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Best sustainable ways to live as a student

By StudentLiving 15 Aug 2023

Learn how to live green and save some cash at uni with these easy and fun tips

You may think that living sustainably means spending a lot of time, effort, and money. But there are many simple and awesome ways you can help the planet and your wallet at university.

Here are some tried and tested tips to get you started...

Say ‘no’ to single-use plastics

Plastic pollution is a huge problem for the environment, and not all plastics can be recycled. That's why it's better to reduce your use of single-use plastics as much as you can. There are many alternatives that are more eco-friendly and budget-friendly.

The Ecoegg is an amazing reusable product that replaces laundry detergent and fabric conditioner. Not only can you use it for up to 70 washes before you need to refill, it can also save up to 40 bottles of plastic each year! You might also want to swap liquid shower gels for bar soaps in cardboard packaging, and use flannels instead of disposable wipes.

Some other things that can make a big difference are wooden or bamboo toothbrushes, metal straws, and reusable bags, cups and bottles. You can fill up your water bottle from dispensers on campus, and get discounts from some cafes if you bring your own cup.

Shop for pre-loved clothes

You’ll probably want to get some new outfits before and during university, and swapping fast fashion for second-hand shopping is a great way to be sustainable and find a bargain.

Instead of splashing out on designer brands, you can check out charity shops and websites like Facebook Marketplace, Depop and Vinted to give clothes a second chance (there’s always a treasure hidden somewhere).

You can also sell, donate, or recycle your old clothes instead of binning them. And if you have some clothes that need fixing, it’s a good idea to learn how to fix your own clothes to stop you from spending more. This way you can easily patch over holes and sew on new buttons to make them look fresh.

Be smart with your water use

It's so easy to waste a huge amount of water without even realising it, from leaving the tap running while you brush your teeth, to taking an extra long shower after a tiring day at uni.

Most of the time this is not needed and you can save a lot by cutting down your showers, turning off the tap while you do the dishes, and always filling up the washing machine or dishwasher.

This can also cut down your water bills, so you can save money while saving the planet.

Coordinate your wardrobe with the weather

When it gets chilly in winter, it’s tempting to blast the heating all the time. But this can be expensive and wasteful. A better option is to wear more layers, put on some comfy socks or slippers, or use a hot water bottle to stay warm.

It’s a good idea to use the daylight as much as you can so you can use the natural light instead of keeping your lights on all day and night. Any electrical equipment should only be plugged in and turned on when you’re using it, so if you pop out make sure you switch everything off.

Choose greener ways to travel

Do you usually take the bus or taxi to uni? If campus is close enough from where you live, you could save money and emissions by walking instead. Public transport can also be unreliable sometimes, so walking might be more relaxing and fun (you don’t want to miss a lecture because of a traffic jam).

Cycling is another eco-friendly and active way of getting around your city and can even be quicker than public transport on busy days. Don’t worry if you don’t have a bike, you can get a cheap second hand one pretty easily. And there are loads of places to lock them up, you’ll just need a good quality D-Lock.

Living green doesn’t have to be boring or expensive, it can be a rewarding and exciting experience that you can share with your friends and family. So why not give it a try and see the difference for yourself?