Student life can be quite hectic sometimes – juggling your workload, social life, commuting and any part time jobs or volunteering you might do on the side. Trying to watch your carbon footprint or worrying about the environment on top of that might seem quite daunting.
But now, as the discussion of climate change, plastic waste and being sustainable becomes more relevant, it’s so much easier to try and be more eco-friendly. There are some very simple things you can do as a student, alongside your busy schedule, to be more sustainable and eco-friendly. Little changes are better than nothing and will help you create a more environmentally friendly lifestyle! Make sure to share them with your housemates, coursemates and family!♻️🌿
1 – Bring a reusable cup to university
Nothing gets you through a 9am lecture like grabbing a coffee from one of the Salfood shops on campus, believe me I know. But did you know the UK throws away around 2.5 billion disposable cups a year [PDF]? Instead of contributing to that number, invest in a reusable mug or drinking thermos and get your coffee, tea or hot chocolate to go in one of them. Plus you get 20p off your hot drink in all Salfood outlets! Win win!
2 – Watch your water use
It’s very easy to forget how important water conservation is and studies state that a demand for water globally is set to exceed supply 40% by 2030. The bonus is that, as a student, it’s quite simple to watch your water usage. Make sure you turn off the tap during brushing your teeth, or shorten your time in the shower. We all know that one flatmate who fills the entire flat sink to wash two teaspoons. Educate them!
3 – Need a weekend outfit? Try secondhand
Manchester is fantastic for picking up secondhand and vintage fashion, with Northern Quarter having some great shops which you can check out in India’s top picks here! Freshers weeks and society nights at university can mean wanting to grab a new outfit to impress, but buying clothes secondhand is a lot better for the environment. If charity shops aren’t your thing, try downloading DEPOP where others sell their clothing and accessories they no longer need or want.
4 – Ditch the plastic bags
The negative impact of plastic bags has been discussed for years and thankfully since the introduction of the 5p charge, studies reckon the sale of plastic bags has gone down. Help keep those numbers down by using reusable bags when you do the food shop! Numerous shops across Manchester and Salford sell reusable bags that can be used again and again.
5 – Eat more veggie meals
Although this is something that might divide opinion – scientists have stated that cutting down on meat and dairy is a guaranteed way to be more eco-friendly. Understandably, some days after a long study session you might just want a Big Mac or a cheesy pizza more than anything. However if you want to be a bit better to the environment, try cutting down on meaty meals. There’s plenty of choices throughout Manchester, especially with veganism becoming mainstream. Even Wetherspoons has veggie options!
6 – Buy digital transport tickets
We’re very lucky to have a number of public transport options next to our main campus including several bus services and the Salford Crescent train station. Using phone apps such as Trainline, mTickets for First buses, the Stagecoach Bus App or GetMeThere you can not only reduce your waste and the amount of crumpled up tickets sitting in your coat pocket but also buy tickets in advance and save yourself time and hassle.
7 – Refill your water bottle
Much like carrying a reusable coffee cup, using a reusable water bottle has great benefits to the environment and helps save plastic bottles from going to landfill. You can also use the Refill phone app to find cafes or establishments that let you refill your water bottle for free whilst you’re visiting the rest of Salford and Manchester. We have refill stations dotted around campus too so you can keep yourself hydrated between classes.
8 – Switch from makeup wipes to a cloth
I won’t lie – I, personally, enjoy the convenience of makeup wipes especially as a student. After classes, studying, work, society meetings and the lot, you are knackered and taking off makeup with one wipe and barely any effort is the lazy student’s dream. However, 93% of blocked UK sewage pipes are caused by wet wipes, and even if you’re sensible enough to not flush them – they still end up in landfill. Investing in a reusable face cloth and cleanser prevents disposable wipes going to landfill plus makeup wipes aren’t even good for your skin!
9 – Clear out your emails
Although it is obvious using email prevents paper waste piling up and also helps everyone speed up important communication (imagine having to write a letter to your tutor asking a question regarding a very important assignment and having to wait for days to get a letter back?). But storing countless emails actually consumes energy. According to one study, if every single person in France deleted 50 emails, the energy savings would be equivalent to turning the Eiffel Tower’s lights off for 42 years. So, it’s a great idea to make a habit to clear out your junk folder every week and delete old emails when you can.
10 – Choose shops that promote sustainability and being eco-friendly
Most shops who sell genuine organic, sustainable products are independent or local so Manchester is a great place to start with making your student life more eco-friendly. It doesn’t stop at fantastic vintage shops and vegetarian cafes, our city also has some incredible places that sell loose fruit and vegetables, encourage you to bring your own jars and tupperware so you can stock up on loose nuts and cereal and even have refill stations for shampoo and washing products. These hidden gems of Manchester include McCall’s Organics near the Arndale, Eighth Day Co-op and there’s even One Small Step which can be found in Altrincham Markets if you’d like a day out on the Metrolink!
If working in a career involved in the environment, conservation or animals is something that interests you then you could also consider taking a big step and apply for a degree relevant to those topics. Who knows, you might help change the world. 🌍
Here are some of our relevant courses: