea is that you pay a fraction of the cost of a usual item to buy a ‘magic bag’. The bag contains goods that would otherwise be food waste at the end of the day.

Food waste

Switch Up Your Diet To Vegetarianism & Veganism 

It is widely known that moving towards a plant-based diet is a positive change that we should all be trying to make to help with sustainability and the environment.  

If you’re not quite yet ready to go full vegetarian or vegan, do consider switching things up occasionally, even if it’s once a week.  

Try those meat-free substitutes, give vegetarian and vegan recipes a go, and when you do eat meat and seafood, shop for sustainable seafood and free range meat wherever possible.  

Vegetarianism & Veganism 

Change The Way You Travel 

One of the biggest things you can do to become more sustainable as a student is to think about how you travel to university and beyond.  

This obviously depends on where you live, but these days most town and city student apartments are within close reach of the colleges and universities that they serve.  

If it’s possible to walk or cycle, always take that option. If not, then look for public transport options. This approach will help to drastically reduce your personal carbon footprint. 

Change the way you travel

That’s a wrap on how to be more sustainable.Following our suggestions is not as difficult as it might seem and they’ll not only benefit the environment but they’ll also save you a little money. Don’t you reckon being sustainable is worthwhile?!

From your student apartment you can make these changes that you take with you into adult life, making positive changes, reducing your carbon footprint, and doing all that you can to create a better planet for future generations. 

Read next: Freshers On A Student Budget: How To Have The Most Fun, Even When Your Bank Account Says Otherwise.  

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