As a student you may think there is not a lot you can do to positively impact the environment on a large scale, but that’s where your wrong. People don’t realise that it is often small changes to your daily life that can make a real difference. Our planet is beautiful and we should all try our best to do our bit for the environment in order to keep it that way. Also, being environmentally conscious is not only good for the planet, but studies show that it will also make YOU feel good (what a result). Here are a few things you can do to make a difference:
Use reusable water bottles/coffee cups
The variety of cute water bottles and flasks on sale these days should be enough to convince you to buy one. Having a reusable coffee cup or water bottle will not help the environment but also save you money as well. You can refill your water bottle at home or around campus (I’m sure like my uni, yours also has water fountains dotted around) to save you having to buy bottled water every time you need a drink. Lots of coffee shops also offer a discount to any customers who bring in their own reusable cup (seems like a no brainer to me).
Use tote bags for your shopping
Save yourself the 5p/10p charge for plastic bags and take your own tote bags when you do your shopping. I’m sure you’ve acquired plenty of freebie tote bags through your time at uni, so why not put them to good use. Tote bags are also a lot sturdier than plastic bags so you’ll avoid an awkward bag spilt when you’re only half-way home (bonus).
Walk or cycle
Instead of driving or taking public transport, why don’t you walk or cycle instead. This will not only cut down on emissions but you’ll also be getting in some exercise as well. And if that’s not enough to convince you then think of the money you’ll save on petrol and parking fees (sounds like a winner to me).
There are many organisations across the UK that organise events which benefit the local environment. For example, ‘The Wildlife Trust’ and ‘Litteraction’ organise events such as litter picking or caring for nature reserves (just to name a few). Volunteering will also look great on your CV as it demonstrates initiative and commitment.
Eat Plant Based
Going plant based does not mean you have to go 100% veggie or vegan! Studies have shown that cutting down on your animal product consumption for just 1 or two days a week can have a real positive impact on the environment. Consuming less animal products has also been shown to have a positive effect on your health as you’re more likely to get your 5-a-day in. If you struggle for ideas of what to eat then the BBC Good Food website offers plenty of suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.
Buy second hand
This tip is great if you love a bargain, like myself. Buying second hand clothes is the way forward as nothing gets wasted. You save loads of money and if you’re buying from a charity shop then you’re also helping out a good cause. Second hand clothes aren’t just about ‘dated’ clothes, Ebay have people selling ‘new-in’ items and some even still have labels on (no-one would be able to tell it’s second hand). You’re also far less likely to turn up wearing the exact same top as someone else and more likely to have your mates begging you to let them wear your clothes on the next night out!
Turn off lights/power socket
This tip is the EASIEST thing to do of them all. There is no need for lights to be on in empty rooms nor for plugs to be on when nothing needs to be powered/charged. Also think of the money you’ll save on your electricity bill (you’ll be surprised).
Hopefully you’ll find these tips useful and take some on board to help save the environment. Every little difference has an impact on the environment so it’s good to do your bit where you can, no matter how large or small!
Eileanor is in her third year studying English Language at the University of Chester.
Note: 'Student Blog' pieces highlight the student perspective on issues relating to ProtectED. Consequently, this article reflects the views of the author and not ProtectED.