Zero Waste Week: A guide for students


Our planet is under immense threat from the effects of climate change, pollution, single-use plastics and more. And we really need to start doing our bit to save it.

Here are 7 things you can do this Zero Waste Week (and beyond) to cut down on waste at university.


zero waste week


Food shop with your flatmates

Each year, UK households throw away 5 million tonnes of edible food i.e. food that hasn’t expired and could have been eaten.

This is a huge issue for our planet as food waste emits greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming.

So what can you do?

Plan ahead with your flatmates and do a joint food shop. Buying the basics together like bread and milk ensures it’s much more likely to be used up before going off and being chucked. Bonus: you’ll all be saving money too.

To further reduce your environmental impact, why not try eating meat-free meals together a few times a week? Find cheap and easy vegetarian and vegan recipes here.


Bid farewell to single-use plastics

coffee cups

Image source: Foodism


Buying reusable products is one of the easiest ways to trim down your waste at uni.

Reusable coffee cups, water bottles and bags for life are all easy to find, and super affordable.

Plus, your wallet will be better off too. You’ll be saving yourself 5p when you bring your own bag shopping, and you can get money off your morning coffee when you bring your own cup.


Shop independent

Fast fashion describes clothing that’s produced quickly and sold cheaply by retailers which is often thrown away after only a few wears.

The environmental impact of this waste is huge, and the better alternative is to shop independent or second-hand.

Do a little research into the city you’re studying in and you’re bound to find some hidden gems selling clothes, books, jewellery, artwork – almost anything you can think of.


Get creative

Cutting down on waste needn’t be dull, and with a little creativity, can be really rewarding.

For example, giving your friends or family a homemade card or gift for a special occasion is always more meaningful than something shop-bought.

The same goes with old clothes. Rather than throwing them out, see if you can customise or revamp them to create something unique and get more wear out of it.

If creativity fails you, then check out eBay or Depop to either buy or sell second-hand goods.


Footsteps not footprints


Another super easy way to do your bit for the environment is to walk or cycle.

Sometimes getting up a little earlier and walking to your 9am lectures instead of catching the bus is worth it.

As well as reducing your carbon footprint, walking sends oxygen to your brain which will help to wake you up and boost your focus.


Remember to recycle

Get to grips with your recycling and learn your bin timetable.

Forgetting which colour bin means what and when to take them out is common, so take steps to help you remember.

Whether that’s labelling the bins, putting post-it notes on the fridge, or setting reminders on your phone.

If you organise this stuff early on, it’ll make all your lives easier and the world a bit better off.



The simplest bit of advice for whittling down your waste is to just say no.

No to a plastic straw offered in a restaurant, to buying that top you don’t need, or to ordering a takeaway when you have food about to go off in the fridge.

Saying no ensures you use the resources and products you already have as well as helping your bank balance.

Having a little self-control can make a big difference to the planet.


Keep reading: 30-day vegan eating challenge for students