Here’s seven tips to become a more sustainable UoB student in isolation

Being green and clean in quarantine

During the first national coronavirus lockdown, vital environmental changes occurred and triggered a huge surge of hope for the recovery of the planet’s ecosystems. Although it was amazing to see nature re-claiming the environment, its important to continue doing our bit for the planet outside of simply staying at home and not using our cars as much.

Earlier in the year, people gathered in Birmingham City Centre to protest against climate change – and in January this year the UK’s first citizens climate change assembly was held in Birmingham with Sir David Attenborough making an appearance. Unfortunately, some of these things aren’t currently feasible, but there are still a number of ways to do your bit.

Here is a list of seven tips to being a sustainable student, particularly during isolation…

Try cooking a new vegan or vegetarian meal

You don’t have to be a strict vegan or vegetarian to do this, it could simply be a way of incorporating more meat-free meals into your diet. The meat-industry contributes massively to deforestation, and produces around 18 per cent of our CO2 emissions, so learning a few more veggie recipes can be a great way to become a greener student this lockdown. Here are some delicious meat-free meal ideas.

Clear out your old clothes

Try clearing out everything in your wardrobe which you don’t find yourself reaching for anymore, and consider donating them to a local charity shop (when they are safe to re-open) or upcycling them. Fast-fashion has a huge environmental footprint, but it’s also extremely popular – millions of garments every year are manufactured and shipped all around the country.

Buying second-hand clothes every now and again or even fixing up and re-fashioning some of your old clothes can not only be super fun, but prove a fashionable and more sustainable alternative to always buying new things.

Try cooking house meals together

Cooking group meals with your house or flat is a great way to be more sustainable – not only can this be a fun activity to do during isolation, it can help reduce food waste and particularly reduce the energy used at meal times. Even better, you could try out some new vegetarian meals together.

Try going make-up free during isolation

Going make-up free can hugely reduce the amount of waste you produce each year. Most make-up is still sold in plastic packaging and is rarely recyclable, having seriously detrimental effects on the environment. Not only this, but going make-up free is also animal friendly; an increasing number of brands are going cruelty-free now, which is great, but there are still some brands out there which test on animals and you can never be too careful.

Here are a list of make-up brands that are officially cruelty-free and use zero animal by-products!

Use less heating by layering up

It can be very tempting to crank up the heating in those chilly winter months, and I’m sure many of us are guilty of over-using the heating at times. However, occasionally opting to wear a few extra layers around the house instead of reaching for the heating switch will not only save you some money on bills, but also reduce your carbon footprint.

Recycle your old handsoap bottles

A lot of us are probably going through a lot more soap than we usually would at the moment, so finding ways to reduce waste from old soap bottles is a great way to become more sustainable in the current climate. Try buying a jumbo bottle of hand soap and using it to refill your old bottles – you will buy a lot less plastic bottles and have a lot less waste.

Try re-usable food-wraps

Cling-film and tin-foil produce a lot of waste, but many eco-friendly alternatives to these products, such as Bee’s Wrap, can be re-used and are made out of sustainable materials (like bee’s wax). As an added bonus, this could also work out as a cheaper alternative to constantly re-stocking your cling-film.

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