A big thank you to Joely, who’s 22, for writing our latest guest post with some great tips to help you stay eco-friendly on a student budget.
Hello! Today I’m talking about what young people can do to stay eco-friendly even while you’re broke. As a student I’ve often been frustrated because the tips that you find on the news or online about how to stay sustainable and eco-friendly always seem to involve the newest technology – and new things on the market are just more expensive, and so more inaccessible to students. But luckily, I have 5 top tips that might help you out if this sounds like you.
1. Packed student accommodation helps the planet!
The first one is a bit of a free pass. So as a student, I live in a poky flat with 3 flatmates. But lots of people don’t know that actually it’s much more eco-friendly. So, while you’re biding your time in student digs you can pat yourself on the back for saving a bit of space and sharing your utilities, so it ends up being a bit more sustainable.
2. Check your utility providers
The second good thing about living in student accommodation in terms of sustainability is that, because most of us move every year, we get the choice about whether to stay with our existing bills provider or switch to a new one. Now this sounds pretty boring but it’s such an easy fix. Companies like Bulb and others on the market provide eco-friendly and renewable energy more cheaply (most of the time) than standard providers. So you can save yourself a few quid every month and be a little bit better for the planet too.
3. Weekly meat-free meals
The third thing is something that my flat started doing during lockdown. We have weekly flat dinners and we always try and make them vegetarian or vegan. Those weekly dinners always help remind us what we’re doing and that we’re trying to stay more eco-friendly.
If you’re looking for advice or tips on how to cook really nice vegetarian food, look at Mob Kitchen‘s veggie and vegan recipes, Deliciously Ella or Rachel Ama, who’s an inspirational vegan You Tuber.
4. Sustainable food habits
Unfortunately, vegetarianism and veganism don’t work for everyone, and you’ve got to stay healthy first. So, there are a couple of other food tips that you can follow to be more sustainable while you’re at it. For example, I use the OLIO app to give away food that I’m not going to be able to use, to reduce food wastage. You can also get cling film substitutes like beeswax wraps to protect your food without using single-use plastics. And it’s hard, but do try and choose locally grown food, even if it means going out of your way to shop at independent stores rather than the big supermarkets.
5. Look up your carbon footprint
My fifth and final tip is to make it work for you. These tips are just examples of what’s worked for me but if you try and force yourself into something that is difficult, or you resent, it’s never going to work long term. The kind of change we need to enact will be achieved by long term small habits rather than, say, instantly quitting meat and then giving that up again. So, to keep motivated, I suggest you go online and look up your carbon footprint. You can answer a bunch of questions about your own habits with food, accommodation, transport and waste and they’ll tell you which bits are above average, which are below and where you can improve. That’s the kind of stuff that will help you make the changes yourself that will be of benefit to us all long-term.
Thank you, Joely!
We hope you’ve found these tips to stay eco-friendly on a student budget helpful.
If there’s something that’s worked for you, please do pass the tip on with a comment below.
Louise & Anna x