Five ways students can go zero waste

Filed in Blog by on June 14, 2018 0 Comments
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five simple ways students can live a zero waste lifestyleI’ve been thinking about university students recently!

First, I was contacted by a student from Imperial College London who is studying for a Masters in Science Communication. She was researching gender differences in pro-environmental behaviour in order to address inequalities in the environmental political movements and in wider society. She wanted to interview me to hear my views.

The other reason I’ve been thinking about students is my very own babe-in-arms is growing up way too fast. I’ll be spending the next few weekends acting as taxi service as she explores the universities around the country she’d like to apply to. How time flies!

So for all you students out there, here are five ways to enjoy student life AND reduce your impact on the environment!

Reduce food waste

One of the simplest ways you can reduce waste (and save money) is to be mindful of the food you buy.

According to Exeter University, students waste on average 780g each per week of food. That’s a massive amount, with implications on both the environment and your bank balance.

To help with this, don’t shop when you’re hungry, make a shopping list based on the foods you already have that need using up and change the word ‘leftovers’ to ingredients! Here are some more ideas on reducing food waste.

Make your own toiletries

Get together with friends and learn how to make your own toothpaste, deodorant and other items. You can bulk buy the ingredients to reduce costs.

Face masks can be made from fruit that has gone beyond its best and making your own toothpaste is a great way to avoid excess packaging and reduce day to day living costs.

Hold a screening

A documentary viewing is easy to do and provides great insights for discussion.

Here are four zero waste documentaries you won’t want to miss.

I once ran a screening of ‘Trashed’ in Oxford and we had a wonderful discussion / Q&A afterwards that got people fired up and ready to take action.

Be an activist

Talking of taking action, students are in the perfect place to create a buzz and raise awareness. Whether you want to hold a conference, run a panel discussion or lobby your MP there are plenty of things you can do.

You can write articles to share on blogs or create your own small website with information to share via social media. If you don’t have time to pen everything yourselves, you can hire a professional essay writing service to do the research for you.

Remember to sign up for Zero Waste Week too, where you can download a free resource for universities, sharing lots of inspiration for how to take part.

Make some swaps

Next time a disposable item runs out, see what reusable alternative there are.

Try reusable pads or the mooncup for monthly periods, swap disposable razor blades for a safety razor, try washable cloths instead of kitchen towel and consider using a fountain pen instead of biros.

Most items have some initial financial outlay (although you can cut up old tea towels or t-shirts for cleaning cloths!), but over the months the savings really add up. I reckon I save £1500 per year by living a zero waste lifestyle!

What about you – how do you reduce your waste?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

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