There’s more attention than ever on looking after the big green and blue ball we call home. From job applications to dating profiles, everywhere and everyone wants you to become more ‘green’. With good reason; the products we use and our day-to-day habits can be harmful to the environment. You might think we live in a world of infinite resources, but the harsh reality is that humans are draining the life out of their ecosystems.
So, how can you help? We’ve put together 8 simple steps you can take to reduce your mark on the world and become an eco-warrior.
Use a reusable water bottle
Plastic bottles take up to 400 years to decompose. Most single use plastics end up in the ocean and are incredibly damaging to the ecosystems of marine life, as well as littering our coastlines and beaches. According to National Geographic, 73% of beach litter worldwide is plastic.
So instead of buying single use bottles of water, try and carry a reusable one with you to and from lectures. They’re available from most high street stores, and we’re sure you’ll find one with a design to suit your style.
Switch to reusable shopping bags
An estimated one million birds and 100,000 turtles die each year from ingesting plastic. Just like reusable water bottles, you can buy reusable shopping bags. Major supermarkets sell them at the tills, but there are also 100’s of styles to choose from at Amazon.co.uk.
Try a veggie diet one day a week
Meat and dairy production is responsible for 14.5% of climate changing gases. If you went veggie for an entire year you could save the same amount of emissions as taking a small family car off the road for 6 months.
We’re aware that going cold turkey (excuse the pun) isn’t for everyone, so why not try it for just one day a week? If everyone gradually eats less meat then it will only have a positive impact on the environment.
Don’t leave anything in standby mode
According to MoneySuperMarket’s research, the most expensive household items to leave on standby over one year are:
- Digital TV box (left on) - £25.91
- Multi-room speakers (in idle mode) - £19.66
- Modem (left on) - £5.64
- Microwave (left on) - £3.24
- Digital clock (left on) - £1.83
- TV (on standby) - £1.23
So if you think all of the above add up to almost £60, that money would go a long way on a student budget!
Use stationary made from recycled products
You’re a student, students use stationary; this isn’t ground breaking information, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make better choices when filling your pencil case.
Every 2 seconds a forest the size of a football field is destroyed, thus destroying homes and lives of wildlife. Materials from these forests go into making your pencils, notepads and so on.
High street stores such as Ryman and Paperchase have a range of recycled stationary which looks great too.
Think about your water usage
Major worldwide cities such as Cape Town and Mexico City are running out of water and going through a serious crisis. This is as a result of the high demand for water and cities can’t cope. There’s only so much fresh clean water available in the world and it’s becoming harder to access.
We use around 2.5 gallons of water per minute in the shower; reducing your shower time by 4 minutes per day would save 3,650 gallons per year. Try timing your showers using the stopwatch on your phone, and challenge yourself to decrease the time spent.
Say no to plastic straws
We’ve mentioned single use plastics already. As students you’re likely to go out to clubs/bars and make the most of drinks offers - you’re only human! A lot of these drinks come with plastic straws so try saying no and go without. Lots of places these days offer alternatives such as paper straws and even ones made from pasta (may contain gluten). You can buy yourself these for your flat and they go a long way to protecting our environment. Did you know plastic straws are the 7th most collected item from beaches?
Burn less fuel
Not every student has access to a car, but if you and your housemates do, think about the impact driving to and from the supermarket has on the environment. Team up with your flatmates to do your weekly shop together, and do one trip instead of several. Or order your groceries online and combine your orders so the delivery driver is only doing one trip to your address.