Sustainable Student Living: Sustainability Starts at Home

By Naomi Harris, GLOBUS Correspondent

By the end of term two, admittedly, the initial excitement university halls had worn off. In my case, sharing a tiny kitchen with 12 people became impractical, shared bathrooms were tiresome, and you realise how much you missed being able to collapse onto a sofa and watch some telly at the end of a long day. Personally, living off-campus could not come any sooner. 

However, having my own place feels crazy. I do not feel old enough or responsible enough to deal with private renting. Pair that with the pressure of wanting to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle, the prospect of living sustainably as a student feels like an unreachable goal. With barriers such as high costs being an issue for many students, being more sustainable can feel like a problem for a future you – a future you that has more time and money to invest into your home. But the future is now. 

There are some changes we can make in our homes next year to be more sustainable:

  1. Check your energy providers

We students rightly love a bargain. However, when looking for possibilities, why not consider green energy? Your first point of call would be the Energy Saving Trust who have loads of information of their website, such as 12 initial easy steps to save you money and energy. They have also complied a list of the best green electricity providers.

  • Furnishing your home

Living so close to an Ikea, and with the potential promise of some good closing down sales, it can be all too easy to shop for brand new furnishings first. However, second-hand furniture and appliances are more cost effective and sustainable. There are so many ways to find second-hand furnishings. For example, the British Heart Foundation who offer a 10% discount for students! Online stores like Facebook marketplace and Freecycle are also great options. 

  • Surplus Food

When it comes to sustainable student living there are some great apps that can help you minimise food waste in your local area. For instance, OLIO connects local people to share surplus food to minimise food waste in their community. Bearing in mind that a third of the food we produce globally is thrown away, this app paves the way for change. There are also apps like Too Good To Go, which allows consumers to collect the waste food of stores and restaurants that are just… too good to go. 

  • Zero Waste

The best way to be more environmentally friendly is to get rid of all the useless packaging on all our products. That may seem impossible. However, a new zero waste store – aptly named ‘Zero’ – has opened on our doorstep in Leamington Spa. Here you can find dried goods, eco-friendly cleaning products and toiletries – all PLASTIC FREE. What more could you want? Check out their full stock list here.

Considering the current state of our planet we need to take advantage of all the start-ups, new technologies and amazing people who are all working to help make sustainable living more viable. Moving into our new homes this year we can be a part of this movement. Sustainable student living is possible if you try.

This article was inspired an article published in The Guardian titled ‘50 simple ways to make your life greener’ (click here to view the original article). 

Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

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