Living away from home is hard enough, but doing so sustainably and in an environmentally friendly way can seem like a monumental task! However, it can be done. Here are 1o easy ways to make your halls or student home more eco-friendly :
- Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!
Recycling is a wonderful thing, and very easy to make a habit out of. Make sure you have a recycling bin in your kitchen as well as one for general waste and wise up on what can and cannot be recycled. Sometimes it’s necessary to empty leftover food in the bin before recycling the packaging or to wash out tins before they can be recycled. Glass can’t be recycled the normal way, so save up all your old washed out glass and take them down to your local bottle bank to be re-used. Why not also have an indoors or outdoor compost bin for leftovers?
2. Zero- Waste…ish?
There are lots of eco-warriors who have taken the pledge to go zero waste. Yes you heard correctly, to produce zero waste (or as minimal as possible) in their daily lives. Although this is a big challenge, it is possible with enough determination, and there are a few easy ways we can follow in their footsteps. Use a thermal flask or travel mug instead of using disposable take-away cups from your favourite coffee shop, stop buying single use plastics such as water bottles and bring your own to refill. Refuse to take a thousand napkins from that fast food employee when you really don’t need one. Don’t use a straw at pre-drinks, try not to wrap everything in cling film, use rag cloths not kitchen roll… the list goes on and on.
3. Keep Calm and Grow Your Own
If you’re lucky enough to live in a house with a garden and you’re feeling super green fingered, you could start your own vegetable patch! If not, even just having a little herb garden on your windowsill is perfect when living in halls, and gives you a sense of pride knowing where your food has come from, and that you have grown it! It also saves you buying those pointless jars or bags of herbs and spices as well as wasteful plastic fruit and veg packaging.
4. Conserve Energy
No I don’t mean take a break on the sofa, switch the plugs off! If you’re not using your phone charger when it’s in the socket or you’re not watching TV, just switch them off. The same goes for light switches, always switch the light off when you leave a room. If the heating is on, make sure windows and doors are closed to keep the heat in, or just put on a jumper instead of turning up the thermostat. Use a clothes line or an airer instead of using the tumble dryer. To produce electricity, power plants have to burn fossil fuels such as coal or oil which pollutes the atmosphere. By saving electricity where you can, it saves you money, and it saves the planet too!
5. Save Water
Water is something we tend to take for granted in a first world country, it flows freely from our taps and is in such abundance that it’s free of charge in most places. However, although it is a recycled resource from the planet’s natural water cycle, clean, safe water is a resource that is limited, and the energy needed to heat and treat water is detrimental to the environment. Opt for a shower instead of a bath and reduce the amount of time you spend in there, do joint laundry loads with your flatmates, and don’t leave the tap running unnecessarily.
These are all easy, minimal effort ways that can help you make a step towards making our planet more sustainable!