How to be a Sustainable University Student
Want to know how you can be more environmentally friendly whilst at university? From walking to campus to recycling or eating less meat, read on to discover all the ways you can be a more sustainable university student.
Walk to Campus
Whilst often quick and convenient, we all know that there are more environmentally friendly ways to travel than by driving. If it’s a short trip, you can try walking or cycling. This is also a great way to get some extra exercise into your day! If you’re going further afield, public transport like a bus, train or tram can also be convenient and cost effective.
Travelling to and from your university campus is a journey most students complete daily. So to help to cut harmful emissions and reduce your carbon footprint, why not try one of these methods instead.
Choose Eco-Friendly Stationery
Help reduce your carbon footprint by choosing eco-friendly study supplies. The most common option is recycled paper, such as recycled copier paper, recycled refill pads, or recycled notebooks. Using stationery made from recycled paper can help save forests and reduce deforestation. There are also lots of options for other recycled stationery; such as pens, pencils, and ring binders.
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint even further, look for products that are both recycled, and recyclable, such as our eco-friendly notebook range, nu: evolve. You can usually find out how to recycle notebooks by checking the labels on them.
Read Used Books
Borrow books from the library or buy second-hand books instead of purchasing brand new ones. This saves the energy and resources required to print brand new books. Likewise, re-sell old books you no longer need at the end of the year to those in the year below you. This is a much more sustainable way of studying.
Drink from a Reusable Coffee Cup and a Refillable Water Bottle
A recent study found that approximately 13 billion water bottles are used per year in the UK. This means billions of plastic water bottles are used once and then discarded after one use. Most plastic bottles can be recycled, if correctly disposed of. However, their manufacturing processes can produce harmful greenhouse gases and use up resources. To reduce waste and be more sustainable, choose a BPA-free water bottle that can be refilled at taps or water filling stations.
Likewise, a reusable coffee cup can be used time and time again. Most coffee cups are not recyclable, so bringing your own is a great way to help the environment. You may also find that your local coffee shop offers a discount when you use your reusable cup.
Shop with Reusable Bags
When you do your food shop, avoid plastic and paper bags and use canvas or reusable bags instead. Greenpeace states that there are around 12.7 million tonnes of plastic in our oceans. Plastic bags don’t biodegrade – you use them once and they take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
Instead of contributing to this plastic crisis, take an eco-friendly tote to the supermarket. Not only will this be more comfortable to carry home, but you can also use it over and over again. This is a great example of a small change you can make to have a big impact.
Reduce Plastic Use
Like plastic bags, there are many single-use plastics we use every day which we could replace with more sustainable options. Reducing the amount of single-use plastic you use is easier said than done, but here are our top tips.
When at the supermarket, try to shop items with minimal plastic packaging and don’t buy food wrapped in plastics, such as loose fruit and veg. If you can find one near you, try doing part of your weekly shop at a refill store. These stores encourage you to bring your own containers, and fill them with loose fruit, vegetables, nuts, cereals, and even shampoo. You can also choose plastic-free toiletries such as bamboo toothbrushes.
Buying locally grown produce can help support the local economy, and also have a great benefit to the environment. Bringing products from all around the world to your supermarket releases a high amount of emissions. When you buy local produce such as at farmer’s markets, you are contributing to the reduction of this. Check the packaging to see where your food has come from and be mindful of how far your food has travelled to get to your plate.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Recycle your paper, plastic and metal to help reduce landfill, save resources, and cut emissions. Most local councils run weekly curbside collections. You may also find recycling bins on campus or local recycling banks. Here, you can recycle everything from used notebooks to plastic bottles to tin cans. You can even recycle old stationery at some specialist locations.
Likewise, use reusable containers for food storage rather than plastic wrapping. Buy products made from recycled materials and that are also recyclable. You can also upcycle or donate old clothes and furniture to reuse them, instead of throwing them away.
Reduce Water Usage
Minimise water usage to save water. There are many ways you can reduce your water usage and small changes will help make a big impact. Start taking shorter showers, only do laundry when you have a full load, and turn off the tap when you brush your teeth, wash your face, and shave.
Reduce Power Usage
Save energy by reducing your power usage. Turn off switches and unplug sockets when they’re not in use. Turn off lights when they’re not needed and use natural light instead. Power down appliances when you’re not using them. Switching off in this way will help the environment but will also help you cut your energy bills.
Switch off or lower the heating to save energy. Turn your thermostat down a few degrees and use blankets to keep warm instead. Put a jumper on instead of turning the heating on. This will help preserve energy and help you save on your heating bills.
You don’t always need to buy new clothes to be in style. The fashion industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, water pollution, air pollution, and overuse of water. The ‘fast fashion’ economy we live in has continued to make this worse. You can be a more sustainable student by swapping fast fashion for second-hand to reduce waste.
You can find some stylish pieces and unique items in a charity or vintage shop, and usually at a bargain price! You can also upcycle and reuse old clothes or fashion items into something new. Or reuse, resell, or donate clothes to wear again, instead of throwing them away.
Eat Less Meat
Eating less meat can greatly benefit the environment. There is a huge environmental impact of farming animals for meat. If you aren’t ready to go completely vegetarian or vegan, try switching to a plant-based diet with small amounts of meat and fish.
Switching to vegetarianism can cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly two-thirds*. It also reduces dangerous fertilisers and pesticides and reduces deforestation required for livestock. Try starting with meat-free Mondays, as even cutting your meat consumption for just one day a week can help the environment.
Choose Eco-Friendly Brands
You can shop consciously by making green choices about the products you buy. To help you do this, seek out eco-friendly and sustainable brands. For example, there are lots of eco-friendly cleaning product brands with natural ingredients that don’t damage the planet. Always read product labels carefully to avoid harmful substances, such as palm oil.
Try out a few of these techniques to be a more eco-friendly student today. From reducing energy consumption to recycling your stationery, you too can help our planet whilst at university.
For more sustainable stationery options, shop our new fully recycled and recyclable nu: evolve range here.