How to live more sustainably at uni
Saving the world doesn’t have to be hard
Have you ever found yourself sitting in the library across from someone effortlessly sipping from their reusable water bottle or returning from a break nonchalantly carrying their eco-coffee cup, and thought: is it impossible that your life will ever be that put together?
Your mind is going crazy thinking how someone can have the time to do their Cambridge degree and save the planet simultaneously.
The truth is, it’s not hard. By following some of these super simple and effective tips, you too can be the eco-warrior of your dreams.
Reusing ranges from the mundane to the bizarre (try using the water you cooked your pasta in to feed your plants as it’s full of starch) and soon you’ll be finding strange ways to reuse just about anything in your life.
If you haven’t already purchased a reusable water bottle that perfectly matches your aesthetic and fits seamlessly into your new arty tote bag, then you need to fix this ASAP! Aside from their ability to totally transform your lecture accessories, a reusable water bottle is one of the simplest changes you can make to help the eco movement.
While you may be reluctant to splurge initially, reusable water bottles last a life time and the money you save from not buying plastic water bottles will more than cover the price. Check out Blue Tap’s reusable water bottle where the profits go to improving access to high quality drinking water in low resource settings.
If you’ve already got a reusable water bottle, try thinking of other plastic items in your life you can swap for more sustainable ones in an effort to reduce the 8 million tons of plastic that is thrown into the ocean annually.
Reusable straws like the one pictured above are not only good for the environment but could also be the jazzy accessory you’ve been looking for to spice up your Cindies outfit at pres. They’re really cheap and can be thrown in your bag so you never have to use a plastic straw again.
You’ll be pleased to hear that using your microwave is more environmentally friendly than your oven so now you can eat your Sainsbury’s basic ready meals guilt free, in the knowledge you’re doing it for the planet.
Other energy saving tips are pretty obvious – turn your lights off and your heating down when not using it, only boil as much water as you need in the kettle and turning the shower off when you wash your hair. Not only will this make you a green Queen, but you might also see a pretty incentivising drop in your college bill.
If you already do all of this, congrats, you’re on your way to saving the world. Now try reducing your plastic usage by using a reusable shopping bag, shopping at the market (which offers plastic free fruit and vegetables) and getting solid shampoo, conditioner and shaving bars. These bars last forever and are great if you’re traveling hand luggage because they don’t count as liquids that you have to declare at the airport.
This last one is pretty simple. Other than knowing what you can and can’t recycle at college (and doing it!), recycling includes any effort you can make to give something a new life.
The temptation to have a new May ball outfit every year is a struggle but instead of splashing out on a new one think about asking your friends if they have anything you could wear or ask around for a dress/suit swap. If your friends don’t have the same taste as you then check out the Facebook page for swapping May Ball outfits.
Once you’ve made that first step, you’ll fall in love with the world of charity shopping and sharing clothes which will help to reduce the negative impact the fashion industry has on the environment and help you to save some spare cash.
As you can tell, living more sustainably doesn’t have to be hard. It's more than doable, even with a busy Cambridge life.
Just doing some of these things will make a positive impact and help you to protect the world around you.
All images the author's own.