The Sustainable Student
I can’t express enough how vital it is to be eco-conscious today. Our generation has the world at her feet and even more responsibility on her hands. You’ve heard it said repeatedly (recently even more with protests and campaigns), but it does not hurt to be reminded: Live SUSTAINABLY, literally translated GO GREEN!!!
Millennials and Generation Z! I am calling to you. The environment is more at risk than it has ever been before, we have greater challenges to face: Climate change, pollution, declining animal populations, deforestation and more. It may be easier to ignore now and live casually but it is our responsibility now to make simple changes in our everyday living if we would address the environmental chaos arising.
The most important first step to preventing more waste has been dominated by a focus on recycling. Although recycling is a key factor to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, it should be the final resort not the first call to action. Our goal should be to live in a Zero waste environment. It’s a much greater advantage to simplify your life by only purchasing what you need when you need it and if you really need it and can’t live without it.
“Reduce” – “Reuse” – “Repurpose” – “Resell” – “Recycle”
By making the effort to reduce what you own, living minimally and logically you will purchase and create less waste in the forthcoming years and save yourself a ton. Students, it's important to think eco-consciously when you buy a product. Ask yourself these questions-
- Do I really need this?
- Is there something I own that can either be repurposed or do a similar job?
- Can I get it second-hand?
- How did the production of this product impact the environment?
- And what further impacts will there be with the decomposition of this product?
- Don’t forget about the packaging as well.
Here are a few tips to live more eco-conscious in your everyday Uni life.
- Take your notes electronically.
The world is more digital now thankfully and you can be too! You will be able to save money and reduce paper waste if you take down your lecture notes or class notes on a device. If you must use paper notes, use recycled ones and make use of both sides of your note.
- Say NO to bottled water!
Keep a handy water bottle that you can refill around. Water is freely available, bottled water companies do not produce water, they produce plastic! Don’t forget that when next you are about to buy water.
- #Sustainableenergy is the trend!!!
If you’re at your student accommodation, be conscious of your water and energy usage. Most students in all-inclusive rented accommodations (including university halls), tend to live on an “unlimited power and water supply”. Power down the unnecessary lights and appliances you have. You don’t need to leave the heating on full blast all day long (it’s actually bad for your health). Encourage your flatmates to join your sustainable living by being a good example and encouraging them.
Not only does cycling keep you healthier but it also reduces your carbon footprint. It is much more economical to walk to your university or cycle than it is to drive. This can cut down your fuel expenses too and you will help your country to move towards reducing your country's environmental impact.
- Reduce your paper/plastic waste
As tempting as using disposable plates and cutlery might be for those tired or lazy evenings, consider the gross impact of that plastic that might never decompose. It is better to leave your plate till the next day to wash (if you are too tired) than find an earth-expensive alternative in disposables. Always keep your handy travel mug in your backpack, or use mugs in coffee shops, don't forget your water bottle, reusable straw (metal, silicone or glass) and handkerchiefs or hand towels. Reduce your use of paper towels and paper face towels with a handy face towel you can always wash & reuse.
- And Lastly, Use Sustainable Cleaning Products