Living sustainably on a student budget

Living sustainably on a student budget

We all know it’s important to reduce, reuse, recycle, but is sustainable living achievable for students?

The answer is yes, it certainly is!

Living in an environmentally friendly way is not all about expensive eco-lodges and solar panels, there are plenty of ways to live more sustainably on a budget. Most of which save you money too, so it’s a win-win!

Here are 10 ideas to get you started…

1. Quicker showers

Reducing your shower time will save energy (and therefore money) and prevent water-waste. Challenge yourself to a 4 minute shower–it’s longer than you think!

2. Cut out unnecessary items

You can prevent some recycling completely by cutting out throw-away items. Swap your sandwich bags for a lunch box. Instead of plastic bottles get a reusable bottle. Invest in a thermal mug for your next takeaway coffee and of course, say no to plastic bags.

3. Shop second-hand

Avoid fast-fashion and get yourself down to the local charity or vintage shop. Pre-loved clothing is cheaper and gives you more happiness/less buyer’s remorse when considering your student budget and the ethical dilemmas of mass produced clothing. Who doesn’t love a good bargain when it makes you feel good?

4. Eat veggie

Producing meat industrially requires an enormous amount of energy and water and impacts on our greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing the amount of meat that we consume (especially red meat) has a positive effect on the environment. Why not try a meat-free Monday? Or a without-meat Wednesday? Free-from meat Friday? You get the idea.

5. Grow your own

What better way to inspire more veggie dishes than to grow your own veg? It doesn’t cost a lot to buy seeds, and lots of vegetables can be grown in pots so you don’t need much space to get started. Growing your own is rewarding (though a little frustrating at times) and cuts down on food-miles.

6. Don’t waste food

Some food can be frozen before it goes off, you can save today’s leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch and use on-the-turn fruit in smoothies. Or, try having an alternative tapas night: create little dishes from the food in your fridge that’s about to be thrown away. It can result in some interesting combinations, but tasty nonetheless.

7. Washing machine savvy

Waiting until you have enough clothes to fill the machine and washing at a cooler temperature saves water and energy, lowering your bills. Cooler temperatures are kinder to clothes too.

8. Switch to LED bulbs

By gradually switching your lightbulbs to LED you can reduce your energy consumption and bills. LED bulbs are longer-lasting and typically use 90% less energy than an equivalent halogen bulb. They look good too and don’t break the bank.

9. Avoid pointless car journeys

We’ve all been there, driving 3 minutes to the corner shop because we’ve had a long day or there’s a chance of drizzle. But, next time you’re about to pick up the car keys, think again. Walking or cycling reduces harmful emissions, saves you money on fuel and gives you some exercise. You’ll feel better, the environment will feel better, we’ll all feel better.

10. Put an end to junk post

Those letters and catalogues are not only annoying, they’re a waste of paper. Send a quick email to the company and ask to be removed from the mailing list. It clears the doormat and your recycling bin.