6 easy ways to be an eco-friendly student
Today is World Environment Day, the UN’s most important day for encouraging environmental awareness in over 100 countries around the globe. This year’s theme is beating plastic pollution - a significant problem that isn’t going to disappear. To support the worldwide movement, we’ve created a list of ways in which students can become more eco-friendly by reducing their carbon footprint and their impact on the environment. It’s much easier than you think!
1. The ‘R’ word
The first tip is an obvious one: recycling. Most of us have this well ingrained into our everyday habits, but if you don’t, this is a super simple but effective way of contributing less to plastic pollution – simply place your waste plastics in recycling instead of in the general refuse bin. Other items can be recycled alongside your everyday waste like clothes, furniture and batteries. Check to see if your local council collects these items to recycle or find your local recycling bank.
2. Become a flexitarian
For some of us, the thought of missing out on bacon sarnies and KFC chicken buckets is enough to put us off ever becoming a fully-fledged vegetarian – myself included. However, not many people realise the huge environmental impact associated with rearing animals for human consumption: deforestation, land degradation and biodiversity loss. Reducing your meat intake while you’re at uni is not only financially beneficial, but it is also WAY better for the environment. Plus, you can get creative with imaginative new recipes. Start by joining the #MeatFreeMonday movement and see if you can reduce your consumption even further.
3. Get walking
Walking to and from uni is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, while also getting some gentle exercise. If the weather is groggy or it’s a bit too far to walk, cycling or using public transport is another much more eco-friendly way of getting around.
4. Invest in a water bottle
The UK uses 13 billion plastic bottles every year, of which only 7.5 billion are recycled. Although we can (and should) recycle plastic bottles, there is a still a staggering environmental impact when it comes to buying bottled water. The manufacturing process uses tonnes of greenhouse gases which pollute the planet, and the bottles themselves can release a bunch of toxic chemicals into our waterways. Buying a sustainable and reusable glass or good quality plastic bottle can help save you the hassle of buying disposable ones, while also saving your money in the long run. Making this small change will greatly reduce your impact on the environment.
5. Bring your own shopping bags
Another unnecessary source of plastic pollution comes from disposable shopping bags we get at supermarkets. With the 5p tax introduced on plastic bags, it is no wonder many of us are already opting to bring our own bags from home. It’s a simple gesture that could create massive benefits for the environment – a no brainer really!
6. Be a smart consumer
Choosing eco-friendly brands is an often underrated way of being more environmentally conscious. For instance, palm oil is in about 50% of packaged products, but its expansion threatens some of the planet’s most sensitive environments like tropical rainforests. By opting for sustainable brands like these, we can help save precious animals and their habitats.
By incorporating these simple steps into our everyday lives, we can make a big difference that’ll drastically help to save our planet. Go on, it’s time to get green!